When looking for the perfect candidate to join your team, it’s easy to get carried away with a list of what’s important to YOU. But at the end of the day, a job advert is just that, an advert. Like all good marketing prose, you should be writing for the person reading your job ad. Potentially, your next employee of the month! If you’re not offering the information that’s important to them, you could lose them right then and there.
So what can you do to ensure your job ads are getting the attention they deserve? Easy. Give the people what they want. Here’s a list of the 7 most important things candidates want to see in your employment ads.
One of the first questions anyone will ask themselves before applying for a job is about location. How far is it to travel? Is it close to home? How will I get there? Savvy job seekers are not content anymore with the generic 'South Eastern Suburbs' descriptor offering by big job boards. They will use key word search and Google to specify suburbs of interest, so include this in your copy to help local candidates find you.
Particularly in big cities, location can be a deal breaker so if there any flexibility to work between offices or from home, spell it out. "We recently advertised for a Senior Administrator to work from our 'inner suburbs' office" says Talent Propeller CEO Sharon Davies. "We weren't overwhelmed with amazing candidates, so we ran the same ad again, offering the option of working from Mornington (a satellite suburb in Melbourne). The difference was marked; suddenly high quality, very experienced candidates who weren't interested in driving to the city were applying because they wanted to work close to home. Promoting the choice of location really made a difference in this campaign".
2. Paint a picture of your environment
Beyond just the physical location, tell candidates what it's like to work for you. Are you a small team? A slick commercial office? Do you have team lunches or a corporate marathon team? Stand out from the competition by mentioning if you have a great office, proximity to transport and of course, easy parking.
3. Help candidates to picture themselves in your role
Nobody wants to be in over their heads. And you certainly don’t want to hire a new recruit that’s not up for the job. The best thing you can do when looking for the perfect candidate is to communicate as clearly as possible about what the role entails.
Show the candidate that their unique skills can become an asset to your team and you’re much more likely to attract the best possible talent. After all, if they feel like they can’t bring anything to the table, why would they apply?
3. Sell yourself
Yes, you read right. 'Selling yourself' is advice normally levelled at job seekers but in this candidate short market where you're likely to be competing for good talent, it applies equally to employers. Leaving out the name of your company could discourage more than half your talent pool. Today’s candidates will apply to firms they want to work for and ignore those they don’t.
If you are using a third party to hire, like a recruitment agency, now's the time to question whether you want to be paying to promote their brand, when you could be promoting your own.
If you have a great employer brand, you should capitalise on it. If you don't, you should think about getting one. But that's another story.
Talking about money is never easy. But on the other hand, you don’t want to waste their time and yours by going through an interview only to find you are mismatched. That’s why it’s up to you to give the candidate an idea of what they’re worth to your company.
This is particularly important if you are trying to attract passive candidates. "The number one question we are asked when we approach people to discuss a job opportunity, is 'what is the salary?'" says Head of Shortlisters Stephanie Richardson. "We understand that it can be sensitive, but at least when you quote a salary range or OTE earnings, you know that candidates you're talking to are unlikely to be wasting your time".
5. Why choose you?
In addition, show candidates what benefits your company can offer them beyond just an enticing salary. Career progression and international opportunities are popular with millenials, whereas the stability of a well established firm also holds sway. Benefits such as generous super and leave provisions can offset an average wage, whereas work from home and flexible hours are aspects quality candidates will trade for cash.
6. Use an easily understood job title
Candidates are put off applying for jobs that didn’t paint a good enough picture of the advertised job. Whilst in one Hudson study, 66% said that a missing or inaccurate job title discouraged their application altogether.
Today you also need to think about the search words candidates are using, so if your actual job title isn't quite the same as the popular industry term, you may be wise to advertise for the latter. Example: "Digital Print All Rounder" may be what your position description calls it, but what you're wanting is a Customer Service Rep or a Sales Consultant with relevant industry experience.
Remember, just because you published your advert on a job board doesn't mean all candidates are guaranteed to find it. You need the right search words to assist search engines to find it.
7. Thinking about poaching talent?
It’s likely that the best talent has already been snapped up by another company. But what if your business is a more attractive option? You’ll never entice potential recruits away from their current positions if you don’t show them that the grass can be greener on the other side.
So the next time you’re looking for your next superstar recruit, remember that it’s a two way street. Sure, your business is important; but you’ll never get past first base with the best talent if you’re not giving them what they want in your employment adverts.
Avoid taking too long to hire or spending money in the wrong place, with the right recruitment advice.