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How to Write a Job Ad to Attract the Right Candidates

Knowing how to write a job ad to attract top talent sounds like an easy task. Yet, many SMB owners and HR departments see their recruitment drives fall flat or attract the wrong sort of candidate. Why is that?

As logical as it sounds, a company boss or HR representative is sometimes not the best person to oversee recruitment advertising. Because to attract the right candidates you need a recruiting process that markets your job openings specifically to the type of people you want to hire. That is a function for marketers. They are already experts at marketing your business to clients and customers. Think of job seekers as a new type of target audience for your business. And its marketing is ideally suited to a recruitment campaign.

Today, more positions are available in US companies than there are people seeking to fill them. That means your recruiters are dealing with a highly competitive job market [1]. So, you need to work smart to give yourself every advantage in competing for scarce top talent.

Job Ads Must Sell What Candidates Buy Into

This piece looks at how to create compelling job descriptions and ad marketing strategies to ensure that your job advertisement reaches the right candidates and has them wanting to apply. But before writing a job ad, you must gain insight on what today’s job seekers really want from their next employment opportunity.

Avoid Age Discrimination

Job ads must be free from discrimination and pass the equal opportunity test. That includes age discrimination. Ads with overt age preferences breach the Age Discrimination in Employment Act [2]. However, you can create ads that better appeal to the generation and level of experience best suited for the position. 

Why Age Discrimination Hurts US Companies
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives over 20,000 age discrimination cases annually. But according to a 2017 AARP study, companies lose out by not hiring older workers. The research found that the over 50s are more engaged in the workplace than their younger counterparts [3].

Understanding the Generational Talent Pool

It’s important to recognize the four job-seeking generations. The ages range from teens to 75 years, but the difference doesn’t stop there. Each generation wants and offers something different, so creating ads that target the right group is critical.

For example, older generations focus more on job security and fixed salaries. Younger workers, however, have other prerogatives such as work-life balance. That often includes flexible working arrangements, attractive employer-sponsored benefits, and other priorities.

The four job-seeking generations are:

  1. Baby Boomers
  2. Generation X
  3. Millennials
  4. Generation Z

Knowing something about generational cohorts helps you to target your ads better.

#1 Baby Boomers (57-75 years)

Baby Boomer office worker, Recruiting Marketing - Bold Entity

Baby Boomers have been in work the longest. They tend to be hardworking and loyal and show less interest in switching jobs than other generations. And, many are still active in the US workforce. Skilled boomers are often found in management positions, transportation, community & social service industries.

Employment Expectations: Compensation amount, job stability, retirement planning, employer-sponsored healthcare, and other wellness benefits.

#2 Generation X (41–56 years)

Ambitious Gen-X-ers are known for their leadership and tech skills. Thus, they make ideal candidates for senior-level roles. Industries attractive to this group are business and finance, engineering, computers, mathematics, and architecture.

SMBs should include Gen-X talent in their leadership pipeline and succession planning strategies, in preparation to fill senior roles of retiring boomers.

Gen-X Expectations: Employee wellbeing, ethical leadership, financial stability, work-life balance, vacation leave or sabbatical, flexi-time for caregivers, retirement planning.

#3 Millennials (26–40 years)

The millennial generation is well-educated and ambitious. Many seek client-facing roles in office and administration, sales, healthcare, education, and training. However, more so than other generations, Millennials are not interested in trade jobs. And according to a Gallup poll, they are a job-hopping generation, often switching employers to pursue their overall career goals within two-to-three years [4] [5].

Millennial Expectations: Employee wellbeing, ethical leadership, inclusive company culture, flexible working, work-life balance, career growth, overseas assignments [6].

#4 Generation Z (under 25)

Generation Z office worker, Recruiting Marketing - Bold Entity

Generation Z is the self-proclaimed hardest working group.

Born between 1995–2012, Gen Z is the youngest cohort in the workplace and another job-hopping generation. That makes employee retention a real challenge. Much of Generation Z talent looks for jobs in the business and healthcare sectors. However, the most sought-after positions are career growth opportunities in the tech industry.

Gen Z Expectations: Employer-sponsored healthcare (including mental health), flexible work, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), employee wellbeing, and ethical leadership.

Holding On to New Talent

Creating job ads that attract top talent is only half the challenge. The other half is to hold on to employees after they accept the job. Retaining talent is especially challenging for positions that target young workers. Thus, your recruitment advertising campaigns must follow through on any claims made. Companies that publish misleading ads to entice job seekers can’t expect to retain their top talent and can lead to new employees quitting quickly if they feel the recruiting has been bait and switch.

US Employee Turnover Rates
In 2020, researchers found that the average US employee turnover rate was 57.3%. And most companies lose at least 18% of their staff annually [7].

Qualified Candidates in the Driving Seat

Employers across the US are desperately trying to fill vacant positions. This high demand for personnel and the shortage of skilled labor puts qualified candidates in the driver’s seat when it comes to job offers. Organizations that don’t meet employee demands risk losing them. So, employee retention is vital to the success of your company. Beyond the blow to employee morale, high staff turnover can negatively affect SMBs due to the continual cost of hiring and training new workers.

Job Ads with Stellar Results

Bold Entity is an established B2B digital marketing and strategic branding agency with over 12 years in the industry. Our expert team can help bring your recruiting marketing efforts to life. Contact us to learn about our job ad creation, recruitment strategies, recruiter recommendations, and more.

Contact Bold Entity to Discuss Your Recruitment Strategies

You now know what today’s job candidates want. So let’s now go over the basics using the job posting sample guidelines below.

Job Ad Text That Catches the Eyes of Qualified Candidates

Using job ad text to only target the best candidates for the position - Bold Entity

With knowledge of the characteristics and demands of the four working generations you can begin creating tailored job advertisements that attract your target audience.

For inspiration, check out some of your competitor’s online ads for ideas. You will find many ad examples on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Flexjobs, Indeed, and other online job boards. Pay special attention to job titles, descriptions, compensation, and benefits highlighted. Which ads seem to be getting the most response?

Learning how to write a job ad is not difficult, but it does need a set format. Below are some top tips and suggestions on how to write a job advertisement that works.

#1 Optimal Word Count for Writing a Job Ad

The key here is to have enough detail to sell the job but not so much content that it’s off-putting. According to research, the optimal job description length is 300–660 words. This flexible word count should provide plenty of words for highlighting the important aspects of your posting for most ad types.

How to Make Job Ads Stand Out

For longer job ads, it pays to break the content up using short paragraphs and lists to highlight key points of interest. This approach makes the ads much easier to read and scan. Also, bold, italic, and underlined text can be a great way to help your ads stand out. But whatever you do, don’t over-format the content, or it becomes cluttered and hard to scan.

#2 Keep Job Titles Concise and Clear

The heading is the first thing job seekers see. According to a survey by Indeed, 36% of people scan ads by titles, so it needs to make sense and accurately represent the position [8].

Keep your title real and specific. Job seekers don’t search for jobs using flashy adjectives or nouns like exceptional or superstar. For instance, if the opening is for an Experienced Human Resources Manager, use that for your listing’s title. In contrast, Exceptional HR Superstar Wanted for Management Position may sound good, but it’s not search-friendly and de-emphasizes the specifics of the role.

#3 The Three R’s of Writing a Job Ad

The job description—like the title—should be easy to read, free from fluff and unnecessary jargon, and to the point. By the end of the ad, the reader shouldn’t have any questions or uncertainties about the basics of the role, qualifications, and other details. Candidates respond well to descriptions that use an upbeat, semi-formal tone.

Tip: If your job ad is going online, make sure it’s mobile-friendly.

Keep the three R’s in mind as you structure the main content of your listing.

Requirement: This is the job overview where you outline the requirements and academic and occupational qualifications. The reader should immediately know whether they have the capabilities needed to apply. It can include education, certifications, languages, and other prerequisites.

Point to Note: It can be a mistake to focus solely on formal qualifications for roles that require less expertise and training. Instead, emphasize qualifications that you welcome but are not vital for the role. Make it clear that you encourage applications from those who may have the necessary traits, skills, and potential, even if they lack specific education and experience.  

Responsibilities: Write this section in the second person to address the reader directly. Highlight the role’s most important information, and remember to stay upbeat. This is where your ad outlines the specifics of the role, like workload expectations, teamwork, supervision, and the ability to do certain things.

Rewards: The third section highlights the employee benefits, perks, and growth opportunities. Explain why it’s such a rewarding position and what the chosen candidate can expect. And again, keep it short and to the point. Include compensation here and the potential for pay increase/advancement if there are any. Also, share something of your values, company culture, mission, diversity, ethical leadership, etc.

Finally, add the company name, location, and a call to action that includes how someone can apply and when they will hear back from you at the end of your ad. And remember to proofread and tweak as necessary before you publish it.

Basic Template to Write a Job Ad

Use the basic template below to write a job ad based on the points above.

>>  Job Title (Headline) <<

[Brief Description Here]: Etiam dictum, magna   eget cursus porttitor, velit sem gravida odio, vel volutpat felis tortor et tortor. Nulla est nisl, pulvinar.

Requirements Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc tempus risus sed tellus ultrices cursus. Etiam eu sem erat. Vestibulum tempus, erat in consectetur vulputate, nunc tortor finibus lectus, ut finibus orci est eu.

Responsibilities Etiam dictum, magna eget cursus porttitor, velit sem gravida odio, vel volutpat felis tortor et tortor. Nulla est nisl, pulvinar rutrum consequat a, mollis   vel arcu. Vestibulum libero nisl, condimentum a lacus at, fermentum imperdiet felis. Maecenas orc.

Rewards Donec odio ante, vestibulum ac varius sed, blandit in velit. Quisque   pulvinar, dolor id fringilla faucibus 

Location, contact information, call to action

Choose Your Job Platform with Care

Think carefully about where you place your advertisement. Even an exceptional ad is useless if it doesn’t reach the right target audience. Many job boards and listings offer specific categories and sub-categories, so be sure to use those. Other sites are niche-oriented. Examples are AngelList (tech/startups), Hubstaff Talent (remote hiring), and TechFetch (tech talent). 

Pick the Right Time

For paid ads on social media (SM), post when your target candidates are most active online. You should be able to find this data from SM analytics and trends. And if you’re trying to attract remote workers from overseas, double-check the time zone before posting.

Make it Simple to Apply

Job seekers often scan and apply for multiple jobs, which is time-consuming. Thus, applying for vacant posts should be a quick and painless procedure. Few applicants want to fill out lengthy, complex forms when they already have resumes ready to send. Nor do they want to waste time answering questions or doing assessments irrelevant to the role. There’s plenty of time to elicit additional information after an applicant makes your shortlist.

Closing Comments

The way to write a job ad that stands out and gets noticed is to keep it straightforward and concise. Job seekers usually scan potential openings and will likely bypass fancy ads or those with overly long descriptions. And remember to tailor your ads to target the ideal generational demographic. Lastly, don’t promise anything that you can’t deliver.

Get Noticed Where It Matters

Did you know that 79% of prospective hires are likely to use social media to research companies and conduct job searches [9]? Bold Entity is an expert at raising SMB profiles across social media platforms. Let us showcase your company’s culture, employee career prospects, and other critical highlights candidates seek in today’s employers.

More Here On Bold Entity’s Digital Solutions For SMBs

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/more-job-openings-than-people-looking-for-work/
  2. https://www.eeoc.gov/fact-sheet/facts-about-age-discrimination/
  3. https://www.aarp.org/over-50s-more-engaged/
  4. https://www.gallup.com/millennials-job-hopping-generation/
  5. https://www2.deloitte.com/-millennial-quit-jobs-in-2-years/
  6. https://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/millennials-motivated-by/
  7. https://www.zippia.com/employee-turnover-statistics/
  8. https://www.indeed.com/hire/job-titles/
  9. https://www.glassdoor.com/79%-SM/
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