Five ways to write a recruitment ad with impact
Why do some job adverts get better responses than others? Follow our quick guide to writing an effective recruitment advert so that you maximise your responses.
1. ORGANISE YOUR AD
Successful ads are well organised and easy to scan, with sections clearly flagged under subheadings. A good structure would be:
- Intro: Two-sentence description of job and organisation
- Details of the role: Two or three sentences describing responsibilities and scope
- Role requirements: What you’re looking for in a candidate. Focus on your must-haves, and be specific. For example, do they need to be a chartered RTPI member? Do they need to have previous experience in a senior role? Must they have worked on infrastructure projects, regeneration, plan-making? And what personal qualities are essential? Create a list if it’s easier.
- Rewards: What’s the pay? What are the benefits?
- About us: Now tell prospective candidates about your business. Keep it concise and factual, but also emphasise the positives. Are you growing? Have you won awards? What’s your working culture like (be honest - you want a person who will fit in)?
- Apply now: Make it as easy as possible. If it’s an external link, send people directly to the page for this job and not to a general page.
2. TALK ABOUT THE JOB ITSELF BEFORE YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR ORGANISATION
We get a surprising number of ads where the advertiser spends about 300 words talking about themselves before they even begin to talk about the job. Why do this? If I’m looking for a job, I want to know about the job first, and then about you. Stress what’s on offer first; and when you do talk about yourself, think about what’s attractive to a potential employee.
3. THINK ABOUT WHAT'S REALLY ATTRACTIVE ABOUT THIS JOB AND EMPHASISE IT
The most successful recruitment ads are the ones that identify a selling point and stress it. It sticks in the mind. For example, are you offering the chance to work on the UK’s biggest infrastructure scheme? Will you be contributing to award-winning regeneration schemes or planning to fulfil the energy needs of the future? Does the role exert a genuine influence over the shaping of a borough at the centre of debates about development vs green belt? And so on.
4. DON'T USE MORE WORDS THAN YOU NEED - AND THINK ABOUT YOUR LANGUAGE
No-one wants to read unnecessary words. Get to the point, say what you need to say and leave it there. Don’t try to be too salesy, avoid clichés and mind the language you use.
For example, studies show that the language found in many job ads is off-putting to women, who may make up 50 per cent of your recruitment pool. The article points out that terms that hint at an environment in which you need to be tough or competitive to succeed are extremely discouraging to people who take a collaborative approach to their work. Even "manage" rather than "develop" can be off-putting. Do you really need a "strong", "dynamic" "self-starter"? Or someone who is collaborative, tactful and works well in a team? Think about the kind of person you actually need to attract and use appropriate terms.
Oh, and talk directly to your reader - use ‘you’.
5. MAKE IT AS EAST AS POSSIBLE TO APPLY
Anything that requires an applicant to visit multiple pages, download too many documents or go through too many stages to apply jump will discourage applications. Make it really really easy to apply for your job. Think of it in the same way as you would if you were buying something online – you want the minimum number of steps between choosing a product and paying for it.
TALK TO US
If you're looking to book an advert for your vacancy, or simply want some advice on how to maximise your response rate, we're happy to help.
Contact us on:
Tel: 020 7880 7665
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