While operating in a candidate-short market (at least in most industries) is certainly a factor, the recruitment-related content published by a business directly correlates to the possible level of candidate engagement. 

Just like a candidate’s CV, your company’s job adverts are would-be candidates’ first impression of your business. Ask yourself, what impression are you giving the candidates you want to hire? With a wealth of opportunities to choose from, how excited would YOU be to apply for the advert you’ve just drafted?  

The market is flooded by job adverts that look practically identical – same buzz words, same format, same tone. So why should a candidate apply for the job you advertise over that of your competitors? 

Perhaps it’s time to re-assess what type of recruitment content you’re creating. Here are a few things I would suggest to keep in mind. 

1. A job description can’t double as a  job advert!

As a rule of thumb, a job description should be drafted for internal purposes only. It’s a clear breakdown of what an employee is expected to execute in his/her role and can (or should) be used to measure performance. On the other hand, a job advert  is a piece of marketing content, with an objective to not only inform but also entice prospective candidates. All that goes into a job description does not necessarily need to be included in an advert, and the latter must be drafted with a different purpose in mind. 

2. Know your audience

The first step when drafting a job advert is to create a candidate persona. This means you should start with the end in mind. Who is your ideal candidate? This does not only refer to  qualifications and years of experience though. You would need to dig deeper and understand the type of character and attributes you’re ideally looking to bring to the team. This is your starting point and your advert needs to be drafted to attract THAT particular candidate profile. 

3. It’s not just about the job

Let’s face it, some roles are rather ‘universal’, in the sense that a particular profession commands a list of certain responsibilities. Most candidates do not apply purely based on what the job is – in fact, most apply because of who the business is. Stay away from the boring list of duties and highlight what it really means to work for your business and your team over anywhere else. A good place to start is to draft an advert surrounding the business’ Unique Selling Points. This is your opportunity to give a glimpse into what it is like to work with you. 

 Let’s move away from stating that you’re a ‘dynamic’ ‘fast-growing’ company because based on the adverts available in the market, everyone else is too.

4. Tone and content

The final, but in my opinion, most crucial, tip to writing job adverts is what type of tone and content you are adopting. A bullet-point, formal job advert just won’t cut it, especially if, for example, your target demographic is a recent graduate or a creative.

When writing, speak to your audience – narrate the job to the reader and include some aspects that are pleasant to read. Perhaps add a few questions, or even a cheeky sarcastic statement that will surely keep the candidate engaged. Stay away from the basics and write material that makes someone say ‘this is a company I want to work for’. 

Writing a compelling and engaging job advert is not rocket-science, but seems to be an overlooked critical step in a company’s recruitment strategy. This is a candidate’s first interaction with your business and can be a key-reason behind why you are not seeing the numbers you would hope for when advertising your roles.


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