How to write a job advertisement

Orla Hodnett
Orla Hodnett

Writing a job advertisement can be pretty challenging. How do you whittle the key traits of a top candidate down to just a few sentences?

A job advertisement can make or break a recruiting project. Get it wrong and you may get dozens of unsuitable applications, get it right and you may hire quicker and more effectively. Writing a really great job advertisement requires a few key elements.

A clear, well structured job spec may help you put together questionnaires, scorecards or assessments, which your recruiting software tool will help you process. Here are a few tips on what to include in a job spec and best practises:

What to include:

  • Job title: before you say ‘duh,’ assess the requirements of the position and it’s level in your company’s hierarchy. Does the job title represent this? You want to attract a candidate with the right level of experience and the job title will impact this.
  • Duties and typical tasks: What might the successful candidate be doing on a day to day basis?
  • Skills: if the job requires knowledge of particular technologies, languages or tools, put it plainly in the job spec. Make it straightforward so that a candidate need only give yes or no answers.
  • Benefits: this is key for attracting top talent. By offering something different than the competition, you will win the battle for talented candidates.
  • Hierarchy: this one is very important for helping a candidate gauge if they have enough experience. Clearly state if it is a junior or senior role.

What to do:

  • Get specific and clear: general job specs that do not get to the point will only attract unsuitable applications. Be very clear about what is required from the role so that it is easy for an applicant to determine if they are right for the job.
  • Clarify with the hiring manager: if you are hiring for a very specialised or technical role, check with the hiring manager if your job specification actually addresses the requirements of the role.  
  • Brevity: as stated already, it is essential that you get to the point in your job description. More important again is getting to the point quickly. This also helps you keep your job description focused.  
  • Speak to the candidate and use the active voice: this keeps your job spec engaging and direct. You want to compel the candidate to apply for the role, so speak to them directly.  
  • Sell the job and your organisation: your main ambition when writing a job spec is attracting the perfect candidate, so really sell the role to the candidate.

 

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