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Tips to create an effective job advert

Updated on January 22, 2015

Basic Steps for Job Advertising

It can be daunting for small businesses to hire new people and creating a good job advert will help to attract the right applicants. You can use a professional advertising company to do this but they will want you to give them the correct information and you will still have to authorise the final copy for publication whether electronic or print. Have a look at some advertisements for similar roles advertised by other companies to get a feel for what you want. Many companies have “house-styles” that dictate how you format it, e.g. logo in a particular position, particular type-face, a PR statement that must be included in every external communication. If you don't already have one, I would suggest that you create a recruitment advert template that you can re-use for subsequent vacancies which will save you quite a bit of time. Obviously, as with all documents and templates you will review it from time to time to make sure that it is still suitable.

The following check list will serve to ensure that you include all necessary details. Forgetting a particular piece of information can render your advert useless or cause you to become inundated with irrelevant applications for you to sift through! Worst case is that your advert is illegal in some way, which is far more serious. This advert is the beginning of the relationship with your new employee and it needs to be accurate and give sufficient information. You will place the most important information first to attract the eye of someone who is skimming through the job pages. Ensure that you include:

  • Company name and logo
  • Job Title: in full, do not use abbreviations (e.g. Human Resources not HR)
  • Type of contract: permanent/ temporary and state if part time or full time and the number of hours
  • Salary range and benefits
  • Job location
  • Brief outline of job responsibilities
  • Brief outline of skills/ experience/ qualifications required
  • Closing date for applications
  • Application process and contact details of nominated person in the company (name, email, telephone number)
  • Company website details and any links for further information
  • Check your advert so that it does not discriminate in any way e.g. do not specify age or gender

When considering your layout, your advert will benefit from having plenty of space with important details highlighted. Keep your statements concise and crisp; avoid jargon and word it as if speaking to someone. So instead of saying “the successful candidate will hold professional qualifications in purchasing” you would write “You will hold professional qualifications in purchasing” or whatever is appropriate for this vacancy of course.

Your aim is to give sufficient information to attract candidates with the desired qualities without overwhelming them. Your links to further information will give full details of the job and person specification and confirm how to apply.

If you are advertising on an online job board, then you will need to use specific key words e.g. a job title of Electrical Maintenance Technician. This will enable the search engines to send alerts to those who have registered for this specialism and will appear in job searches.

Rather than give you an example of an online job advertisement, I would suggest that you do a little research by visiting job boards like www.monster.com/ or www.reed.co.uk/ and have a look at adverts for roles similar to your vacancy. Consider which are the most effective. I don’t suggest that you slavishly copy these but develop your own style by picking out what is eyecatching.

Most importantly, get someone else to take a critical look at the advert before you place it. It is amazing what you don’t see when you have been working away at something. Don’t just rely on your spell checker which won’t pick up “Manger” when you actually mean “Manager”. You are trying to create a good impression in the mind of prospective candidates and such typos won’t help.

If you are advertising in a journal or newspaper be aware that print adverts can be very expensive, but you might want to make a splash if you are seeking to fill a number of vacancies. In which case, it may be worth the fee for a half page advert with colour pictures. Just make sure that you get a quotation before you instruct the newspaper and that you are clear about where and when it will appear. Quite often newspapers will quote a cost for so many columns and it is a good idea to get them to explain just how this would look on a page. If you are thinking about a large advert then I think engaging an advertising house to handle this for you is a good idea. They may be able to negotiate discounts on your behalf.

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