5 Things Candidates Want to See in Your Job Advert

With the current economic and business trends, the job market is more competitive than ever. The demand for good workers is growing, but the workers themselves have become very discerning when it comes to deciding which jobs they want to apply to and what kind of employers they want to work for.

The days when you could publish a simple job posting are over. Companies and recruiters need to put additional effort into crafting the perfect job ad in order to attract the right people. It’s not only what you say, but how you say it too. Are you sensitive enough to everyone’s needs? Are there any special considerations that prospective candidates should keep in mind?

So, let’s examine what candidates want to see in a job advert and how to present that information.

Communicate your company culture accurately

This is a big one, and a lot of recruiters make a mistake by trying to be too casual and “witty”. Traditional businesses need to project a professional, no-nonsense image while hip, new startups can be more free with the tone of voice and register.

That being said, you still want to avoid using terms like “rockstar”, “Jedi”, or “witch” in your job titles. There once was a time when that was the height of branding, but most candidates will simply roll their eyes at those these days. Additionally, when people search for job postings, think of what they’ll type in. Are they looking for a position as a marketing professional or an SEO ninja? Hint, it’s the former. Unless the whole brand is built on being creative and zany, it’s best to stick to standard job titles.

For classical business environments, you should use a formal and toned-down register – think words like “ambitious”, “professional”, or “results-oriented”. For informal environments, the casual register is fine – focus on emphasising that the workspace is “exciting”, “creative”, “dynamic”, or “unorthodox”.

Be concise…

… but provide enough context. People don’t want to read essays when they’re looking for a job. They need down-to-earth, clear information that will tell them what the job is, what the terms are, and what are the required qualifications.

Use bullet points and short, punchy phrases that will get the point across. Don’t be verbose when explaining duties or requirements; a short phrase will provide enough detail without making the reader lose focus.

Still, include all pertinent details. Is the job remote or in-office? Will daily/weekly/monthly meetings be required? What’s the size of the team? All information can be included and grouped into logical segments that will get the message across and, hopefully, entice the prospective employee.

Now that we’ve covered how you should formulate your job advert, let’s go over the information that needs to be included in more detail.

1. Key selling points

This is a must-have. What sets you apart from the sera of other employers on the market. You’re definitely not the only one hiring, so make sure to stand out. Ideally, you should lead with this information. A casual workplace, flexible work hours, long onboarding process, hands-on mentorship, rapid advancement, flat company hierarchy, and almost anything you can think of can be considered an advantage.

Some selling points don’t belong at the top of the advert, though. If you provide a free gym membership, have an on-premises game room, or organise regular parties, you might want to add that near the bottom. It’s important information, to be sure, but you shouldn’t lead with it.

All of this provides context about what you value, and what candidates can expect from you. 

1. Salary information

This can be filed under key selling points, but it deserves a section of its own. Just writing “competitive salary” won’t cut it anymore. The phrase is too vague, and too many employers try to lure candidates by offering a “competitive” salary that’s just the industry average (or even lower).

You don’t want to waste your candidates’ time, nor do you want people expecting to be paid more to waste yours. Transparency is important as it ensures everyone has their expectations in check, and it also gives people peace of mind because they’ll know they’re not underpaid compared to their coworkers. 

If you really don’t want to include the offered salary in the advert itself, you can simply include a broader pay range and/or list important factors that will affect it. These factors can include previous experience, special skills, interview performance, and others.

1. Job prerequisites and expected duties

You can’t expect to get quality candidates without telling them what skills, experience, or general background they need to have. Make sure you clearly outline must-haves and nice-to-haves, as you want to minimise the number of unqualified applicants, but also don’t want to turn away people who might not have everything you’d like but would like the opportunity to learn.

Additionally, you want to set clear expectations about what the job will entail. This is especially true if some duties will fall out of the normally expected scope of the position. For example, will editors also be expected to write content? Will senior developers have to mentor juniors and participate in the vetting process? Candidates want to know what they’re getting into, so ensure you give them an overview of their duties.

1. Location and remote work options

It seems like a no-brainer, but candidates really need to know this. Don’t just list the county, make sure to include the city/town. Too long of a commute can be a deal-breaker for many candidates, while some would move heaven and earth to live close to their workplace. Others may be daunted by the travel costs and time, and offering to pay for their commute might be just what tips them over.

If telecommuting is an option, you definitely need to list that next to the location. Some prospective employees will just close the ad as soon as they see a location that’s not suitable for them. Don’t forget to list the specifics, such as is it going to be full-time remote work or will employees be expected to come to the office for a set number of days per week.

1. The interview process

A lot of people dread the multi-stage interview process and would like to know what the interview and hiring process entails. Note the format of the interview. How many interview rounds will there be? Will they be in person, or will an audio/video call be sufficient? Who will they talk to, and how will they be evaluated? If it’s an in-person or video call, the interviewee should know the dress code. Smart business attire is always advisable but some workplaces have different requirements or expectations.

Having a conversation with an HR specialist or a recruiter can be expected, but it may not necessarily be the case. Additionally, will they also have to talk to the team leader of the team they’re joining? To the CEO? List the titles of all the people who will be interviewing them. You should include a link to the company webpage so they can familiarise themselves with both the people they’ll talk to (if they have profiles there) and the company itself. What’s more, companies want to see that candidates did their research and will ask questions like “what do you know about us” or “is there anything you particularly like about our company.”

If there will be a test, make sure to mention it (even if you don’t want to share the specifics), just to give candidates a clearer picture of what to expect and how much time they’ll need to dedicate to the whole process.

Final thoughts

Writing a good job advert isn’t actually hard, but it does require some thought put into it. Being transparent is simply a must, and listing why your workplace stands out from the crowd is key to catching the eye of prospective employees.

Remember, candidates want to see enough detail about the position, but if you drown them in the information they consider irrelevant, they very likely won’t read through the entire job posting.

If you want applications from high-quality candidates, you need to write high-quality job adverts.

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