How to Write Job Ads Fit for Recruiting Talent in the Labor Shortage

Talent Acquisition

A job ad is an invitation to the application process at an organization. Often, it serves as an introduction to the company. Those who choose to read between the lines can pick up bits about both the job opening and the company’s values.

But the traditional job ad is stale, outdated, and not effective during this historic labor shortage. 

“Your recruitment process is only as strong as its weakest aspect, and for many employers that’s the job posting,” according to MoneyWise. “Many employers make job posting blunders without even knowing it. Then, they wonder why nobody applies.” 

READ: How Health Insurance Can Win the War for Talent

Some Human Resources experts have said that writing job ads today requires a new mindset about the entire application process. They are ripping up the old rule book and starting from scratch. 

After all, today’s job ads must be employee-centric. Previously, companies wrote job postings that explained the role and function of the position. It would include a list of required qualifications. There would be at least a tagline about the company. Now, companies have to tell potential applicants what’s in it for them, what they can gain from taking on such a role at this business. 

Discover what you must include in job ads today: 

Define “Job Ad”

One big mistake many people make is writing a mere job description rather than a job ad. While you want to make people aware of what the job opening would entail, you also need to entice people to apply. The word “ad” implies advertisement. The language and description should be easy to understand, but it should also highlight what makes this job exciting. Use an accurate and descriptive job title in the heading, but describe the value of the opportunity within the text. 

Sell the Job

Don’t just describe what the new hire will be doing. Sell it like you would a product. For example, you would write about how an editor “has the chance to help shape and share moving and informative stories with the company’s target audience,” rather than merely writing that an editor needs to “copyedit, manage deadlines, and assess traffic to stories.”

You should cover how the new hire will be able to grow in this position, and mention any learning and development opportunities taking the job might offer. 

“The most important step in creating a strong job posting is making sure candidates can identify what the job is, where it is, and whether it’s in their desired field,” according to Career Builder. “Once those basic facts are covered, it’s time to sell them on the opportunity and the company.”

Stress the Location

Include the location up front and close to the job title. You don’t want applicants who are unwilling to move or commute to your location. If the job is all remote or hybrid, express it in the job ad. Providing employees with flexibility is well regarded nowadays. And if there are people who really want to be in an office, they will opt out of applying. Location is a must-know for all applicants, so give it the proper visibility. 

Talk about the Positives

All anyone keeps saying is that employees are quitting because of low wages, poor benefits, lack of flexibility, and an overall feeling of being unappreciated. Address these issues head on in the job ad. Explain how the company prizes its workers. Talk about differentiators in your offerings. If there is a level of flexibility available for the new hire, then mention it. 

Think about the target audience. If this is for a more seasoned applicant, then focus on practical benefits and opportunities to grow. If it is for a more junior role, you might want to talk about social networking opportunities or the company’s culture of internal promotion or pursuit of social justice. The point is to share the details that will most resonate with the group you’re targeting. 

READ: Millennials Want Better Pay, Not Perks

Describe the Company Culture

Every company has its standard “About us” language. But the job ad should be more meaningful. You want to try and attract people who are a good match. Therefore, you should describe the culture and define the organization’s values. For a startup, for example, you might write, “We’re a group of innovators, who believe in the company’s mission and want to effect change of X, Y, and Z.”

Include Salary

The debate about whether to include salary in your job ad can be laid to rest. It should always be included. Now that applicants and employees have the upper hand, mentioning the salary is a must. Even before the pandemic and labor shortage, applicants wanted employers to show them the money up front. 

In 2018, SHRM found that 70% of professionals wanted to hear about salary in the first message from a recruiter. Money was the number one motivator for 67% of job seekers, according to a 2018 Glassdoor survey that was also reported by SHRM.

Sharing salary or salary range serves a few purposes. First, you eliminate people who want to be paid more than you can offer. Second, you prove your seriousness about hiring someone who is capable and worthy of such a salary. Third, you demonstrate your willingness to be transparent. Indeed, you begin to build trust with applicants and potential employees. 

READ: How to Avoid Common Problems with Employee Leave Management

Finally, you should have someone else take a look at the job ad before you post it. A second set of eyes can look for errors like typos. But he or she can also offer suggestions on how to clarify points and attract the right applicants. 

Olga Sanchez, Chief People Officer at GFR Services, suggests asking current employees to review job descriptions and to provide feedback on tone, language, and level of detail. She adds that HR should continue to discuss the job description and the promises in the job ad throughout onboarding. In that way, the job ad can be your north star, so you remember what you need to deliver and what the new hire needs to do. 

Photo by Linda Eller-Shein for Pexels

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