How to write better job ads: 10 tips from a tech recruiter expert
Ants Tech Recruiters' TA Manager, Elisabeth Wehlin knows first-hand how tricky it can be to source quality talent in an oversaturated job market. She recently shared her insights on writing job ads that convert. Below, we've condensed her strategy into ten tips. With this guide, you can hopefully banish those poorly written ads for good!
#1 Don't be too rigid with your role requirements
Avoid being too strict with your list of requirements, as you might exclude a large pool of candidates from applying. In particular, women are less likely to apply for jobs if they feel they need to meet the job description, while men would still feel confident applying, even if they only meet half of the criteria.
Also, challenge whether "years of experience or education" is a mandatory requirement. Are you excluding candidates who have the potential to excel in the role but not necessarily the formal qualifications you're after? Moreover, research shows that the likelihood of being biased and discriminating against specific candidates increases when using CVs to screen out talent.
#2 Stop being generic in your copy and get specific
One of employers' biggest mistakes when writing job ads is using generic language that doesn't differentiate their role from others in the market. Or worse, they use a template copied from another company.
Instead, focus on the specific skills, experience, and qualifications required for the role. Use active verbs and avoid buzzwords and jargon that may not be understood by candidates.
#3 Be clear about what you can offer, both in the role and as a company
Candidates want to work for companies that offer value beyond just a paycheck. Consider what your company offers in terms of professional development, work-life balance, flexibility, and other benefits that will make your open call more attractive to candidates. Also, highlight what makes your company unique, such as your culture, mission, and values.
#4 Don't try to attract the whole market, focus on attracting the right candidates
It's important to remember that not every candidate is the right fit for your company or role. Instead of trying to appeal to everyone, focus on attracting the right candidates with the skills, experience, and values that align with your company and role. An easy way to do this is to add screening questions to your ad to quickly filter out candidates who don't qualify for the position.
#5 Consider your story and how you stand out
The introduction to your ad can make the difference between having your ideal candidate apply or not. What sets you apart from other companies?
Elisabeth's advice would be to:
#6 Don't just list your requirements, explain "why" you need these skills
Instead of just listing your role requirements, specify why your criteria matters. For instance, if you are looking to hire a developer and need someone experienced in agile methodologies, put that in the ad, and explain why you need this competency. What will the developer do? How will they contribute to the company mission by being agile-friendly? By providing this context, you explain what skills candidates need and how these skills connect back to the company mission and your "big impact" vision.
#7 Humanise your employer brand
People love seeing names to faces. Adding photos of your team in your ad can help humanise your employer brand and give candidates a sense of what it's like to work at your company. Share photos of your team working, socialising, and engaging in company events to give candidates a sneak peek into your company culture and what life is like inside the organisation.
Alternatively, you can add employee reviews to your ads, particularly if you receive glowing feedback. Not only are testimonials powerful levers that add to your brand credibility, but they also provide a real, honest look into what it's like to work at your company.
#8 Make the job ad understandable for someone who doesn't work at your company
Avoid using internal jargon and acronyms that may not be understood by candidates unfamiliar with your company. Write in plain language and use bullet points to make the job ad easy to read and understand. An added tip here is to consider using terminology that aligns with the industry you're hiring for.
According to Elisabeth, try and:
#9 Embed links in your ads
Embed links in your ad, where you can showcase your website and social media and lead candidates to other relevant resources. This can provide candidates with additional context about your company, culture, and the role and help them make a more informed decision about whether to apply for the role. As a bonus, it lets you stay focused on your messaging; you only have so much space for copy!
#10 Don't forget about your passive candidates
Considering over 70% of candidates are passive, chances are you'll reach most of your ideal candidate pool as they commute home from the office or eat lunch outside and scroll through their mobile. You want to ensure it's easy and quick for them to apply to your job listing, particularly since they're busy living their life. That's why ensuring your ads are optimised for mobile is key.
One way to do that is to make it easy and quick for applicants to apply on the go. That could look like discarding the CV and cover letter as a mandatory requirement. You could add screening questions directly in the ad or drop a link to your questionnaire.
Key takeaways for writing better job ads
- ✅ Have an engaging title and introduction that captures your company's story
- ✅ Be personal but concrete about what the role entails and what the requirements are
- ✅ Avoid copying and pasting other ads-instead personalise your messaging and make it unique to your brand
- ✅ Make sure your role requirements are inclusive and challenge your "must haves"
- ✅ Think about your language and terminology- is your message inclusive and clear?
- ✅ When in doubt-put yourself in the candidates' shoes. What would a candidate want to know when reading an ad?
- ✅ Be smart about ad space- use links for added context, and if you have pictures of the team, add those in for a more personalised approach
To wrap up
Writing better job ads starts with understanding what makes your brand you. To truly nail that job ad, go and speak to your employees. Capture what they say about your company culture and what it’s like for them to come to work for you every day and convey that message in your copy. Also, be clear about what you can offer and what makes your role unique. By following these tips, you can attract the right candidates and find that perfect fit for your team.