How to Write An Effective Job Advertisement – Part 1

Also known as: “How not to write a horribly boring job advertisement”

Let’s start with defining effective. What is the goal? The primary goal of writing a job ad is to cast out your fishing line and hope you have the right bait on the hook to attract that right person sitting at home (or at their desk at their current job – not recommended) reading the help wanted ads…right? That way you can let the ad do all the work, and only the best and most qualified will apply! Wrong.

The goal of a job advertisement is to create excitement about the opportunity. It is to incite motivation and desire to work at your company. It is an ad for your brand, your product and for the culture you have worked so hard to create at your organization. What is the mission of your company? What excites you about your current role? You don’t wake up in the morning and rush to work thinking about all of your duties and requirements. You look forward to work because of the challenges, the people, and the mission of your company and the contribution you are making toward a future success.

Most companies make the mistake of focusing on their needs when writing an ad. They go on and on about requirements, and minimum requirements, and more absolute must-have requirements…and maybe then some duties. This is not very exciting. Yet who can blame them, as most “help” you find on the Internet is written by people who have hired relatively few – if any – people, and have conducted even fewer searches themselves.

Read this excerpt below from Entrepreneur Magazine.
Before you write your job ad, complete a job analysis and description. This information will help you write an ad that will attract candidates to your company. The best way to avoid wasting time on interviews with people who do not meet your needs is to write an ad that will lure qualified candidates and discourages others. Consider this example:
Interior designer seeks inside/outside salesperson. Flooring, drapes (extensive measuring), furniture, etc. In-home consultations. Excellent salary and commission. PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. San Francisco Bay Area. Send resume to G. Green at P.O. Box 5409, San Francisco, CA 90842.

This job description is designed to attract a flexible salesperson and eliminate those who lack the confidence to work on commission. The advertiser asks for expertise in "extensive measure," the skill she has had the most difficulty finding. The job location should be included to weed out applicants who don't live in the area or aren't willing to commute. Finally, the capitalized "PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE NECESSARY" underscores that she will hire only candidates with previous experience.
In the first paragraph this article gives three pieces of unfortunate advice. It is not true that writing a job analysis and a description will help you write an ad that will attract candidates. A well written job description is much different than an ad in that it details the role, the responsibilities and requirements, but it does not create excitement or explain why the job is fun and challenging.

The writer then advises you on how to avoid wasting time. No matter how specific your job advertisement is, you will have people applying that by your estimation had no business applying. It is a reality of the Internet-centric world we live in where it only takes seconds for a person to apply for a job.

Finally, the writer is offering advice on how to discourage others. You really don’t want people to be discouraged after reading your ad, no matter who they are. Your goal should be to get the "unqualified" person reading the ad to wish they could work at your company, and to feel strongly enough to share the opening with their friends…one of whom may be your next new employee!

A job advertisement will not do the hard work for you. It will only publicize the opening and hopefully create buzz. Reading resumes, scheduling phone interviews, preparing questions, following up with applicants that will not receive an interview, scheduling in-person interviews and making a final decision is a lot of work, but it can be efficient, effective and fun if you have the right attitude.

Masiello Employment Services has written thousands of job advertisements for their clients and conducted thousands of searches over the 25 years we have been in business. Our job ads are syndicated on over 10,000 job boards each day. For help on writing your next job advertisement, or reaching a qualified pool of great talent, please feel free to give us a call for a free consultation.

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