The Job ADVERT. Not Job Description. ADVERT.

This to me, means we need to create something that sells to our target audience (candidates) and has the potential to create a feeling of missing out if they don’t apply.

Whilst, of course, remaining honest, authentic and in line with the job itself.

So on a special 99th episode of Talent & Growth, I shared my philosophy in transforming job specifications into talent-attracting ads.

Your job advert is the first step in converting talent into customers, so it’s essential to get it right if you want to attract the best (or any!) people.


But before we get to my 9 steps, does your business need a hiring health check? As we head into 2023, are you looking to understand the health of your hiring and talent acquisition function?

The Animo Group have put together a Talent Acquisition Health Check which is FREE to use.

Developed by experts, this tool will benchmark your ability to find, engage and hire the best talent and compare this to your peers and competitors.

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Now, the 9 steps to job advert success!

1) Get candidates hooked with a purpose

People want to know that what they’re working on matters. Put the purpose of the business in your advert’s headline and share how the company is changing things for their customers, sector or industry to align candidates with their mission. You’re inviting candidates to be part of something bigger. It’s all about tapping into the motivation that gets your candidates up in the morning.

2) Advertise potential achievements

Once you’ve aligned candidates with the company’s purpose, it’s time to tell them what the role will allow them to achieve. When they look back on their time with your client, what could they be proud of? Ask the hiring managers, ‘What would people be able to say they did here?’ That is a selling point. Promote development when you talk about the role, and tell candidates what new skills they’ll gain, who they’ll be learning from and how it will advance their career.

3) Prioritise progression

Talk about the progression path for the role. Be transparent about the process, such as ‘If you do well for this amount of time, and we set the clear deliverables, then you’re going to end up here.’ You’re not just selling candidates the next six months; you’re offering them a future with the company.

4) Clarify your requirements

Once the candidate is interested in the role, it’s time to talk about what the company needs from them. Data shows that the more requirements there are on an ad, the fewer people are going to apply, so keep it concise. Ask the hiring manager, ‘What must this person have done in their past or be able to do for you to be interested in them?’ Usually, they give me no more than three things. There’s a skill shortage; you can’t afford to give capable candidates reasons not to apply. The trick is to make your positions accessible and then hire people who show an aptitude for learning, collaboration and adaptation.

5) Outline the responsibilities

Putting a list of the day-to-day responsibilities of the role helps candidates establish if this is something they’re interested in doing straight away. Make it sound exciting! Talk about the opportunities they’ll get by working in particular areas and what level of accountability they’re going to have. You’re selling the experience of working for the company here.

6) Shout about your values

A big part of companies’ branding is their values. Whether it’s your collaborative work style or inclusive culture, put them in your ad because you want to see if candidates’ values align with yours. Remember that you’re selling to candidates in your ads, so you need to tell them why they should apply to your jobs and engage with you specifically. Mention your commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Your goal should be to make sure that everybody is as comfortable as possible to apply to your jobs. Make sure that the companies you’re advertising live by their ED&I policies as well because it needs to be completely authentic if you’re going to have a positive talent retention rate.

7) Offer Transparency

Salary transparency is really important. You’ve got to be pragmatic here because if you haven’t got salary transparency in your business (which is something you need to look at, but that’s for another day), then it could be tough to advertise it. Where you can, put salaries on your ads. That shows that you’re valuing the skills this position needs rather than chasing years of experience or low-balling people for other reasons. Even if it’s a range like £80-90k, give people a ballpark. It helps stamp out inequality and gender pay gaps, so including it is the right thing to do.

8) Lay out your process

You should also include an outline of the interview process. This goes back to ensuring that this is an inclusive process and that everybody will be treated the same. People also want to know what to expect. Having 25 rounds and 17 technical tests along the way will make your candidate experience suffer, so hone that process and put details on the advert. Be proud of it.

9) Promise feedback

Finally, could you give feedback to your candidates? Whatever they’ve done, however, they’ve engaged with you, whether it’s good news or bad news, you should be giving them some sort of feedback. Committing to feedback in your advert is another good selling point because people think they’ll get ghosted by TAs or companies, or recruiters. Following through will help you maintain an inclusive and transparent process that people will trust.

Finishing touches

When it comes to writing a job ad, my best advice is to throw out the specifications and start again. You need to be making sure the requirements are coming from the hiring manager and sticking to two to three (maybe four things for really high-level or technical positions) things that that person has to have to get this job or to be considered for this job. Transparency in all areas of your hiring process will also help you attract people, so be clear about the way you work. Write it all up in an informative and engaging way, and you’ll have the perfect job ad. 

Check the podcast here –

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