When unemployment is low, you may find yourself having trouble attracting top candidates to open positions at your organization. If you’re a hiring manager in this situation, your first step is to ensure that the job salary, benefits, work environment, and potential for advancement are all as competitive as possible for your industry and location. With those items in place, there’s another piece to the puzzle that can make a huge difference in reaching your ideal applicant: a great job ad.
All too often, the job ad is not given proper consideration; in fact, it’s an essential component of your recruitment and marketing efforts, and worthy of your full attention. Your employees are your most important investment, and you want to reach a strong applicant pool in an efficient manner. In a tight labor market, you’re both buyer—seeking to hire a qualified candidate—and seller—looking to promote your business as a great place to work. A well-written job ad will serve both purposes and save you from wasting valuable time on candidates who don’t fit the bill.
1. Make Your Title Talk
Begin with the job title and make it talk. You have a tiny window of opportunity to capture the attention of a candidate viewing dozens of postings at a time. A descriptive title will help you stand out from the crowd. Build in critical information to the job title: for example, instead of simply saying “JAVA developer,” opt for something more informative, such as “Senior JAVA Developer for High-Growth Company in New York City.” This title delivers a considerable amount of information, and can motivate potential applicants to read further.
2. Showcase Your Brand
Next, showcase your brand… your organization’s image, market position, values, and culture. Major contributors to your brand include being specialists in a particular industry or service area; company size and location; awards or recognition; or unique aspects of your corporate culture.
3. Describe the Job and Its Qualifications
Third, describe the job and the qualities you’re seeking in applicants. Include an overview of responsibilities, as well as requirements for the position, such as skills and experience, education, or special certifications. Remember to add details such as whether the position is full-time or part-time, where it is located, and salary information. It is acceptable to use a phrase such as “salary commensurate with experience,” instead of quoting actual figures.
In order to complete this step you’ll need to refer to a well-developed job description. If you haven’t yet developed one, consider using a job description builder, such as the interactive app available online at HR360.com
4. Provide Clear Instructions on How to Apply
Next, provide clear, precise directions on how to apply. Outline specific steps, such as emailing a resume, calling a phone number or linking to your website’s recruitment portal. Be explicit as to what the candidate should include, such as a resume, portfolio, a completed application form or verification of professional certifications. A candidate’s ability to follow your instructions is your first screening tool.
And, if you’re looking for a detail-oriented applicant, here’s a tip: Within your job posting, include instructions to copy and paste a specific line, such as “Attention to detail is a very important part of the job,” in a cover letter or email. If the candidate includes this sentence when applying, you’ll know they actually have paid attention to detail. If they omit it, you can weed them out instantly.
Your next task? Proofread. And when you’ve done it, do it again. And then ask a colleague to take a look. You don’t want to issue a job posting with inaccurate information, or spelling or grammatical errors… it won’t reflect well on you or your company.
6. Stay Legal and Ethical
Also, keep your ad legal and ethical. Observe all laws, including nondiscrimination laws. For example, you can’t state that you want to hire a person of a specific gender or race. Likewise, avoid language like "looking for recent grads," that might run afoul of laws against age discrimination in employment. Be realistic and honest. Don’t make promises you can’t keep…it may wind up serving as the basis for a lawsuit. For example, if you promote that you have very little turnover and most people stay with the company for many years, you may inadvertently create a situation which could interfere with your rights under “employment at will” to terminate the employee.
7. Post for Maximum Visibility
Lastly, post for maximum efficient response. Use the standard job sites such as Monster, Career Builder and Indeed; specialized industry publications and websites; and even Craigslist and local media outlets if appropriate. Evaluate each outlet on the audience it reaches relative to your target applicant pool, and be sure to categorize the position correctly when posting. Also, leverage your personal industry connections by distributing the job ad through your own professional network.