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How To Create Effective Job Ads That Sell the Role to the Best Talent

If you were to tell a friend or colleague about the role you are recruiting for, how do you do so? Do you give them a cold job description or do you tell the ‘story’ of the job? Most people do the latter. And yet when they come to create the job posting designed to fill that role they revert to cold, dull, language full of empty words, or worse still overused cliches and ‘buzzwords’.

It’s for this reason that an increasing number of recruiting experts recommend that managers stop creating job descriptions and create effective job ads if they want to attract the best talent. But what exactly is the difference?

The Anatomy of an Effective Job Ad

An effective job ad is a sales pitch. It sells the role and talks about the behaviors needed to perform the job and what the culture of the organization is like. Job descriptions don’t do that, but most companies still post cold job descriptions and not effective job ads.

Often the best talent are those that are currently employed but are at least mildly curious about what else is out there. They are not actively scanning job boards, but they browse through them to see if anything stands out. Job descriptions rarely do, but a good job ad will not only get them to stop browsing and read but also to give more thought to applying.

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How Do You Create an Effective Job Ad?

No, you are probably not a copywriter. But you don’t have to be to create the engaging job ad needed to pique the interest of the best talent. Here are some tips for creating effective job ads.

  • Write about what your candidates are looking for. Determine the right keywords for the talent pool you’re trying to attract. Include ‘you’ statements like ‘You will be doing this’ to help the candidate envision themselves in the role.
  • Use clear job titles. Job titles are critical. You may have the most creative job titles at your company, but are your candidates actually searching for that title?
  • Describe the culture of the organization and performance measures for the role.
  • Define the optimal candidate. You do this by looking at your best employees and defining what makes them the best. What do those employees do that’s different from anyone else? When you figure that out you’ll have a better idea of who you are looking for and how to convey that.
  • Be honest. If it’s a hard, challenging job, tell them that. Some people relish these roles because they love a challenge, or they want to make a difference, so by being honest you’ll attract those kinds of people right away, and weed out those who might be daunted by the role’s challenges.
  • Measure the performance of your job posts. Find the click-through and conversion data. Measure responses from social media channels and other online sources of hire. Take a closer look at what works and what does not, so you can create an even more engaging job ad next time around.
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