Why you should be keeping a close eye on your job ad

You’ve written your job ad and placed it online, all you have to do now is watch the applications roll in, right?

But what happens if only a few people are applying or if you have an enormous response but the right candidates aren’t landing in your inbox?  

The answer, says SEEK’s Associate Client Training Manager Nicola Laver, is to monitor your job ad closely. “If people aren’t applying, go back and take a look at your ad on your mobile,” suggests Laver. Why on your mobile? Nearly a third of job seekers will look at job ads on their mobile phone. “64% of visits are on mobile,” confirms Laver.

Put yourself in a candidate’s shoes

“You have to think like a candidate,” says Laver. “Ask yourself if the ad talks to you, is it telling you what’s expected; is it too long or too generic?” Laver says there is always a good reason why people don’t apply for jobs. She acknowledges that while a tight marketplace can be a consideration; there are things employers can do to optimise their job advertisement and ensure it is effective in reaching the best candidates.

When monitoring your job ad ask yourself:

Does the role title make sense?

New research from SEEK has shown that 65% of New Zealanders want their job ads cliché-free. That means getting rid of job titles like ‘programming ninja’ or ‘marketing guru’. “If your role title is something like ‘Excellence Facilitator’, people won’t find your ad,” says Laver. “Keep it simple.”

Are you using action words in your short summary?

Using action words (like ‘manage’, ‘create’, ‘build’, ‘coordinate’ and ‘repair’) immediately connects with candidates and lets them know exactly what is expected. Laver recommends using action words rather than questions in the short summary section of your job ad.

Does your ad use bolded subheadings?

Breaking up your job ad with white space helps candidates scan the page and move easily from point to point. Using bolded subheadings assists job seekers in identifying the main features of the ad (e.g. about your company, the role, skills, experience, culture and benefits).

Are you using language that is direct and sensible?

“Sometimes we think if we try something different it may attract the needle in the haystack,” says Laver. “But our analysis indicates the opposite.” Top talent can be time poor, so ensure you make it easy for them by using clear, concise language that gets your message across quickly.

Is your ad the right length?

The ideal length for job ads is between 300 – 750 words with a good balance of paragraphs and bullet points. “Six bullet points is the maximum,” says Laver. “If the ad is too long, candidates will lose interest and if it’s too short and there’s not enough detail, the candidate will move on as they can’t determine what the role is about.”

Have you highlighted your benefits?

Be clear on what your organisation can offer candidates. Do you promote opportunities for career development or support great work-life balance? Highlight things like flexible hours, part-time opportunities, staggered starts or other benefits such as proximity to day care or public transport.

“SEEK allows you to edit your job ad,” says Laver. “If the numbers of applicants look low in the first 10 days, I’d recommend that you review your ad.”

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