Recruitment Marketing

How to Write an Effective Job Posting Ad

Aug 26, 2021 - Cat DiStasio

The job posting ad is the first thing many candidates see from a potential employer, and how it’s written can convince them to apply right away or make them run screaming. Crafting a successful job ad isn’t difficult, but it’s something many employers get wrong. You can ensure you’re making the best first impression by learning how to write effective job posting ads that attract the candidates your organization wants to meet.

One of the key mistakes employers make is thinking that a job posting ad is simply a copy-and-paste job from your internal job description. Like any form of advertising, it takes a little more than a list of features and specs to sell your opportunities to job seekers. You need to write job ads that grab a candidate’s attention and make them curious to learn more, so that when they see your posting on your career hub, job search sites, or on social media, they will feel motivated to engage with your organization. Whether you list your job posting ads on free platforms (i.e. social media), with local organizations, or you opt to pay for a premium listing on one of the large career sites (Monster, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, et al), you want to make sure your content is intentional, thoughtful, and addresses the questions and concerns of your target candidates.

The good news is that you can start with a strong job posting template, which you can repurpose for every opening your team hires for. You may create a single template to use across your organization, or separate templates customized for different departments, teams, or roles. Whatever you choose, understand that your job posting template is not “set it and forget it.” All employers need to review job posting ads on a regular basis, especially now during a time when job seekers have an increased focus on diversity, inclusive language, and work location.

Anatomy of a Job Posting Ad

Every effective job posting ad has some things in common—components that you should always include, regardless of how many people you need to hire or what type of position it is.

1. Title.

The title of your job posting ad should be specific and descriptive of the job skills/function. In many cases, copying and pasting the position title isn’t ideal, because it may not convey enough detail for your ideal candidates to recognize themselves in it. For instance, if you’re hiring a Software Engineer, that isn’t enough information to entice most candidates. A better job posting title might be “C#/.NET Software Engineer (full-time/remote OK).” A title like this makes it easier for candidates to quickly determine whether they might be a fit, before they even click on your ad. Your hiring managers can help you identify the best skills to include in a job posting ad to attract the types of candidates they want to interview.

2. Description.

In the description portion of your job posting ad, you want to focus on what the person in this position will actually do on a day-to-day basis, rather than the list of tasks and requirements you may have in your internal job description. This section of the job ad should get the right candidates excited about your opportunity and seeing themselves in the position. You want them thinking “That’s me!” Here, your hiring managers can help, but your best resource may be the people currently working in this position.

3. Benefits and perks.

LinkedIn research shows candidates always look for this info so it’s good to include it, and you may even want to list it near the top, possibly even before the position description.

4. Must-have requirements

Keep this list brief and only include truly necessary items, such as citizenship, location (for on-site positions) or certifications. You can include a list of “nice to have” qualifications, but make sure those are separate from the requirements and clearly labeled.

5. Application instructions. 

List how job seekers should apply and include a link to your online application or careers hub if you have one. Or, if you really want to make a great impression, forgo the application and invite job seekers to attend a virtual career fair so they can connect with a recruiter or hiring manager to learn more about your opportunity.

Watch Your Language

When writing job posting ads, it’s crucial to keep the language focused on the actual skills and abilities necessary to perform the job functions. This can help you attract more qualified candidates, without excluding people based on characteristics other than their abilities. Learn about inclusive language and review drafts of job ads at multiple stages to ensure you’re on target.

Leaning into inclusive language is essential but many employers are going a step further and including diversity and inclusion commitment statements in their job posting ads. Since most (70%) of job seekers consider an organization’s commitment to diversity before applying, this can help you get more candidates to engage with you.

Use the Buddy System

Have someone else (another recruiter, a hiring manager, etc) review your job ad before you unleash it into the world. An ideal best practice would be to have at least two other team members review each job ad before it’s published and put into rotation. And remember what we said earlier about ‘set it and forget it.’ You need to review job posting ads periodically to ensure they accurately reflect your employer brand and are designed to attract the candidates you want. Create a schedule for reviewing all job ads on a regular basis. This might be quarterly or annually, depending on your volume of hires and how rapidly candidate attitudes are shifting in your industry.

Great Job Ads are Worth their Weight in Gold

It won’t take a lot of time or cost a lot of money to write an effective job posting ad template that your organization can repurpose across departments and positions. A well-crafted job posting ad is worth its weight in gold, though. They can strengthen your employer brand, attract better (and more) candidates, speed up the hiring process (because you’ll have better talent options to choose from), and improve the candidate experience. With so many benefits for such a small lift, every recruiting team should make it a priority to create a job posting ad template that does some of the work for you.

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