What’s the difference between a job description and a job advert?
No, this isn’t the beginning of a cheesy dad joke! A job description and a job ad are not the same. They don’t have the same function. They don’t have the same content. They don’t have the same goal. I’ve talked in more detail about job descriptions here.
In case you hadn’t noticed, almost everyone is hiring right now. Job adverts are every third post on LinkedIn. Posters in every shop window, job boards bursting at the seams, and recruitment companies raking in the roles.
But despite that, no one has adjusted their approach to advertising jobs. Job adverts still read like a very long list of requirements for the candidate, without any attempt at showing why a candidate might choose to work for the company.
It’s 2021 and the roles have reversed. Candidates can take their pick of jobs – if you have a job opening, you need to work hard to sell your company and stand out from the crowd. And your job advert is your first opportunity to do that.
Nonetheless, recruiters are continually making the mistake of posting their detailed job descriptions out in place of an engaging, snappy advert that captures the attention and imagination of potential applicants.
Job adverts need to grab attention
Job descriptions tell. Job adverts sell. The role of your job ad is to sell the vacancy. And just as with any other sort of advert, you’ve got about 3 seconds to grab the attention of the reader.
A long shopping list of your requirements isn’t going to be particularly engaging for anyone. Nor is starting with the line “I’m currently recruiting for an exciting role in…”
Cut down your requirements to the absolute minimum, and instead choose an attention grabbing opener and an eye catching image.
Focus on the benefits
In a candidate driven market it is more important than ever to lead with your benefits. Highlight all the best bits of the job. If the role comes with loads of great training and educational opportunities, make sure you focus on that. If the company is one that regularly promotes from within, make that the central selling point of your advert. If you have great wellbeing benefits, make your advert sing employee wellbeing!
As you read through your job ad, ask yourself “Why would anyone want to apply for this job? Why would they want to work for me?” If your advert doesn’t answer those questions, go back and make sure it does.
Short and sweet! Keep your job adverts snappy and interesting.
Tell your applicants a story – help them to imagine what life will be like once they have their new job.
Don’t use jargon or unnecessarily complex language.
Make it easy to read. Make it enjoyable to read!
Simple as that.
It's not all about you!
If you’re trying to help people imagine themselves in the role, you have to paint them a picture where they are the starring role. Talk about the candidate as much as you possible can. Don’t talk about what you need, talk about what they will bring. Instead of listing skills and experience in the third person, describe your ideal candidate:
“You’ll have experience in leading and motivating teams across a range of disciplines.”
Instead of telling people what the job entails, tell them what they’ll be doing day to day:
“No two days will be the same in your new role. Sometimes you’ll be meeting with your clients and updating them on the project progress, sometimes you’ll be on-site, helping to solve problems.”
Find the 'why'
Just describing the role isn’t enough. You can do that in your job description, but that’s not what a job advert is fore. Your ad is there to capture imagination, to help people find their ‘why’.
Think about it. If McDonalds ran ads describing their food, no one would choose to eat there. But if you pay attention to the content of McDonalds’ ads, most of them focus on they way people feel, the experience of McDonalds.
It’s the same with your job ads – don’t just describe the role – that will never be enough. show them the experience they’ll have, they way they’ll feel, the things they’ll gain from joining you. That might be greater autonomy, career progression, better wellbeing or work-life balance.
Job adverts. Simpler than you think.
So there you have it. Five tips that you can action easily when you’re writing your next job advert. The key is to look at the adverts that grab your attention and identify what it is about them that stopped you in your tracks. Was it the was it made you feel? Did it make you laugh? Did it cause you to think differently about something?
And if you’re struggling, don’t forget that your marketing team are likely to have great insight into what makes a good advert and they’ll be able to work with you to translate that into a great job advert.
If you need any other help or advice with your job descriptions or job adverts – we’re always here to help!