Let’s admit it: most job ads out there are pretty awful.
Often, they come across as bland, full of buzzwords and clichés, or end up having little relation to the job itself when the new employee turns up for their first day of work. The very worst ads get picked up and shared on social media under the hashtag #recruitmentfails.
Job ads matter. They have a direct influence on the type and quality of candidates you attract, and should support (rather than undermine) your organisation’s carefully-cultivated brand.
Mark Puncher, CEO of Employer Branding Australia, says recruiters can improve their job ads by focusing on the opportunity, the experience, and adding a healthy dose of honesty to make their employer brand shine.
Job branding and employer branding
Employer branding has really hit the mainstream in 2020. The aim of the practice is to create a pool of talent who are already following or engaging with your organisation by showing them that your place is a great place to work.
“We’ve gone from nearly zero employer branding in the past to too much employer branding today (otherwise known as ‘fluff’),” Mark says. “Yes, we need to promote who we are, our mission, purpose and why a potential candidate should want to be a part of it, but many recruiters fall into the trap of writing job ads that are mainly about selling the dream on culture and/or values and not enough about the opportunity itself.
“Job branding is about showing the opportunity in this particular role at this particular time. Even if you have an articulated EVP (Employee Value Proposition), it’s not enough just to copy and paste this into every job ad. You need to grab the opportunity to personalise key parts of the job ad to match that opportunity. Another mistake is to dig out the job ad used last time the same role was vacant.”
Instead, ask yourself why is this opportunity available right now, and what makes it exciting? Connect the dots between your EVP and the role itself. “It’s great that the job ad mentions the company’s purpose and mission, but potential candidates want to know how they are going to contribute to that mission,” says Mark.
“What do you want them to do? How will it feel to contribute? Everyone says that Millennials want purpose and meaning, and to know what their contribution will be. But don’t be fooled – most of us want those things. Job branding and employer branding are massively intertwined.”
Should you show the salary in job ads?
Writing inspirational words about your employer brand and values will not let you off the hook in regard to showing the basics: the salary, where the employee will work, and what the job entails.
Mark believes employers should always show the salary. “Show a range if you must, but avoid words like ‘competitive remuneration’ – most candidates sense that you’re actually saying, “we don’t pay very well and we’re too afraid to tell you.”
What does excellent job branding achieve?
Obviously, great job branding helps you attract top-quality candidates, but it’s also about dissuading the wrong people from applying.
If you are able to clearly communicate your employer brand, you will deter candidates who aren’t interested in the experience you offer and the corporate culture you describe. This will help you cut down on the time spent sorting through irrelevant applications, and avoid the cost of a bad hire.
“There’s no need to beat around the bush, Mark says. “Job ads can include a section on why this job might not be right for you.”
Consider using language such as:
- “We’re great at x, but we’re not so good at y, and this is what we’d like you to bring to our team.”
- “This isn’t for everybody; it’s a hard gig.”
- “Here’s why we think you’ll love it … and here’s why you might not”.
Mark shares eight tips for writing top-quality job ads
A high-quality job ad will attract high-quality candidates who are motivated by the opportunity and see themselves reflected in the culture you describe. Job ads should help cut down on pre-screening and re-advertising time, strengthen your employer brand, and are the all-important first step in the candidate experience. With so much riding on the strength of a job ad, this is one step in the recruitment process that should never be rushed.