A job advert is a paid announcement about a job opening or vacancy in a company or organization. It is one of the many components of a recruitment process, and considered to be one of the essential tools used by hiring managers, recruiters and human resource professionals in order to fill existing openings or needs for skills and manpower in organizations, companies and firms. (Luther; 2018)
Benefits of an effective Job Advert
Job adverts, are designed to attract the suitable candidates for the open position being advertised. It can increase the chances that the candidates who will apply are suitable for the open position, meaning that the applicants have the skills, talents and competencies required specifically for the job being advertised.
A good job advert reduces the time spent by recruiters and hiring managers going through applications of unsuitable applicants. It is not just the time spent in the preliminary screening that will be saved, because they will also save time on the rest of the recruitment process.
It improves the quality of staffing of the company. A company’s growth is not just reflected by the numbers, or how much profit it made during its several years of operation. Even the quality of manpower will also be indicative of its growth. Many companies have gained repute for having a structure that is staffed by quality people, with brilliant minds, talents and skills.
There are various platforms that may be used to flight job adverts, these may include:
- Newspapers and publications with sections devoted entirely to job adverts.
- Online job boards and job sites. Thanks to the internet, the recruitment process now has a wider and more dynamic reach.
- Television and other audio-visual multimedia platforms.
- Social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn… etc
- Companies’ and organizations’ bulletin boards.
The venue or medium where the adverts appear will vary, depending on several factors, mostly with respect to the size of the company and the nature of the organization, as well as its financial resources.
Preparing a job advert
A job advert is effective if it reflects the role that the selected applicant or candidate will perform once he is hired by the company, as well as the expectations of the employer regarding his performance. The basic elements of a job advert are namely:
- Information about the job opening or vacancy: This includes the duties and responsibilities of the position or job opening that the organization aims to fill.
- Candidate profile: This is an outline of the education, experience, skills and other requirements of the open position.
- Company information: This provides potential applicants an insight into the working environment.
- Employee benefits: This includes the salary range and other benefits that the employee who will be chosen for the job will receive once he is employed and performing.
- The application process: This basically provides instruction on how the applicants will apply, and where they will send in their application letters and resumes.
Factors to Consider Before Writing a Job Advert
Your ideal candidate for the job: Before you can write a job description, and the job advert, as a whole, you should first know exactly who your ideal candidate for the open position will be. Imagine the type of person, employee or worker that you want performing the tasks that the job entails.
The platform for advertising: Where will you post your job and recruitment advertisements? Your medium or choice of advertising platform may have an effect on how you will craft your advert, especially with respect to its styling and design, as well as what you will write in the Call to Action section, where you will instruct interested applicants to apply for the job opening.
Your budget for job and recruitment advertising: Publication of job advert in newspapers and magazines generally cost money, and the same goes for advertising on television and radio. Knowing how much you are willing and able to spend on the advertising will determine how long the advert will be.
Key Points in Writing the Job Advert
In noting the key points that one must remember when writing a successful job and recruitment advertisement, we will follow the seven basic elements as enumerated by the Wentworth Institute of Technology.
1. Job Title, or the headline
This will serve as the Heading or Title of the entire job advert. Use a job title that is industry standard. It should make use of descriptive words that anyone will immediately recognize and understand the moment they lay their eyes on it. While sticking to industry standard job titles, it should also be specific.
Job title must be clear and does not mislead anyone who reads it. You are looking for a Software Engineer? Then say so. The job title must be catchy and appealing. It must contain keywords that can potentially attract suitable candidates. For example, a job title that says “Clerk” is not as catchy as, say, “Accounting Clerk” or “Administrative Assistant”.
2. The Hook
Usually, this is the first paragraph of the job advert, and it serves as a lead that answers the following questions:
Why would a jobseeker be interested to perform this specific job?
What is so unique about this job, setting it apart from other similar jobs?
Some of the hooks or attractions that you can probably include in the first paragraph of the job advert are:
- One or two specific functions of the job that utilizes the primary skill or expertise of the individual.
- Benefits that will be received by the employee who will perform the job, on top of his salary. Examples are subsidies for clothing and housing, and also transportation and representation allowances.
- Exciting programs and projects that the company is currently working on – or will work on in the future – where the job and the jobholder will play an active part in.
3. Company information
This is the second paragraph of the job advert, and it covers information about the company, including its offerings (products and services) and some more general information that provides a glimpse of the corporate and working culture within the organization. Include a link to the company website, if any, or other sources where the jobseeker may find more information about the company, in support of the short introduction that you just made in the advert.
4. Skills, experience and education
These are the requirements of the job, meaning that the person who will perform the job must have these skills, experience and education on his first day on the job. Be clear, specific and concise. Upon reading this section of the job advert, the potential applicant should be able to immediately conclude whether they are qualified for the position or not.
Choose the essential or critical skills, instead of listing all the skills that you want the person to have. Keeping the required list short will accomplish the task of attracting jobseekers, instead of boring them and, worse, even overwhelming them to the point that they will be discouraged to apply for the job.
Similarly, you have to identify every detail about the experience that you want the candidates to have. If you are also looking for specific certifications and accreditations, such as a professional certification or license, spell that out in the job advert.
Make a clear distinction between requirements and additional qualifications. You must distinguish the “must-have” qualifications and skills from the other qualifications and skills that are “nice to have”, but not really strictly needed in the applicant.
Avoid listing personality traits since, technically, these are not skills. Personality traits such as “proactive”, “outgoing”, and “with pleasing personality” are not measurable, and are even subjective. It is easy for applicants to convince themselves that they have these personality traits, for the simple reason that they want to apply for that job.
5. Responsibilities of the position
This is where you will indicate the tasks, activities, duties and responsibilities that the future jobholder will perform on a regular basis. The purpose of this is to clearly state the purpose of the job, and provide a glimpse of its relationship to the other positions within the organization or company. List down the major responsibilities. If there are a lot of responsibilities, select three to five of the major ones, or those that take up a large bulk of the time of the jobholder.
Be specific about the role of the would-be employee, especially with regards to his/her skills and experience, and even educational background. This is so that the advertisement will discourage those who are not qualified, or who do not meet the minimum requirements, from applying for the open position. Start the responsibilities and duties with action words. Action words provide more impact and give more weight to the actual functions of the job.
It is up to the poster of the job advert whether to list the salary. Some companies only discuss salaries with potential hires, during an interview or when they contact you to schedule an interview. Many do list benefits such as sick days and vacation leave, type of health insurance including any employee contribution and stock options or other benefits.
7. Call to action
At the end of the job advert, tell the prospective applicant what to do in order to apply for the job. Shape it in the form of a direct message to the reader. Provide a clear outline of the next steps that the applicant needs to take. Make sure the following are addressed:
- How to apply for the open position, whether you accept online applications, actual physical submission of documents, or submission of application via email.
- Where to direct their applications (e.g. mailing address, email address, or the actual address of the place where applicants may personally submit their application letters and documents, and contact numbers)
- What documents to submit aside from, of course, their application letters and resumes
- The inclusive dates of acceptance of application, putting emphasis on any deadline of submission
Keep the application process as simple as you can. Do not inundate them with a lot of steps to follow in order for them to be able to get their resumes to you. By keeping it straightforward and simple, more candidates will apply, and you will also have greater chances of attracting the stronger ones.
You will notice in the above points that there is one underlying principle that must be followed by anyone preparing a job advert, and that is to be specific. Be specific when writing the job title, when listing the required skills and qualifications, when providing information about the company, the job, and the compensation and benefits.
Munodiwa Zvemhara is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.
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