The Simple Equation to Writing a Winning Job Ad

From video to voices, everyone is trying to secure a modicum of attention on the busy Internet. As a business-owner and/or manager, that means your job postings must be in top form to seal the deal. Fortunately for you, a well-established understanding of human behavior has made writing great postings possible and will turn an otherwise frustrating task into an understandable process.

For those familiar with sales or marketing, this formula will likely look familiar. This job description format, based on the AIDA concept (attention, interest, desire, action) and with a little accommodation for job ads in particular, is an approach that looks at employee recruitment in its essence: as a process of selling an occupation, culture, and mentality to discerning candidates.

Grab Their Attention

The Internet is an expansive place, saturated with myriad outlets, pieces of content, and requests all vying for attention.  In an ecosystem of this nature, it’s easy for even the best posts to go completely ignored. Therefore, the first challenge for your business involves cutting through the noise and ensuring that your posting reaches a pool of attractive potential candidates.

The simplest way to accomplish this is through verbal clarity. Online job boards pelt eager eyes with hundreds of potential matches, forcing job-seekers to make quick judgments. If your post is, for whatever reason, confusing, unclear, or unappealing, discerning minds will quickly file it away as irrelevant.

Focus on making stand-out job titles that eschew pandering for a clear description. If you’re offering management positions at your business, a headline such as “START IN MANAGEMENT, NO DEGREE NEEDED, APPLY NOW” is likely to be treated with the same respect as “miracle” diet cures. Instead, favor something more demure but effectively succinct. “Day-Time Shift Manager, Starbucks Coffee” makes the company, hours, and position clear, which is enough information for curious job-seekers to make a positive evaluation quickly.

Build Interest

With their attention in hand, the next task is to build interest with your posting and if you’ve ever browsed a job search board, then you know precisely what this should not look like. Rote listing of job responsibilities and expectations are abundant in typical job descriptions, but they’re effectiveness is demonstrably limited. While this method does communicate what your organization expects, it fails to focus on the person applying and places all emphasis on the less enticing aspects of the job.

Instead of focusing on tasks first, list factors that directly benefit the job-seeker. Flexible hours, friendly workplace environment, commensurate compensation, and potential for advancement are all items that take an otherwise banal job posting and make it attractive in a real way. “Must sweep floors, take out garbage, and clean freezers,” is a far less enticing description than “you will contribute to the presentation and cleanliness of our beautiful workplace.” The former provides an arduous scenario, while the latter provides an involved and beneficial opportunity to shine.

Visual Clarity

Words are not the only element of a job posting deserving of consideration. Online postings pass through a combination of filters: first visual, then verbal. For this reason, creating a posting that’s as visually attractive as the descriptions your proffer is crucial to winning the favor of discerning eyes.

Observe the basic principles of visual design. Keep the page layout and graphics simple and readable, avoid color combinations that are difficult to read, and focus on visual clarity above all else. Avoid fonts that are difficult to read (the simpler the better), italics, and sizes that are either too big or too small. Bulleted lists are easier for scanning eyes to understand while bolded headers help guide the eye down the page. Exercise these simple principles and your words will reach readers to much greater effect.

Appear Desirable

With a clear and attractive message regarding the job itself, the next step lies in building a context in which applicants can see themselves succeeding. Your goal, in doing so, is to effectively convince them that this is an opportunity they can’t afford not to apply for.

Highlight workplace elements that will affect them on a day-to-day basis. Items like hours, culture, corporate mentality, and compensation all paint a picture that applicants will carry in mind throughout the hiring process. Whatever your location, amenities, and mission statement may be, work to build confidence that a résumé sent to your company is an investment in their future and their well-being.

Facilitate Action

Finally, put rubber to the road and give those viewing your posting a clear idea of what to do next. Whether it’s an email address, a submission button, or a phone number, make this information clear and identifiable at the end of the posting so that they know how to capitalize on your offer. By facilitating this transition step in the process, you invite enthusiastic applicants into the fold for further discussion, and avoid losing attractive applicants to the ever-moving whims of their modern, limited attention spans.

Building a strong team means recruiting effectively, and while that may seem challenging, this simple process will put you on solid footing as job-seekers scour the web. Grab their attention with a concise headline and build interest by focusing on the person, not the job. Communicate your message clearly with good web design principles and build desire by depicting a workplace that anyone would want to be a part of. Finish off with a call-to-action and your candidate pool will grow in both size and quality; a win-win for managers and existing staff.

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