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Quick Guide to Writing a Job Ad
Writing a job ad is the first step toward getting the right candidates you want on your team. It starts with an evaluation of the position, an evaluation of the type of candidate who will fill that job and accomplish those tasks, and being able to creatively pull together a marketing piece of content that serves to attract the right kind of people.
First off, let’s make sure that we’ve distinguished the difference between a job ad and a job description. A job description is that technical document that so many businesses post on job boards. It’s dense with position-specific information, responsibilities, rules, requirements, blah bullet points, blah blah. Candidates apply to these whether they’re team players and have attention to detail skills or not. You know this.
Stop posting these!
A job ad, on the other hand, is an exciting and enthralling piece of content. It paints a picture of the company, the environment, the culture…it describes the role in a way where the candidate can imagine themselves in the role, taking on the challenges and responsibilities. It offers incentive and opportunities that excite and challenge the candidate.
What you post on job boards is is often the first impression a potential candidate has about your company. So picture this; you walk into a restaurant you’ve passed several times and wanted to try. As you walk in, it’s dark and takes a minute to adjust to the lighting. Once your vision returns, you notice a large roach darting across the floor.
Now picture walking into another restaurant you’ve passed by several times before and being greeted with the most appetizing smell from the kitchen, welcoming decor, comforting ambiance, and no visible roaches on premises.
So maybe writing a job ad isn’t as dramatic as the above example, BUT, throwing a job description out there for your future employees to see as their first blush with your company is doing as much disservice to you and your recruiting efforts as the roach is doing for that restaurant’s yelp review.
Okay, okay. So you get it. How do you write a job ad that candidates want to apply to?
Step 1: Identify the Position
You’ll rarely arrive at your intended destination without a good sense of direction or a map with directions. Understanding what you truly want in a new team member, out of the role, what objectives and responsibilities will be asked, what you expect from your candidate, and most importantly, how success will be measured, is the first step to creating a killer job advertisement that will wow potential applicants.
Where in your company is this position poised to contribute the most? What activities will this position be responsible for? What objectives do you need this position to accomplish in order to help your business grow and be more profitable? Most importantly, how will all of these activities be measured?
Step 2: Create Measurable Expectations
Creating a list of measurable expectations will help you accurately identify the position profile. It allows you to brainstorm what this job looks like when done successfully, and then allows you to organize these expectations in a way that sets the foundation for you to create a candidate profile of your ideal employee who will assume this role.
Step 3: Matching the Job Advertisement to Your Candidate Profile
Matching the job ad to the actual job is key. Your ad should include a cliff’s notes version of what is expected day-to-day on the job. So often in interviews we hear that candidates want to leave their current position in part because what they thought they would be responsible for couldn’t be farther from what they actually do each day. A good job ad tells the story of a dynamic role, its responsibilities, and the benchmarks by which a person in this role will be measured or held accountable.
Some Other Things to Consider
Is this a newly created position or an existing one? If it is existing, have you ever had someone successful in this role before? If so, what kinds of traits did they exhibit that made them successful? Can you translate these personal characteristics into something measurable or clearly define what these trait looks like on the job? You’re getting closer to creating the perfect job ad for your ideal candidate.
Now you just need to create your ideal candidate’s profile.
Job ads should cater and speak to the type of candidate you are looking to hire, so how can you even begin writing them before you truly understand what kind of candidate you are looking for?
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