What is a Job Advertisement and Why Do I Need One to Find Top Talent?

Your company is expanding and needs more staff. You want to fill the job openings with the most qualified candidates, and in a timely manner. Yet unemployment rates are at record lows and the number of U.S. companies wanting to hire fresh talent is at a 12-year high–all of which means it’s a job seekers’ market. How to find the talent you need in this market? Your best bet is to create an attractive, well-written, search-optimized online job advertisement for your open positions.

What is a job advertisement?

A job advertisement is a description of a job that clearly states the essential requirements, duties, responsibilities, and skills required to perform that specific role. Once you’ve written a job description that captures all the nuances of the job, you then post your job advertisement online in a place where it will be easily found by job seekers.

If you’ve done this correctly, you can expect to receive lots of candidate resumes, cover letters and applications, all of which you’ll need to review, parse and finally, single out the candidates you want to interview. After that, the hiring is up to you.

What is the main purpose of a job advertisement?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that up to 24 percent of Americans change jobs every year, which can mean over 40 million people searching for new positions annually. And a recent survey of job seekers found that the top three ways Americans look for new positions are online job boards, networking, and social media–in that order. In fact, according to the study by market research firm, Clutch, 41 percent of recent hires found their current role through a job description on an online job board.

Therefore, writing and posting a compelling online job advertisement is the way to attract the qualified talent your organization needs. The main purpose of a job advertisement then, is to be present when and where job seekers are looking.

How do I write a job advertisement?

There’s a risk in a posting a job advertisement that isn’t well crafted. If you end up hiring a less-than qualified candidate that doesn’t have the skills, background, and characteristics you’re looking for, the hire might not be successful. Worst case – you spend thousands of dollars to train a candidate who won’t ever fit into your position.

So how do you create and post a job advertisement in a way that attracts multiple excellent candidates?

First, know that job seekers are searching using keywords that most describe their desired position, plus the location where they want to work. For example, if they are searching for a marketing job, they may search using “marketing manager” as a keyword, plus “New York” as their location. Or if they are searching for an engineering job, they may search using “electrical engineer” as a keyword, plus “Boston” as their location. A good job advertisement, therefore, weaves these keywords into throughout the description.

What should I include in my job advertisement post?

A basic job advertisement contains a job title, summary of the job (how it fits into the organization), specific job responsibilities, requirements for education, technical and related experience, benefits, and finally an explanation of how and where to apply. Companies that post jobs online can increase their chances of appearing in relevant job searches by:

  • Writing detailed job descriptions that contain keywords related to the role.
  • Adding job location, whether the role is part-time or full-time, and whether the job is on-site or can be performed remotely.
  • Including industry-specific skills, tools, and jargon (for example, a programming language, software platform, app or unique skills required to do the job).

In addition to the above-mentioned items, it is recommended that you include a salary range. Pay transparency is becoming the norm, and if you choose not to post a salary range, your candidates can find pay information online anyway. If you’re not addressing questions that result from these quick Google searches, you’re potentially doing more harm than good to your recruiting and retention efforts.

As for how to structure your job listing, bulleted lists are easier to read than narrative-style paragraphs, so use them to organize your job advertisement. Also use well-structured sections to help separate duties from requirements, and ‘must-haves’ from ‘nice-to-have’ skills.

And here’s a tip on timing your job advertisement: post it on a Wednesday morning (local time). Studies show that job seekers are most active during the morning hours before work and on their commute to the office; and mid-week seems to be when searching is heaviest – perhaps due to “midweek blues”.

If you follow the guidelines we’ve described here, you should have qualified job applications pouring into your mailbox within a few hours of posting your job opening!

In the coming weeks, we’ll cover more about the topics of job advertisements and how to write and post the most compelling job descriptions in order to improve the quality of job applicants.

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