The point of a job advert is to engage potential job seekers, and ultimately encourage your ideal candidates to apply.
Generic statements and unnecessary bullet points will probably put people off. Saying what you mean on the other hand, and people might just get intrigued.
In this post we’ll look at how to help ensure successful job ads. First by keeping them firmly anchored in reality, and also updated (i.e. if/when requirements change).
The ‘chatting to a colleague’ analogy
Picture yourself speaking to a trusted colleague. You’re swapping recent updates and you mention that you’ve been trying to hire a UI/UX designer for the past 4 weeks.
Your colleague asks you what kind of person you’re looking for.
Maybe you tell them something like this?
‘What are you looking for?’ Take one
Or maybe you say something more like this?
‘What are you looking for?’ Take two
Take one’ was actually something you might see in a job ad, and ‘Take two’ sounded like something you might actually say to a colleague. The verbal description sounds more relatable, and easier to understand.
The problem is, you put the first option in your job ad didn’t you?! (don’t worry, we’ve all been there).
Sound like you, and not like a job ad
The ‘talking to a colleague’ tip should inform how you write your job ads.
Step 1) Verbalise your job requirements
Either to a real life colleague, record it on your phone, or use a speech to text tool
Step 2) Let this guide your actual job description.
Step 3) Never let your verbal description and job description contradict each other
This is why the ‘talk to a colleague’ tip works, it helps avoid the scenario below.
Writing bad job descriptions. What you actually want vs dull, generic, and misleading information
Over the years we’ve spoken with countless hiring managers about what kind of person they’re looking for. The verbal rundown we get directly from the hiring manager, and the text in the job ad they’ve sent us often have major differences. Worst case scenario they contradict each other.
These discrepancies are most noticeable when a job ad has been live for several weeks. By this point in the search, it’s clear to the hiring manager that they are going to have to adapt certain requirements. They might now describe a skill that was previously ‘must have’, as a ‘nice to have’ for example.
When this happens, it’s always the verbal description that’s correct, and never the job ad. Nine (or ten) times out of ten, the hiring manager has not updated their original job ad to reflect what they now actually want.
You can think of your job ads as a conversation starter with your future candidates.
It’s a good idea to ditch the generic bullet points, and corporate spiel. This is because to a candidate browsing 10 jobs, everything starts blurring together. Instead use the ‘chat with a colleague’ approach to help make the role sound more relatable, and also grounded in reality.
Don’t leave people trying to second guess what you’re looking for. The clearer you are, the more likely candidates will be to hit the apply button.
Finally, it’s very important to remember that as and when your search evolves, your job ad must remain up to date. People aren't pyschic.
Now next time you find yourself talking with colleagues about hiring, you’ll hopefully be telling them it’s going well, as you’ll have already used the ‘chat with a colleague’ technique before chatting with your colleagues. Very meta!
By David Fallon
At Intaview.me, our job ads are interactive (see example here), and incorporate the hiring manager’s verbal explanation directly into the job description. This helps avoid the scenarios listed above.
Even if you aren’t one of our clients using an interactive job ad, all the tips above will work. You can ensure your (text based) job description, always matches your verbal explanation of the role.