The first step to hiring a great candidate is to write a job ad.
But just placing an ad online isn’t enough – the ad must also be effective. If it isn’t, you run the risk of turning away qualified job seekers, or of having your ad fall so far down in search results that no one will see it at all.
1) Choose a standard job title.
Algorithms determine which ads job sites display. So when choosing your job title, use something that candidates are likely already searching for online instead of something “eye-catching.”
For example: use the job title “Social Media Marketer” instead of something trendy like “Social Media Ninja.” The former is a job title that qualified candidates will already be searching for and browsing through online.
“Social Media Ninja” would be an eye-catching job title in a format like the Help Wanted section of a print newspaper. But in the digital age, it isn’t something that many users will be searching for. This means job site algorithms will be more likely to skip past it.
2) Separate “must-have” qualifications from “preferred” qualifications.
Before writing your job ad, carefully consider which qualifications are absolutely necessary to the position. Then when writing your ad, keep these qualifications separate from skills that you would “prefer” a candidate to have, but that aren’t essential to performing the job.
The longer the list of requirements included in your job ad, the greater the risk you’ll run of turning away candidates who do have the skills necessary to perform the job, but who might lack some “preferred” skills that aren’t essential.
3) List objective job qualifications.
Most job ads include clear, concise qualifications like, “Must have at least three years of experience,” or, “Must have a valid Class A CDL.”
But some job ads put too much focus on listing the personality traits that the company is looking for in an applicant. (For example: That an applicant must be “hardworking,” a “self-starter,” or “demonstrate a high level of commitment.”)
Listing some personality traits in a job ad is fine. But make sure the primary focus of the ad stays fixed on the objective requirements necessary to perform the job.
The best way to assess an applicant’s personality is to speak to the person directly, rather than relying on the candidate to self-report his or her own personality traits.
4) Emphasize the position’s benefits.
One of the best ways to attract top talent to your job ad is to highlight the benefits on offer.
Medical, dental, vision, and 401k are traditional benefits that many positions offer. But if these benefits aren’t available for the position you’re advertising, then think outside the box.
There are other positives you can list to make your job stand out from the crowd. Some examples: “Flexible hours,” “Immediate start,” “Automatic raise after 30 days,” or “Bus-line accessible.”
But once you’ve highlighted the benefits on offer in your job ad, your work is only half done. You’ll also want to format the ad so the benefits stand out. Use bold text and bullet points, and use spacing to separate the benefits from the main body of the ad so they’ll draw the eye.
5) Describe the day-to-day job duties.
Your job ad should highlight the benefits offered with the position, as well as some of the positives of working for your company. But you must be careful not to oversell the job.
Make sure your job ad includes a realistic description of the day-to-day duties of the position (the most common tasks, not the most glamorous ones). If you make a job sound too good to be true, your ad will attract more low-performers and applicants with unrealistic expectations who won’t last long after they’re hired.
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