Guidelines: what ought to be in a job advert?

Originally written by Aaron Hurst on Small Business

When you have a clear idea of what job you need doing and what sort of person you would like to fill the job, it’s time to advertise the post.

The main ways you can tell job hunters about the job on offer are:

  • By advertising direct, online or in newspapers or magazines
  • Through recruitment agencies and consultants
  • Through friends, existing employees and business contacts
  • By recruiting direct from educational institutions

That said, it’s advisable to use more than one method to fill a job as it will widen the field. Make sure you advertise in places where your potential candidates. For example, if you’re recruiting for a role in digital, candidates are less likely to see the advert in the newspaper.

What should I be putting in my job advert?

Here’s a quick checklist of what you should be including in your job adverts.

• Company name: put in the name and logo, if you have one

• Job title: use a title or description which will mean something to a stranger

• Pay: state what salary can be expected. Job hunters interpret phrases like ‘salary negotiable’ as meaning a low salary

• Place: state where the job is. If you are not offering moving expenses, this is very important. In any case, people like to know what the environment of the job is

• The work: describe the work to be done and say what authority the job has

• The company: state what your company does and what size it is. Avoid clichés about dynamism, fast-growing and so on; all companies use them

• The person: state your requirements, such as experience needed, qualifications, age and other personal qualities

• How to apply: name the person to write to, not just the job title. Tell the job hunter how you want them to give details of experience and qualifications – for example, send in brief CV, apply for application form and so on

• When to apply: give a closing date for applications, if possible allowing two to three weeks from the appearance of the ad

• The law: check your ad is not breaking the sex, race, disability, religious belief or sexual orientation discrimination laws. And make sure the information is accurate, as the ad may form part of the contract between you and your new employee.

What else do I need to know about hiring through job adverts?

We caught up with Paul Farrer, chairman of Hubbul, to find out more about creating and posting job ads.

What common mistakes do employers make in job ads and how can they avoid these?

Some job adverts do not share enough about the role, and others fail to keep them short and sweet. As a rule of thumb, aim for an approximate of 200-300 words to get straight to the point while keeping it exciting.

Grammar and spelling are an absolute priority to get right. Employers simply cannot send out a job advert without checking it thrice. A misspelled job advert can give you a very clumsy reputation, putting off some really great candidates who might have otherwise applied.

If you don’t attract attention to your job advert, you’re simply losing out. You will need to create conversation or use marketing to support their results. Promote the job ad on company social media accounts, talk to people via email, mention the job in your monthly newsletter and so on, sending candidates directly to the advert and how to apply if they’re interested.

If you are concerned about Diversity & Inclusion you also need to take care in the words you use to ensure they are not biased towards or against a specific group of people.

Is it ever OK not to state the salary?

Some clients may suggest that they want to keep the salary ‘open’ as to not restrict applicants that may require a salary outside of that range. However, this is not something that we advise. We encourage small businesses to always state the salary as they play two important parts in who sees the ad.

The first is to do with search engines and job boards. Whether the advert is listed on Google or LinkedIn, they all use salaries as a way to filter jobs. Without this field, the advert may not be visible to the right candidate. And so, employers have in fact limited who can see their advert.

The second reason is that a salary sets up the expectation for the job. A junior salary compared with a directors’ salary will usually be worlds apart. In order to reflect a more impactful, experienced role, they should represent that it is worth that much more too. Without a salary, people with different levels of experience may apply for the role, making the hirers job difficult to sort through irrelevant applications.

What benefits are most attractive to prospective employees?

Pre-COVID-19: the number of employee benefits have increased over the last decade to suit a candidate-focused market with a likelihood to move jobs more frequently than ever before. In our 2019 Workplace Trends report, We are Aspire surveyed employees to see why they would move on from their role in order to consider the benefits needed to encourage them to stay. The results are outlined in the graph below.

Source: We Are Aspire

The report uses this to highlight how employers can retain their staff by offering a good work-life balance, a recognition programme, training and mentoring opportunities, collaborative working and a social responsibility.

Among these, the most favoured benefit was working from home. At the time, employers were likely to offer this as 63 per cent of employers surveyed were already enabling working from home benefits.

Now in a COVID-19 era, We Are Aspire analysed how emotions towards working from home had changed. In their Post-COVID survey (June 2020), 96 per cent were working from home and yet two thirds of these were finding it difficult. Other issues for employees included childcare commitments, IT and workspace, lack of work or emotional/people related. This reveals that a Post-COVID-19 workforce requires a different set of benefits.

Pre-COVID-19, candidates had the upper hand. Since then, the job market has flipped rapidly with fewer jobs available, thousands unemployed and the working population over-worked and restricted.

Based on how employees were coping, and to ensure they feel safe and happy at work, it is now suggested that employers provide the following:

  • Increased holidays or flexible working hours
  • Access to safe, functional workspaces
  • Frequent employee recognition
  • Greater emotional and physical wellbeing initiatives

Read more

What’s the right way to go about advertising jobs for my small business?

Checklist: what should be in a job advert?

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