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How To Structure Your Job Advert So That It Works!

A job advert is often the first opportunity for you to attract the ideal employee. It is also likely to be the first time a candidate discovers about your business and therefore it is essential to create a good first impression. A good advert needs to promote the company properly as well as explain the qualities and skills etc. that will be expected from a successful candidate.

A good advert will generate relevant applicants giving the company a choice of ideal employees from which to select the most suitable. A poor advert will encourage irrelevant applications or often no applications at all. As adverts need to be short, concise and precise, this is a bit of an art form. It's the difference between writing a short story and writing a three minute pop song - every word counts and the way it comes across will be the difference between success and failure.

Whilst there's no magic formula with a three minute pop song, there are conventions in structure that listeners are already expecting. For example, most songs contain a catchy "hook", a repeated chorus, some verses, an intro, a bridge, a short solo or key change, and an ending (either a fade-out or a final chord). To be successful, a pop song needs to stand out but most will incorporate some of these structural features.

Similarly, there is a structure to most successful job adverts. In fact, every advert needs to include details about the job title, the remuneration package, work locations, some company information, the description about the job, and what exactly you are looking for from a successful applicant. One of the better ways to present this information in a strong and clear way is as follows:

Let's start with the job title. There is often a temptation to come up with something new and original to stand out but you need to consider applicant behaviour. An applicant will often be skimming a number of adverts to see if any are relevant to their skills. An obscure job title may be missed so you need to use the words that they are looking for! If Senior Business Development Executive is the recognised term in your industry, then you should use that terminology. You can always differentiate your role in the description. Just below the job title, we recommend that you mention the salary bracket and work location, as these will always be key decision factors for most candidates

Then you need a couple of lines detailing your business and the role that you are looking to fill. This is a short sales pitch on the benefits of working for your organisation.

This should be followed by a little information about the goals and objectives of the role. You want the right applicant to understand the contribution they will make within the business and alert them to future opportunities if successful in their initial role.

Candidates will want to know what the job entails on a daily basis and therefore detailing the responsibilities of the role can be detailed at this point. We suggest breaking these up into short paragraphs or bullet points so they can be quickly appraised by the reader.

Finally, in this section, you need to detail the requirements expected from the successful candidate. Usually this will detail qualifications and previous experience etc. and it's important to make it clear whether these are pre-requisite "deal breakers" or simply desirable unless the candidate can demonstrate other outstanding qualities. It's also a good place to list the softer skills required such as communication skills, teamwork or working on one's own initiative etc.

The last section should be about your company but positioned in terms of the benefits to the successful applicant. People enjoy working for companies that are well respected in their marketplace and also they are attracted companies that show that they value their employees so make sure you mention any health benefits and perks that they will enjoy.

Finally, let them know how to apply and what to include - CV and covering letter etc!

This may sound straightforward but actually creating a great job advert that attracts the right person AND qualifies out the irrelevant candidate is a key skill that usually requires experience and trial and error that can sometimes be costly in both expenditure and the lost opportunity cost of missing the better candidates.

Fortunately, at Jackie Kerr Recruitment, we do this task on an almost daily basis so we can help you get your job adverts right first time, so call us for a chat on 01793 762026 or email Jackie and her team at:


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