500 word series (3) Creating Your Job Advert


After you’ve developed your job spec and defined what your organisation requires, it’s a matter of translating this into a compelling description to be presented to candidates.

If there’s a golden rule concerning job adverts, it’s this: focus on the information that candidates themselves will regard as valuable. Through its TalentNeuron project, Gartner has looked in depth at how the wording of job descriptions for specialist tech roles can have a significant impact on hiring success. It suggests focusing on five key employee value proposition (EVP) categories: rewards, work, organisation, people and opportunity. Gartner found that those businesses that manage to cover all five EVPs optimally can reduce their time-to-fill by nine days. We’ve taken this and other findings into account in our suggested to-do list.

  • Keep the job title short. Research shows that job titles with between one and three words get the highest number of clicks on job sites, whereas those with seven + words get considerably fewer.
  • Post your ad on a Monday. There’s a reason why the pay-per-click rates for job ads are so cheap on a weekend. Job seeker performance data shows that Monday is the day with the highest applicant volume. There is a steady drop-off in job seeking activities as the week progresses.
  • Skills requirements: make it succinct. Candidates find it off-putting when ads are dominated by a tedious list of requirements. Gartner suggests keeping skills requirements to less than 5% of the overall ad.
  • When highlighting the opportunities of the role, refer back to your candidate personas. Where possible, make specific reference to aspects of the job that tie-in with candidates’ priorities. For instance, according to Gallup, candidates born between 1980 and 1996 rank the “opportunity to learn and grow” as their top priority when applying for a job (way below salary and formal career advancement). Where relevant, flag up precisely where opportunities for personal and professional development exist within the organisation.
  • Keep it simple. A quirky tone may be considered charming by some tech candidates, but many others will find it jarring. Play it safe by keeping your ad simple yet professional.
  • Optimise for mobile. In all likelihood, your ad will be consumed not on a work desktop but on potential candidates’ phones. The more mobile friendly the ad (and the careers page of your website), the greater the likelihood of a response.
  • Make it easy to submit the application. Remember, these are highly sought-after professionals and in contrast to other vacancies your HR department may be involved with, you are unlikely to be faced with a huge paper sift. So rather than requiring candidates to complete your standard application form, simple submission of a CV should suffice. The job ad should make it clear how to apply; ideally with just a couple of clicks and a document upload.