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Writing Winning Job Ads to Attract the Best Talent: How-To Guide

Writing Winning Job Ads to Attract the Best Talent: How-To Guide

Hunting for a new job is stressful. Not only do applicants have to find a job that inspires them, but they also have to find one where they have the right skills and qualifications. And they also need to want it enough to go through the time-consuming application process.

Finding new talent is equally stress-inducing—even more so in today’s climate. Following the pandemic, people are re-evaluating what they want from work. So many are leaving their jobs voluntarily that it has been dubbed a ‘mass exodus’.

Talent shortages mean that the ball now seems to be very much in the court of employees rather than companies. And so, attracting the right candidate for the job is harder than ever.

The first step in getting the best and brightest person to join your team?

An expertly written job posting.

In general, when it comes to recruitment copywriting, you’ll want to follow the steps of the classic AIDA marketing funnel: attention, interest, desire, and action.

  • First, you need to get your reader’s attention and get them to click.
  • Then you need to sustain their attention long enough to get them to read the whole post.
  • Next, you need to generate enough desire for them to get ready to
  • The final step is action. In this case, applying for the job.

So how does a time-pressed hiring manager write a job posting that stands out in a sea of job ads? One that gets people excited and keeps them reading? One that creates enthusiasm and gets candidates inspired enough to apply?

9 Tips for Writing Stand-Out Job Postings

1.    Nail Your Opening Hook

This is key to succeeding at the first stage of the sales funnel: attracting interest. Hone your opening line and you’re much more likely to get eyes on your job ad. And that means a greater chance of conversions.

So how do you create a compelling introduction? A great recruitment copywriter will get straight to the most important information. Why is this an exciting position? What makes it unique or special? What are the major perks? Think about the aspects of the job that are really going to make their day-to-day enjoyable.

Or consider opening with a question i.e. Ready for something totally different? or Looking for a job that gives you much-welcome flexibility?

Another interesting way to begin is by telling a story, asking the reader to Imagine a 9-5 that…

2.    Prioritise Clarity

A job description should make it crystal clear what the role entails.

This means not only explaining all the responsibilities and requirements but doing so in jargon-free and everyday language. Too many job descriptions talk vaguely about wanting candidates with great organizational skills or talented communicators. What does this actually mean? Can you give concrete examples?

Some job postings are also guilty of trying to spice up a job title to stand out from competitors with phrases such as marketing wizard or programming ninja. But this creates a lack of clarity about what the job actually involves. What’s more, you won’t rank as highly in the search engine results.

Try to get the right balance between succinct and simple vs. rambling and wordy. You want to keep people’s attention but don’t want them to be left with any questions.

Basic information that you should always include:

  • Essential responsibilities
  • Purpose of the role i.e., what goals is this person expected to help you meet?
  • Qualifications and necessary experience
  • Whether or not this is a new role
  • Who they’ll be working with

Remember that a job post isn’t the same as a job description. The latter is for internal purposes so that managers or employees know what a particular role entails so they can evaluate performances or meet demand. It doesn’t need to be particularly exciting—just clear and informative.

But a job advert is designed to be persuasive and appealing, attracting candidates to take action.

3.    Think of it Like a Sales Pitch

Following the pandemic, and with an ongoing labour shortage, it’s a candidate’s market. Many potential applicants will ask “what’s in it for me?” So, your job posting needs to sell your company and the advertised role.

Any copywriter in recruitment or otherwise will tell you that the most persuasive sales copy addresses your target reader’s pain points. Write your content with their problems and questions in mind and you’ll be far more likely to convince them.

The same goes for writing a job post. Who’s your ideal candidate? What are their career goals? What are they looking for in a company? Create a job description that corresponds to these answers and you stand a good chance of attracting the right candidate.

Then you want to make the idea of working for your company and joining your team as compelling as possible. So, make sure to include any stand-out reasons to choose your company over competitors, such as benefits like a gym membership, office comforts like on-site caterers, or any specialized software that you can offer. Place these perks at the top of the job description to get people intrigued and eager to learn more.

Other persuasive details include high employee satisfaction scores, flexible hours, exciting mission statements, and opportunities for career growth.

4.    Get the Right Tone

Too many job postings rattle off a long list of responsibilities and requirements as though the company couldn’t care less whether you join or not. It’s generic and forgettable. There’s no excitement, enthusiasm, or even friendliness.

To get the best candidates, a recruitment copywriter needs to craft a job posting that feels inspiring. Rather than making it sound like they would be lucky to even be considered, make it clear you want them on your team. The tone should be one of empathy and consideration, upbeat and welcoming. Readers will assume that if the writing is fun and motivating, the workplace will be too.

Addressing the reader directly with “you” rather than “the right candidate” helps the reader imagine themselves in the role and ensure there’s no unintentional bias by referring to the candidate as “he” or “she”.

You can also make your post less impersonal by adding a human element with quotes or stories from real employees. Photos can also help to make it feel less intimidating.

5.    Rephrase the Boring Stuff

All jobs involve some tedious day-to-day activities that few people find inspiring. But by reformulating these things and including some persuasive power words, you’ll sustain reader interest and reduce the bounce rate.

For example, does the job entail receptionist duties? Talk about the candidate making a great first impression on our roster of important clients.

Is this a customer service role? Then they’re not just dealing with complaints; they’re developing emotional intelligence and problem-solving skills.

If you’re struggling to make a task sound more interesting, focus on what it accomplishes. For example, instead of just writing about creating window displays for shop fronts, talk about boosting customer walk-in rates.

Similarly, you can rephrase things that might put people off to make them sound more positive. Demanding workloads can be described as stretching or exacting. Stressful environments can be described as energizing.

6.    Talk About Company Culture

Sometimes a candidate can have all the right qualifications and experience but not be the quite right ‘fit’ for the job. Talking about company culture is important to make sure those candidates who do apply are people you can imagine being part of your team.

The same goes for candidates. 64.7% of job seekers say that not knowing, or disagreeing with, a company’s mission, values or purpose is a deal-breaker when considering a future employer.

So, make sure you include your company mission—one or two sentences on what you aim to achieve as a company—as well as values, which are the qualities you believe in and prioritise, such as respect and equality, growth, transparency, or diversity.

You might also want to paint a picture of the workplace itself. What does a day look like in your office? Do people wear casual or smart clothes? Do they socialize outside of office hours? Do you have team-building days? Regular brainstorming sessions?

Talking about the main personality traits of your team is another good way for readers to determine whether or not they’d be a good match for the role. For example, are employees collaborative and outgoing? Or more autonomous decision-makers?

Communicating that you are an inclusive workplace is obviously essential. One easy way to ensure your job ad isn’t biased towards any one group, whether it’s male or female, young or old, is to use textmetrics.com, a platform that scans your text checking for unconscious biases in your language and suggests improvements. For example, terms like fearless, rockstar, or superhero are all considered to have a masculine bias.

7.    Make it Scannable

Bullet point lists are essential in every job posting. Jobseekers don’t have much time. The average reader will spend just 14 seconds before they decide whether or not to apply. They want to get to the nitty-gritty ASAP. So, make it easy for them.

Present responsibilities as one bullet list and qualifications as another. Highlight in bold the most important information.

You might also consider including a summary at the top of the post—a sort of ‘TL;DR’ or a bullet list of the key information.

Compelling Copy for the Best Candidates: A Conclusion

Describe the job accurately and in a way that engages people, and you’ll get high-quality applications from candidates who are genuinely a good fit for the job.

Describe the job poorly and in an unexciting way? At worst, you’ll get just a handful of applicants. And at best, you’ll get applications from people who are totally inappropriate. And with new recruits costing companies on average £3,000 each, according to The Undercover Recruiter, this isn’t something you want to be doing more than necessary.

Looking to reap the rewards of the perfect job advertisement? Call on the services of our expert recruitment copywriters. We’ll save you time and money finding the top talent.

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