How to write an effective job ad

The job market is extremely competitive, and with a greater number of candidates applying for a fewer number of openings, it’s fundamental that you write the type of job ad that is going to attract the right type of person. We give you a few tips on crafting a great job ad.

1. Create a job description
You can’t fill the position with the perfect person if you don’t know what you’re looking for. To help you get clarity on exactly what the role is, and the essential skills needed to perform the job, speak to the people who will regularly be working with the new recruit. Take your time, be thorough, set clear expectations and get this first step right.

2. Write the job ad
Instead of writing a long shopping list of the skills you’re looking for, choose five of the most critical. Be absolutely precise about what you require, as you want skills specific to this job, not every job. Describe the position in full, including the experience and attributes you expect, as this should minimise the number of unsuitable candidates who will apply.
Overreaching will turn away possible candidates that’s why you need to be realistic about your requirements. It can be a challenge to find a person who fills every one of your conditions, so have a list of essentials and a list of nice-to-haves. Prioritise these to show what you consider to be the most important factors.
It’s essential to be open about your company and any specific requirements you have – such as significant travelling. Explain what your company is like, including your philosophies and values, because while skills and experience are vital, so too is the right cultural fit.
The style of your writing is important as it’s a representation of your company, so don’t try to be something that you are not. By using your company’s voice, you give the perspective candidate an idea of the type of organisation you run. Words matter, so write for an online audience using relevant keywords, and put the most important information at the top.

3. Write a job title
Pick the job title carefully as it’s the thing that’s going to make a person click on your ad. It also doesn’t have to be exactly the same as the title of the actual position. By creating something distinct, you differentiate the position and your company from the hundreds of other job posts out there. This is your opportunity to make a good first impression.

4. Make your company stand out
You’re competing against other companies who are looking for the same set of skills, that’s why you should make your business sound irresistible. You must, however, be truthful as the job needs reflect your organisation. Every business has its own character and style – use this in your job ad to give the candidate a glimpse of what it will be like to work in your amazing company.

5. More than a CV
Include a short list of questions to help you prescreen applicants. If a candidate skips this altogether or gives you poor answers, it allows you to cut them from your list. This saves you valuable interview time.

6. Pick the right platform
To attract the people you’re looking for, you need to choose an appropriate site to post your ad. This means you won’t necessarily opt for the most popular website, but rather the one that works for your company, and where your potential candidates are most likely to be. You want to attract the right people not the most number of applicants.

Writing a good job post is crucial to the hiring process, but it’s often more difficult than you think. By crafting an effective job ad you attract the right people, dissuade the wrong people from applying, and you decrease the number of CVs you’ll have to look through. As much as you’re looking for that perfect candidate, they’re also looking for their ideal company, so spend time getting the ad right and create a targeted job ad that the top candidates simply can’t resist.

At LEAP we understand the diverse needs of corporate procurement and we have tailored our programmes to benefit both entrepreneurs and corporate companies. For professional advice contact us on 011 449 7074 or visit