Back to all resources

How to write effective job adverts

Writing a job advert is much the same as writing any other advertisement. Just think of the job you're promoting as your product and the reader as another potential customer. Your advert should be eye-catching, communicate your essential requirements, the benefits of working for you and provide a clear way to apply.

Like this resource?

Become a member for access to more resources and benefits.

Learn more

Follow these simple tips to create engaging adverts that attract plenty of quality applications:

Keep it simple

Avoid too much technical detail about the job or the company, and don’t use jargon that applicants might be confused by. Use short sentences, bullet points and short.

Include essential information including job title, a short description of your business, location, guide salary, outline of job role and responsibilities, qualifications and experience required, whether the role is full-time or permanent or a short-term contract, contact details and application instructions.

Stand out from the crowd

If your job advert is going to print, make sure it is well-designed and eye-catching so it jumps off the page and sticks in the mind of jobseekers. In print and online, use an attention grabbing heading and don't be afraid to put a little bit of your company's personality into it; prospective candidates want to get a good idea of the place they could potentially be working.

If you’re happy to let people know you’re recruiting, feature your company name and logo prominently, so that the applicant knows who they might be working for. This may be the first time that they have heard of your company so it is your opportunity to make a good impression.

Don't be vague

If you want to persuade someone that leaving their current role to come and work for you is a good idea, you need to give them enough information to make an informed decision. By all means, keep the advert short and sweet, but include links to further information including a clear job description and person specification so the applicant knows whether the job is suitable for them.

Being specific about what you're looking for should cut down on the amount of unsuitable applicants who think ‘I could probably do that'.

Sell your company

Your job advert is just that, an advert, so treat it like you would any other promotion. Tell prospective candidates why they should come and work for you. Are you a growing, employee-friendly company? Do you invest in your staff's career development and training along with a great benefits package? If so, tell them about it.

But remember to be credible and accurate. Don't make claims in your advert that the job won't deliver. Failure to live up to expectations can be a prime source of dissatisfaction when an employee actually starts working for your organisation.

You could also ask your existing employees what attracted them to apply and use this information when writing the advert.

Do your research

Look at recent job adverts for similar jobs; how much do they pay? If you're trying to attract the best talent but you're paying the same salary you did ten years ago, you may be pitching the job at too low a level and that's why you're getting applications from unsuitable candidates.

Advertise in the right places

Think about your ideal candidate. Which websites and publications are they likely to read? Are they members of a trade organisation? Do you want to employ a school or university leaver? If so, try approaching these publications and organisations to finding out how much it costs to advertise with them. And don't spend all your money on advertising in one place.

Advertise in a variety of places to attract applications representing a broad cross section of age, skills and experience.

Use a recruitment agency

If you don't have the time or experience to recruit, or if you don't want to let competitors or clients know that you're recruiting you could opt to use an agency to do the work for you. Forum members can get discounts on a range of recruitment services.

But don't just rely on traditional recruiting methods

Advertising jobs on recruitment sites, with agencies and in local newspapers are still the main channels for finding new employees, but you could also try alternative methods such as letting your professional contacts know that you're recruiting and ask for referrals or using social media to spread the word.

Also, if you're hiring for a specialist job, consider advertising in professional publications or websites rather than general ones. This will guarantee you a targeted audience and more relevant applications.

Would you apply for the job?

Before you put the advert out there, put yourself in the shoes of a potential applicant and ask yourself, if you were your ideal candidate, would you apply for the job? If the answer is no, then you need to go back to the drawing board.

To ensure that you get your recruitment practices right, members of the Forum can download a free recruitment template bundle including a job application form, interview and job offer letters. For more information on recruitment, call our member helpline on 0845 130 1722.

×