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Tips to help you write great job ads that attract qualified candidates
A compelling job ad can help your organization stand out in a crowded field and attract the most qualified candidates. It’s also a great way to highlight your mission and vision, your commitment to diversity and why your organization is a great place to work.
And while it should be juicy enough to captivate your audience at first glance—candidates spend on average only 14 seconds reviewing an ad before deciding whether to apply—it’s also important to keep it concise.
In fact, most hiring experts recommend keeping your job ad between 300 and 700 words. With this in mind, include only the most essential elements of the role, the truly must-have skills and, most importantly, what’s in it for the candidate. For example, how will they contribute to your company’s mission? What benefits and perks does your organization offer? How will you, the employer, contribute to their success? What kinds of growth opportunities are there?
Below are some of our top tips for writing compelling job ads.
Treat every job ad as an important marketing opportunity—a chance to toot your horn loud enough to attract the best and brightest.
To speed up your writing, while it’s tempting to use an existing job ad as a template or AI-based tools like ChatGPT to create a basic framework for your ad, to truly stand out, it’s best to keep it fresh. Take the time to write new content tailored to the actual role and describe why it would make a great career move for top candidates.
Keep in mind that since Google prioritizes unique content, your one-of-a-kind job ad will rank higher in Google searches than duplicate ads, especially if it includes plain-language titles (without abbreviations!) and top keywords for the role. In other words, search-engine-optimized (SEO) content.
Imagine yourself sitting at the computer about to search for your job. What job title are you searching for?
To help candidates find your ad, make sure you use the most common title for the role rather than inventing something exciting. For example, if you’re looking for a Social Media Specialist, avoid titles like Social Composer or Digital Storyteller.
Also, think of how the title applies to the role itself and what the person will actually be doing. For example, the title Client Support Administrator doesn't immediately tell the job seeker what the job is. It's better to use a recognizable job title like Customer Service Representative.
If you’re feeling stuck, ask yourself these questions before writing the job title:
Once you have a clear, SEO-friendly title, get specific about the type of person you’re looking for and what you’re expecting them to do.
Your goal is to find the best match—in the short time you have the candidate's attention—by making it easy for candidates to assess whether they have the right experience and an interest for the role.
To craft a role description and list of responsibilities, start with a clear vision of what the position will add to the company, what problems they’ll be expected to solve, and what their day-to-day duties will include.
Keep the following questions in mind when writing:
Once you've gone through these questions, begin writing with your answers in mind.
When writing your job ad, you’ll likely have a candidate with specific hard skills (also known as technical skills) in mind. These skills—like demonstrated experience in data analysis, email marketing, human resources, project management and more—are essential, but they aren’t the only thing you should be looking for.
Our advice is to take a step back and think beyond technical skills to the human qualities (also known as soft skills), that will help a candidate be successful in this role and in your workplace. Traits like problem-solving, adaptability, collaboration, ability to communicate clearly and time management are harder to teach than technical skills and can be a boost to your workplace beyond the day-to-day duties of the role.
These skills contribute to who we are as individuals beyond our experience and qualifications. They can add to your team culture, lead to better client relationships and introduce new ways of thinking to your workplace.
Often, soft skills will help you decide between two candidates with similar qualifications, someone who will be a great match and potentially fill in some gaps on your team. Our advice? Don’t skip this detail when writing your job ad.
To get more insights on why human skills are so important at work, read this blog by our CEO, Kathryn Tremblay.
Give potential candidates a reason to choose your workplace over other employers vying for top talent. The role description and responsibilities highlight what you’re looking for, but how can they determine whether your organization is what they’re looking for? A short company profile—essentially your organization’s elevator pitch—will help candidates get excited about the idea of joining your team.
To get an idea of what to include, ask yourself (and a few members of your team!) these questions:
Once you have your answers, start writing your company profile using the topics below as a guide:
To finish this section off, demonstrate that you walk the talk by mentioning any awards or recognition your organization has received for workplace culture or diversity and inclusion efforts.
If writing an effective job ad was like baking a cake, the perks and benefits would be the icing on top. They sweeten the deal for top talent who are considering your organization as their next employer.
Start by highlighting some top items from your total rewards package. Depending on what your organization offers, these could include:
Since many companies will have similar total rewards offerings, you may want to highlight benefits that go above and beyond and connect back to your workplace culture. For example:
If your company offers any other unique perks that will set you apart like pet-friendly offices, wellness programs, or free snacks, don't forget to mention them.
While it’s becoming a more common practice to include salary information, what works for someone else’s organization may not necessarily work for yours. Some workplaces choose to exclude this information to ensure they can adapt to changing market conditions, adjust the compensation to match a candidate’s experience and, in some cases, maintain a competitive advantage.
However, on the plus side, being transparent about salary from the start can attract candidates, lead to better candidate matches, set the stage for open conversations about compensation, increase equity—particularly for underrepresented groups—attract a wider pool of candidates and improve your organization’s image with jobseekers.
If you’re not sure about what approach would be best for your team, our staffing experts can help.
By taking steps to ensure your ad is inclusive, you’ll attract highly qualified, diverse candidates who bring a range of in-demand skillsets to the table.
Here are four considerations to ensure your job ad isn’t leaving anyone behind:
Transparency is the cornerstone of a solid candidate experience.
Since jobseekers often apply to dozens of opportunities, they’ll appreciate knowing what to anticipate in terms of timing and processes. Posting this kind of detail can also help employers and hiring managers streamline candidates who agree to these terms.
Consider these questions:
While you want to sell your company as a great place to work, you also want to find the best match and reduce "buyer's remorse"—turnover in the first year of employment. When writing your posting, be upfront about the responsibilities and challenges of the role, the career growth opportunities available and your corporate culture.
Now that you’re ready to start writing your job ad, use our free template below to get started.
Opening paragraph (4-6 sentences)
Roles and responsibilities (7-9 bullets for standard roles, 10-11 for technical roles)
Qualifications and skills (3-5 bullets)
Education (1-2 bullets)
Perks and benefits (2-4 bullets)