How to write more effective recruitment adverts

By: Darren Leighfield

Date: 18 February 2011

Writing recruitment adverts needn’t be a chore and, if done well, it can transform your response, generate strong interest and attract good candidates.

Think first. Focus on what you’re trying to achieve – attract the right person for the requirements of the role. If you’re to do that, you must attract the attention of the target audience, tell them what they need to know and persuading them to reply. Make sure you have a clear idea of your target audience and how your advert will reach them.

If necessary – carry out some basic research. Maybe the salary you’re offering is a bit low – or too high. Before you can write your advert you also need to carefully consider the contribution the role needs to make to your business. Only then can you set out the skills, knowledge and experience you seek.

You must get the tone of your advert right. Formal language will work best for certain roles, while in others it might put candidates off. Even if you opt for a formal tone, remember – you’re communicating with human beings. Keep it friendly, almost as if you were having a conversation with the reader.

Good candidates won’t want to read the same dull, old lines they’ve read in a thousand and one other job adverts. Quickly they must be able to recognise (or not) their suitability for the role and the benefits this will bring to them.

Try and be creative. I admit it’s easier said than done. Try and say something that other adverts don’t. Perhaps you’re offering a brand new role or unique opportunity in a new market. Find a unique selling point for the role and do a good job of selling your business to readers.

Get the structure of your advertisement right. There’s an accepted structure; one that readers know, recognise, trust and expect. You include something about your business; something about the job; something about the person you’re looking for; and something about the benefits. You’ve also got to tell people how you want them to respond (ie by letter or email?) and what the deadline is.

Also make sure you include an attention-grabbing title. Throughout your copy, avoid clichés, business speak and jargon. Keep the language simple and to the point. When finished, use your spell check, because any errors will reflect badly on your business. Get someone else to read through the copy, just to make sure there are no mistakes and that all key information is included. Good luck.

Darren Leighfield, Director at EtcEtc Ltd