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How to write an effective job advert

As a recruiter your job is to attract the best candidates for your vacancy, so in this article I am going to give an easy framework for writing an appealing and winning job advert.  While this advice appears on our OilCareers job site, for jobs in the Oil & Gas sector, the information below can be used to improve the quality of your candidate attraction for any line of employment.  Even if you are lucky enough to recruit through word of mouth or an employee recommendation scheme, you will still need a job advert to make sure that the best candidates take the time out to take the step of applying for your vacancy.

It’s probably worth taking a couple of minutes to consider what would be the key factors for you in deciding whether to apply for a job.  This is the critical point when you first read the job advert, before you know anything about the company, the job, the pay and before you even get anywhere near an interview to find out more.  Remember, that most people see applying for jobs as a bit of a chore, and the best applicants and those in most demand will certainly only take the time to apply to the most appealing adverts.  Some of these most sought after candidates will probably not bother to put their CV on a database, knowing that they have the skills and experience to be selective in their applications.  So, when you write a job advert it is this candidate you should be appealing to.

Right at the beginning of my recruitment career I received some very good advice from a highly experienced recruitment trainer.  Advice which has served me well, and looking at a random sample of job adverts, it’s fairly safe to say that if you use this technique it will make your job advert easily stand out from the crowd in applicant appeal.

The recipe for success is simple; there are four basic things that appeal to most candidates, which should never be missing from your job advert.  The task of writing a job advert shouldn’t be arduous, and you can make it even easier by creating a template based on the following points.

Money

Think about it, if you are about to apply for a new job, unless you have just won the lottery, it’s unlikely that you are going to be overjoyed about taking a pay cut when you move into a new job.  In fact for most, and certainly the best candidates, they won’t even bother to apply if they don’t have some indication of the pay on offer.   I can’t verify but there is a statistic that job adverts with the salary mentioned get 4 times as many applications as those without.

Ego

Most people want to feel valued in their work, they want to feel that they are an important part of the team and an integral cog in the company wheel.  Your job applicant might even be leaving his last job because he feels undervalued in his current role, so appeal to their ego and tell them how important they will be in performing this role.

Company

Your dream applicant is highly unlikely to bother applying to a job where he or she has absolutely no idea about the company that they are applying to.  Remember also that there are some companies that applicants would not want to apply to for their own reasons, and without knowing who they are applying to, this kind of company anonymity is likely to put them off.  Recruiters tell me that they need to keep the company confidential, which I understand, however without any information about the company, there is little to persuade your next top employee to apply.  Unless your applicant is a fan of pot luck or simply desperate for a job, they are unlikely to want to apply to a job which could be working in literally any company.  There is no need to reveal the identity of the company if you would rather not, so appeal to the Kudos factor, tell them that your company is in the Times 100 best employers, (obviously only it this is true!)  Tell them if the company is an award winning leader in its field, recognised for its quality of services or products, its plans for growth and successful business.  If the offices are fabulous, the parking plentiful and the social club thriving, then shout it from the roof in your advert.

Opportunity

Unless your candidate has absolutely no ambition and will be happy staying in this role until retirement, it is highly likely that they will be looking for progression with their next employer.  Opportunity can be about many things, it can be meteoric rise through the ranks, or simply the opportunity for further training and greater responsibility.  It might be the chance to travel or work with senior thought leaders in this sector or liaise with other companies, or for some it might just be the opportunity to really use their skills.  Remember that lack of opportunity to progress or even use their skills fully in their current role, might be the reason that they are looking for another job.

Back to the drawing board

Now take 5 minutes to browse some job adverts online, then look at your own job adverts with a critical eye and check if you have maximised your candidate attraction.  If you are serious about filling your next job, spend an extra 15 minutes perfecting your job advertisement writing skills and see how easy it is to increase the appeal of your own job adverts.

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  • Leo Gaigher

    Thank you, been sending cv off like a crazy person without success, hopefully your advise will help.

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