The Best Way to Craft a Job Ad (That Won’t Turn Off Job Seekers)

We’ve all read job advertisements like this one (this is a real ad, changed slightly to protect the innocent):

ORDER ENTRY: This second shift position requires the ability to enter orders into a database. The desired candidate will be able to enter very detailed orders quickly and accurately. $8.50 per hour.  

Wow. That sounds like a really fun job — straight out of a Charles Dickens story.

Seriously, this company may be a really great place to work. You could be working with some of the nicest folks around, and the company may offer fantastic benefits. But you wouldn’t know it from the uninspiring job ad.

Now, you could luck out and receive plenty of responses with an ad like that. But if you really want the best candidates to come forward for the job, you need to sell it.

You may be thinking, “Well, they’re the ones who need the job. They should be happy to apply for this position.”

But wouldn’t you rather attract the type of candidate who knows a good thing when they see it? Who is excited about his/her prospects and wants to find the best fit for his/her talents?

Let’s see if I can improve on the ad above.

Are you a fast thinker? Do you pride yourself on accuracy? We’re hiring an experienced Order Entry Associate to join our fast-growing team at XYZ Company. As one of the leading widget manufacturers in the country, we’re growing so quickly that we can’t keep up with all the orders. The Order Entry Associate position starts at $8.50 per hour, with regular merit increases and performance bonuses based on speed and accuracy. We offer a full range of benefits, including 100% company-paid health insurance, paid vacation, and gym privileges. Please send your resume to: John Smith at jsmith@xyzcompany.com.

See how this generates a little more excitement? It sounds like the XYZ Widget Company is really going places. There’s a sense of urgency, as if the Order Entry Associate is the missing link. All the perks listed make the company sound more attractive. This ad makes the candidate feel wanted, and may attract plenty of qualified candidates.

Here are some more tips to help you write an attractive job ad.

  • What problem can your ideal candidate help solve? Help potential candidates see themselves succeeding already.
  • Why is your company a great place to work? Are you rated one of the most family-friendly businesses in your state? Are you right in the heart of a vibrant community? Paint a picture for the candidate.
  • Think about what the candidate might find important. Do you offer a fast-paced environment? Are there opportunities for advancement? Do you offer flex-time or other benefits?
  • Mention a few attributes that you are looking for so that the ideal candidate will find herself in the description, and say “that sounds like me.”
  • Include the salary or a salary range. While it may not be your preference, you might as well just talk about money up front, and not waste anyone’s time.
  • Make your ad attractive. If it’s hard to read, your ideal candidate may miss it altogether. Industry jargon may weed out the people you don’t want to apply, but it can make you look pompous.
  • Make sure you carefully check your own spelling for errors, and read it aloud to catch potentially embarrassing mistakes.
  • Finally, ask yourself: Does this ad represent my company well? Would I want to answer this ad?

Do you have any suggested tips for writing an attractive job ad? Share in the comments!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Victor1558

Mike KappelAbout the Author: Mike Kappel is the president of Patriot Software, Inc., developer of online small business software. After graduating from Ohio University with a degree in engineering, he has been a serial entrepreneur, founding five successful companies in the last 25 years which are still in business today.