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For Recruiters

How to Write an Effective Job Advert

As a recruiter we all know how to do this right? That was certainly the belief I held whilst I was a recruitment consultant. However since moving away from recruiting into the world of job boards in my role here at, there’s a lot more to writing an effective advert than you might think.

The recruitment landscape is extremely competitive and doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon, if anything the industry is going to become more competitive with both internal and external recruiters having access to a broad range of tools at their disposal to attract candidates. One of these tools often gets overlooked as par for the course, and often doesn’t get the attention it deserves, with recruiters favouring newer methods such as social media, The Job Board has long been a staple of recruitment and you’ll be hard pressed to find companies that aren’t using at least one, with many opting to use multiple sites to attract candidates.

The one thing I see all too often are job adverts that don’t explain what the role is about, or have a generic job description which could be for any job. It seems that whilst job boards are one of the main methods used to advertise jobs, they’re the most neglected in terms of the effort put in to attract people to those jobs, with the expectation that the job has been advertised and will therefore attract people. Whilst this may have been the case a few years ago, the job market has changed substantially and today is very candidate driven; therefore we need to act accordingly.

To ensure a job advert will attract the right applicants, employers and recruiters need to think like a marketer and write the advert as though they were selling a product or service. A commonly used acronym AIDA is used to describe the list of actions you want to happen when someone engages with an advertisement.

AIDA is broken down as follows:

  • A – Attention: attract the attention of the candidate
  • I – Interest: generate interest by focusing on the advantages and benefits
  • D- Desire: convince candidates that they want and desire the role
  • A – Action: persuade customers towards taking action


1. Attention

There are many different things to consider when writing a job advert, and how grabbing the candidate’s attention is arguably the most important. After all, if nobody reads your advert your chances of getting them to apply are non-existent.

The Job Title is arguably the most important factor to get right when drawing attention to your advert. It needs to be clear, descriptive and concise. Any internal or ambiguous titles need to be avoided and instead focus on the keywords that people use when searching for that particular job. Quite often what a candidate searches for is different to the official job title so always bear this in mind. Always keep the job title simple to broaden the appeal, avoid using jargon and people will find your advert much easier to connect to. 

Potential applicants have a number of important decisions they need to make when they are applying for a new position. Quite often job seekers will scan adverts for key information, for most people this information would be salary and location.

Consider the motivations of job seekers. According to a recent report online, job adverts that include salary information receive over 40% more applications.

Similarly, adverts need to be clear on locations. A potential candidate needs to know if a role is based in their preferred location. Instead of including a general location such as the North West, be specific and name the town or city. The clearer this is stated in an advert, the more likely you are to capture the attention of the job seeker.

You also need to consider the layout of the advert; large blocks of text for example can be difficult to read. Instead ensure that you keep paragraphs short and bold important keywords to enable the candidate to quickly pick out the key information.

Where possible keep adverts short and concise – if the advert is too long the candidates may lose interest.

2. Interest

Once a candidate has ensured that the job title, salary and location of the job advert meet their requirements you need to get them interested in the role. The first opportunity you get to do this is in your opening paragraph. You need to make this an exciting and compelling introduction to the role that encourages the candidate to read on and apply. Provide a brief overview of the company and focus on why a candidate would want to work there and what the company offers. Avoid starting a job advert with a lengthy generic corporate description – if you really must include masses of information about the company mention this at the end.

You also need to consider the tone of the advert, getting this right is essential. Avoid buzzwords, jargon and acronyms and use language that all candidates will understand – the more accessible the advert is the more people can engage with it. Make sure to use vibrant language to get the job seekers interest and try using active rather than passive language to sell the opportunity.

Your advert should be written to address the candidate directly, making the advert about them and not the company. Use phrases like “You will have the opportunity to…” or “Your career here at XYZ Company….” This personalises the advert and makes the key points relevant to the reader. Also ask questions of the candidate to make them consider what matters most to them.

When it comes to writing the candidate specification try to only focus on the key must haves, listing too many requirements can detract from the essential skills and experience that are actually required.  Strong candidates can be deterred from applying to a job where they feel they only meet 8/10 of the requirements and conversely unsuitable applications who feel they meet 1/10 may feel they are suitable to apply.

Try to only list what the business would not be willing to compromise on to make sure the message is targeted in the right way.

3. Desire

From a candidate’s perspective, a good advert needs to answer one key question – “What’s in this for me?” So as well as highlighting the company benefits, talk about the opportunity to develop new skills and future opportunities that can come from doing this role. What else does the company have to offer the job seeker?

Is the company growing? Are they successful? Make it exciting and attractive. Describe the company culture, if the company has a Facebook page, or a LinkedIn group, mention it so the candidate can find out more about the company.

4. Action

You might think this is very basic, but once you have their excitement and interest in the opportunity, don’t forget to encourage them to apply. Make sure you point them to the next steps, create a sense of urgency and tell them to ‘apply now’. If there is a closing date, don’t forget to include that too.

There are a number of different factors that can affect how a job advert performs – some of which are difficult to control. The way in which you write your advert can determine its success.

If you follow the steps above when creating your advert, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to succeed.

So get your well written job adverts posted on GoToJobBoard now. Contact Alex on 0161 214 7991 or email: today.

Written by Alex White, Client Service Executive at GoToJobBoard.

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