Creating job adverts that stand out

Have you ever wondered why the right people don’t apply to your job adverts? I did too.

Back when I was a teenager, I was super creative, but when I joined the recruitment industry in my early 20s, it was quickly trained out of me. Somewhere along the line, it dawned on me that a lack of creativity almost always equalled a lack of interest from candidates.

After wondering how we could inject some originality back into the world of recruitment, I decided to attend a Copywriting for Recruiters course by Mitch Sullivan and Jackie Barrie. I have to say, this training was one of the best I have ever been on. It gave me permission to be creative again and proved that decent job adverts do work.

So how did I go from a job ad zero to a job ad hero?

Ultimately, it comes down to this: A job description is not the same as a job advertisement.

Don’t get me wrong, job descriptions are useful. They’re an excellent tool to explain how the position fits into an organisation – it tells a candidate about what the role entails, and the skills they need to do the job.

But what exactly is wrong with using the job description?

Picture some flat pack furniture. Ikea wouldn’t use the instruction manual in their advertisements – they don’t plaster it on billboards or bus stops, or have it front and centre at their stores. What they do instead is include the furniture in their showrooms. It sparks the imagination of their audience and gets them thinking about how it would look in their home or how it could improve their lives.

The same principles apply to job averts. It should explain how this role is different from similar roles out there. What impact will this job have on the candidate’s life? Will it pay them more, will they develop faster, will they get to use cool technology or tools, will they get cracking benefits, are the projects bigger & better, will it offer them a better work/life balance? 

Changing your approach can be challenging, so here are my top tips to give your ads the best chance of success:

  • Avoid clichés like an exciting opportunity, hit-the-ground-running, passionate, team player, award-winning etc. They’re everywhere, we have all seen them, and ultimately, the candidate is likely coming from a role that was described in the exact same way
  • Talk directly to your audience and use words like you, you’ll, you’re – this gets the candidate imagining themselves in the role
  • Look at the perspective of your target candidate. What would they like to know? What’s likely to be frustrating them about their current job? What makes your job/company better? 
  • Follow the AIDA structure – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
  • Be honest, talk about the challenge or goal that the role will overcome/achieve
  • If you make a claim/statement, follow up with evidence – if you’re proud to be “award-winning”, mention what award you’ve won and why you won it.

All in all, writing a job advert can be difficult. It’s hard to get to the crucks of what makes your business different, and as ever, time is short for hiring managers. However, the positives will always outweigh the negatives, and getting the job advert right could be the difference between landing the perfect candidate or chasing your tails for applicants. If you need any assistance with creating impactful job adverts, reach out and one of our team will be glad to help where they can.   


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