Building a team, or hiring new employees isn’t just about sifting through applications and interviewing candidates. Before any of that, you have to write the job post itself. How can you write a job ad in order to get the best response from suitable candidates? It might seem tedious at first, but if you take a few things into consideration it’s actually not all that difficult.
Here is a step-by-step how-to guide for writing the perfect vacancy announcement.
1. Write a descriptive job title
Always follow this golden rule: write a job title that is simple and engaging at the same time. While job titles like ‘Full-Stack Frontend Ninja’, ‘Content Creative’, or anything to do with superheroes are common, they aren’t actually fit for purpose, i.e. clarifying what exactly the position is. Avoid jargon and make sure to use relevant, searchable keywords. If you’re looking for an SEO-focused Online Marketer, you should clearly express this in the job title.
2. Positively introduce the company
Your company description needs to be short, snappy and interesting to capture the attention of potential candidates very quickly. More detailed company information should be moved to the end of the post for interested parties that want to learn more about the company. Always include the following information:
Who are you?
What is the company offering the position? What products or services do you offer? What is the company mission? Do you operate internationally? Make sure to list any awards, major achievements or anything that you think makes you an interesting employer.
Why are you hiring?
Clarify exactly why the company is hiring. Is the company expanding? Are you restructuring? Do you need cover for parental leave? Make sure that a potential candidate knows exactly what to expect.
3. Describe the position
In a short paragraph, briefly describe the position being offered using positive language, but be realistic and avoid using hyperbole. Use bullet points to list the most important responsibilities and any relevant obligations to make it easier to scan. What kind of experience level will be expected of the candidate? Will they have to manage a team? Does this role report directly to the CEO? How big is the company and the team in which they’ll be working? Jargon is out of place here, so make sure to use common expressions that everyone can understand.
4. List specific skills and requirements
Now, switch your focus from the position to the candidate. What should the person bring to the position? It’s a good idea to divide this list into ‘must-haves’ and ‘good-to-haves’, e.g. perhaps fluent English is a must-have, and any other languages are a plus!
Any Visa or legal requirements should be listed here too, keeping in mind current legislation. For example, in many countries it’s illegal to specify gender, ethnicity or any other detail that may be considered discriminatory. As an example, in Germany it’s illegal to specify ‘Native German speaker’/’German as mother tongue’ as a requirement. The correct way to express the required language level is to say ‘Fluent German’/’Native-level German’. Make this list very brief and to the point.
What personal qualities would the ideal candidate have? Rather than just listing traits (e.g. good communicator) it’s a good idea to describe behaviour like, “As Comms Manager, you need to be able to write precise, print-ready texts under pressure”. Only list points that are relevant to the position, and don’t overdo it! Again, no ninjas required.
5. Describe what sets you apart as an employer
Candidates aren’t only looking for a suitable position, they’re also looking for a great company. In a short paragraph, describe what candidates can expect from you. What is the company culture like? What does a normal day look like at the office? What benefits do you offer to employees? What do you offer employees in terms of personal and professional development, including any seminars, workshops or training?
6. Give details on what happens next
Tell candidates how to apply for this position. How should they submit their documents? Who should they contact with any questions they might have? How exactly does the application process work, and what should they expect if they are called for interview?
7. Include company background
If you wish, at the end you can add a few vital statistics about the company, e.g. foundation year, list of investors, name(s) of manager(s), etc.
So, it’s not rocket science! In as little text as possible, try to convey as much information as you can. The language that you write it in should of course depend on the position and the distribution channels that you use.
If you want to know exactly how successfully your job ads are performing, you can use our free employer’s’ tool which includes a company profile, job ads (also free!), performance and candidate analysis tools, and plenty of scope for employer branding.