Keep up with the latest hiring trends!
According to the most recent MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study, many companies have failed to come to the realisation that they need to adjust their recruitment strategy for this new landscape. “Despite being in a heavily candidate-driven market for several years, most companies still follow antiquated hiring practices, even for critical positions. They refuse to acknowledge that the market is candidate-driven,” said a recruiter from the study.
So what can a recruiter do? The answer is simple: go back to the basics. This starts with trying to perfect the first engagement with candidates which typically happens through your job adverts. Today, it is no longer acceptable to post ordinary job ads. A candidate’s attention has become a valuable commodity in today’s market so a higher focus is needed on crafting effective, attention-grabbing job adverts. So we are going to break down what candidates typically want to see in job ads and how you can develop a great job ad template based on this. Let’s get into it!
Define What Applicants Want
Before we sit down to create our job ads, it’s important to step into the applicant’s shoes and ask ourselves ‘what do they want’? According to the Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research Report, 48% of candidates have no previous relationship with employers at the beginning of the process. In other words, nearly half of your candidates are coming in cold. Therefore, when creating your job ads, you cannot assume candidates know anything about your company, your products/services, what makes you different and why others work for you. You’re going to have to tell them these things!
In the same report, candidates indicated what job-related content was most valuable to them:
- Job Description: The job description is hugely important to the applicant
- Salary Range: Many employers never list the salary on their job descriptions
- Benefits: Candidates want to know more about the full range of benefits offered by the organisation
- Successful Candidate Profile: They want you to describe what great looks like
- Career Path Examples: Candidates are also looking for an understanding of the different career paths available from your role. They don’t just want to take on this job, they want to see it as a stepping stone to other things
Creating Your Job Ad Template
So now that we know the various elements of a job ad that your candidates value, it’s time to create the template for your job ad. But before we dig in to the nitty-gritty, you really to consider implementing the following things.
If you are able, we recommend you use images throughout e.g. images of the office environment and the people that work there. These can be a really powerful way for you to tell stories and add authenticity. Try and go a step further and include other multimedia if possible e.g. video.
Embedding videos is great way to showcase your employer brand. In fact, a new study from Ongig showed that candidates spend on average 55 seconds viewing a text-only ads, whereas job seekers spend 5 minutes and 23 seconds watching a video advertisement. So why not introduce video to your job ads?
Headings and Keywords
Use headings and bold your keywords to draw the eye to the really important information in your job ad. Candidates tend to skim through job ads so using headings and bolded keywords can help provide structure for candidates and act as visual cues to indicate what areas in the job ad are most important. It also helps with your job ad’s your SEO.
Another tip from us would be to abolish bullet points, wherever possible. See below for an example of how a job ad looks when bullet points are only used. The result is an uninspiring and it does nothing to entice candidates to apply.
Instead, your goal should be to move toward something like the job ad below. You can immediately see the structured paragraphs and the headings that are used which allows you to tell your company story.
Visual Media, Headings + Keywords: Check! So let’s now go through what you should include in your job ad template which will incorporate everything we have learned so far:
Describe the Employer
This will be the first paragraph of your job ad. Describe your company assuming they know nothing about you. Explain why this is a great organisation to work for.
About the Job
At this point candidates will have a fair idea of the job is as indicated by job title but try to give them as much insight about the role as possible. Try to use different language like ‘You’, ‘Your’ and ‘Yours’. You’re not just focusing on ‘We’ and ‘This role will’. Start things off with ‘you will do XXX’, ‘you will have the opportunity’ and ‘your responsibilities will include’.
This language will engage the potential applicant more and will make them feel part of the process as they read the job ad. According to Talent Board Candidate Experience Report, 49% of employers actually do this so it means over half are not explaining where else you can go with the roles they are advertising for.
About the Ideal Candidate
The job ads that work best are candidate-centric. Instead of just telling candidates the skills and experience they need to perform the job, explain what they would need to do in the role and how you as an organisation are going to help them do it. According to Talent Board, only 33% of employers actually put this in their job ad so this is a huge opportunity for you to shine!
List the requirements, making sure to separate the ideal from the minimum. This will help you filter out people who are not a good fit for the role. Define what is absolutely required in simple human language. You can then add, the nice to haves thereafter.
Salary Range & Benefits
Mention salary range and benefits if possible. Talent Board found that only 22% of employers actually list the salary in their job ads so this presents a real opportunity for you, as it is one of the top things your candidate is looking for and most of your competition isn’t doing it. If you are restricted from posting this, consider adding a line like ‘If you would like to discuss salary range, please call me to discuss!’
Define the application process. Candidates want to know what happens next. They will want to know when they can expect to hear from you. This helps you set candidate expectations. Giving people an idea of what the process is reduces their risk and fear and will increase the likelihood of great talent applying to you.
Call to Action
When developing a call-to-action, you need to consider both passive and active candidates. Active candidates will be ready to send you a CV so some examples of CTAs you could use for these types of candidates include:
- “Are you the one we’re looking for? Apply now by clicking the Apply button, or email me for more information”
- “Apply before March 31 for immediate consideration”
- “Don’t delay! We’re hiring as quickly as possible, call me during business hours on 01-5241285 to discuss, or email me your details”
For passive candidates, you could invite the interested applicant to phone you or email you to express interest in the job or find out more about the role. Humanise the language and tone and give them multiple ways they can contact you. For example:
“Not ready to apply, or have some questions first? Call me, Johnny Campbell, on +35315241285 (before 6:30pm) to discuss in confidence”
Your Job Ad Checklist
Given that we have covered a vast amount, it is probably worthwhile to develop a job ad checklist to make sure you hit all important points when it comes to filling in your template. Here’s your 6 point checklist:
- The job ad is framed in a candidate-centric way
- It has images and/or videos
- It has important keywords in bold
- Headings are included with structured paragraphs
- There is a way for candidates to contact directly
- There is a strong call-to-action to apply
Now that you have learned everything about what candidates actually want from their job ads and creating a structure around this, you now have a template for creating more interesting, attention-grabbing and unique job ads that encourage candidates to apply (or contact the recruiter directly). So why not start now? Using this template, re-write one of your current live job roles and let us know if you see the results!