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How to write job adverts that get more applications

Published by Marketing on

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could receive more job applications from people with the right skills, experience and personal qualities? Unfortunately, many HR Heads and Recruiters complain after receiving too few applications or too many applications from the wrong people. The conversation often starts “Indeed just sends me rubbish …” or “Job boards are a waste of money …”

So what is going wrong? Is the job board deficient, your job unattractive, or could there be something wrong with our advert? You might be surprised to hear that in most cases, the advert is to blame.

In this short blog, well learn how to write job adverts that get more applications of the right quality.

There are so many reasons why the right candidate won’t see your job advert, or read it when they do. Reasons include:

  • Your job board selection
  • How old the advert is
  • The job title you are using
  • Salary issues like omitting it, or headlining the wrong amount.
  • Location issues
  • The ‘wall of text’ job description
  • The “you must have” type of advert
  • Whether you Optimise your Job adverts

Let’s take a quick look at how your job advert is discovered and how jobseekers read then qualify your job.

First up …

People don’t read your job advert!

Really? True.

Direct feedback from jobseekers confirms that most don’t read your job adverts in full unless they’re convinced they should. They scan it for clues for relevance, just like you do with CVs.

As an employability expert, I have presented CV advice to groups of jobseekers. I tell them that the CV they have been slaving over for 6 months isn’t read by recruiters. They look shocked and instinctively disagree. When I tell them how they scan and avoid reading adverts, they generally laugh with embarrassment.

You’re reading the opening paragraph of a CV … “I’m a lovely person who can work alone or as part of a …”, yawn! Skip to most recent job title. “Working from home, 2018 to present” Does it fit? No. Skip to previous job title. Does that fit? Skip to far history. Anything matching here? Nope. Reject!

You read sections of a CV if you believe there is sufficient reason to do that. So do jobseekers with our advert. Now we know that jobseekers do what you do. It’s just that they spend longer writing their CV than you do writing your advert.

Now let’s cover some of the other points, like how jobseekers discover your job in the fist place.

Finding your job

Jobseekers often start with an internet search engine like Google. They find job boards by using search terms like “admin jobs in surrey” or “care worker jobs”. Alternatively, they head straight for indeed or another well-known job board.

Each job board has its own method for showing the most relevant jobs to jobseekers. Each job board has its own special algorithm and that often considers advert age, job location, job title and the number of times a job title is mentioned in the advert.

So, if you have a “Care Worker” job, make sure that the job title is repeated several times in the advert body. That should improve its chances of appearing in search results.

Reviewing your job

Jobseekers scan adverts for critical information. Before they read anything in detail, they want to know:

  • What the job is
  • Location
  • Salary

If there’s a fit, they may look for the following:

  • Required skills, experience and education
  • Responsibilities

If interested, they will consider:

  • Organisation type
  • Size of organisation
  • Personal prospects

The first line of your advert should clearly state what the job is. Don’t waste a valuable opportunity to grab their attention by giving a history of your organisation and why it’s great employer.

Make sure you split sections up with titles and bullet points to make scanning your job easier.

What, where and salary

Most job boards prefer you to give the plain job title as the title of the advert. Indeed is just one job board that complains if you include other details like location and salary. Read why your jobs aren’t appearing on Indeed if you want to know more.

Your mission is to get basic information into your job advert near the top. “We are looking for a senior PHP Developer to join a team of 5 other developers in our Maidenhead office …” would be a good first sentence.

To supplement this, write a headed remuneration section, giving the salary and benefits. A headed section makes it easy to find.

Responsibilities and Requirements

As jobseekers go on to qualify your job, they want to know what type of work they will be doing. They may try to understand how it helps them with skills or career development and whether the work will be interesting enough.

Bring the job to life so that people can visualise it. Don’t make the mistake of only listing the qualifications, skills and experience you need.

Write something about the organisation, its ambition and the potential influence of the role. Think about the scale of the opportunity, the level of autonomy and the impact you’re expecting from your new employee.

When you do list responsibilities, it’s a bad idea to infill with basics like ‘Write good quality PHP code’. The best potential applicants can qualify out because the brief sounds too junior.

In Conclusion

You can get more job applications by writing better adverts. Just recognise that there is a science to writing them. Yes, it’s more work and you might not be able to fix any recruiting barriers like your location or salary. But, making your adverts easier to find could help you reach more jobseekers. Making them easier to scan could develop more interest and more job applications.

Want to know more?

Stuart Haddow is the Product Director for CVMinder ATS. He has been a Board Member of successful Software Companies, a Recruitment Business owner, delivered CV masterclasses to senior executives and advisory classes to jobseekers.

CVMinder ATS is an award winning Applicant Tracking System for employers. It comes with an Advert Analyser to help you get more job applications.

Contact us now if you would to know more about job advertising or our Applicant Tracking System.


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