4 Ingredients for a Better Job Ad

If you are hiring for tough-to-fill positions and not getting the number of applications you’d like, or are not retaining those you hire, your job posting could be to blame. Making a few changes to the focus of your job ad could attract and keep better applicants, as found in a recent study.

The study, titled “Does Emphasizing Different Types of Person–Environment Fit in Online Job Ads Influence Application Behavior and Applicant Quality? Evidence from a Field Experiment,” is set to be published in the Journal of Business and Psychology. It was based on data from 991 applicants who responded to 56 ads for engineering and project management-based positions.

From the results of this study we’ve pulled four specific elements for your job postings to help attract and retain candidates. Implementing these strategies has shown to make job ads more compelling for in-demand candidates.

  1. Focus on what you can offer the applicant, not what you are looking for from the applicant. For jobs with a small pool of candidates, you need to write the posting in a way that most appeals to those with the luxury of job choice. Candidates can afford to be selective, so focusing on what your company can do to make the job special will appeal more than listing the job requirements.
  2. Similarly, mention something unique you can offer for that field of work. Why would an engineering position at your company be different and better than somewhere else? Is it the location, the culture, the job challenges?
  3. Keep the posting simple. Instead of focusing on the company as a whole, pay more attention to the specific role, without the overwhelming details. Simplicity keeps the job ad clear and concise, while too much verbiage may cause job seekers to stop reading or lose interest. Speaking directly to the candidate will attract more interest than general descriptions. What are your ideal candidates most interested in for this position?
  4. Be honest. The job description and interview give a candidate and new hire a certain expectation of what the company or job will be like. If this turns out to be false, they will be less satisfied and more likely to leave. Job seekers can easily do their own research on a company, such as through LinkedIn or Glassdoor, and will appreciate transparency from a company. Candidates who know that demand for their skills are high will be more likely to research the company and make sure that it is somewhere they want to work. Giving a false impression of your company in a job ad will be a huge turn-off for these candidates.

Further reading on this study can be found at hreonline.com