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10-point Checklist for Job Ads that Convert

The first step to every successful recruitment campaign is attraction. Here are 10 things your job ad needs in order to convert your prospective candidates’ attention into applications.

1. A clear job title

To gain a boost in your SEO and tap into additional reference points, consider listing alternate titles in your description. If you are hiring a sales rep, for example, then adding a bulleted section, “This job is also known by,” will enable you to include keyword rich titles such as ‘Sales Professional,’ ‘Sales Consultant,’ and ‘New Business Development.’ If your applicant-to-be is unfamiliar with the title you are advertising, then these alternate keywords could help provide some clarity beyond your bullet points.

2. Easy-to-read language

The important part here is to speak the language of your candidates. If you are marketing to a technical audience, then outlining the technical systems they will be working with could be more productive for you than highlighting the less technical aspects of your role. The first rule of recruitment marketing: speak to your candidates.

Take this EA billboard job ad for example. In Canada, right outside of their competitor’s building, EA posted a billboard that was written in ASCII code and reads “Now Hiring.” This is a creative example, but it makes the point that your language doesn’t need to resonate with everyone if it makes a strong impression on your target market.


3. Culture clues

A job candidate could have all the talent in the world, but if you need someone to adopt the hare’s philosophy to speed, then hiring a tortoise could lead to frustration for you, the candidate, and their colleagues. You can clue candidates in to the values of your culture by sharing rich media and choosing your words thoughtfully.

Heineken ran an intriguing recruitment campaign that shows future prospects the kind of people they want to hire. In these videos, the character of candidates was put to the test with unexpected (staged) situations. Not only did these tests help the employer assess culture fit and the company’s values, but these videos have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. A few years later, Heineken released a more stylish recruitment advertising campaign that received praise from the marketing community while displaying more of their culture to potential employees.

4. Answers to candidates’ questions (before your own)

Think about your job candidate’s criteria before introducing your own. To find out what that might be, visualize the day to day experience of your employees. As an employee, they will come in to work, interact with people (likely, a mix of peers and authorities), use tools, and deliver some form of value to the company. In exchange for their effort and time, they will receive compensation. If the employee is good at what they do, then they will be in a position to earn higher compensation and level up their career. Your job ad should provide this information up front.

Here are a handful of questions that your job candidate is likely asking themselves:

  • “What does this company do?”
  • “Who will I be working with?”
  • “What will I be doing?”
  • “How might this job be better than what I have now?”
  • “What will I like about working here?”
  • “How far is the commute?”

5. White space

You might be surprised at how much of a difference the design of your ad makes, even if all you changed was the spacing. Take Talroo’s job posts, for example. Every point has its own paragraph, and spaces break up key information that makes it easy for the candidate’s eye to locate important information, such as where the job is located, what they’ll be doing, what Talroo is looking for, and the benefits that come with the position.

6. Rich media and visuals

Rich media and visual content can be powerful optimization tactics for recruitment advertising, whether they are included on your ad itself or throughout other contact with candidates (e.g. your social media channels, emails, website, etc.).

Take a look at this endearing job ad from Dallas Restaurant & Bar. If that opening text were in a typical black-on-white, 12pt font format, it may be overlooked, dismissed as spam, or seen as poor spelling. By putting those words front and center, along with quotes, it draws your eye in and makes the onlooker curious about the ad. It also sets up the punchline that delivers their recruitment message.

Walk-in interviews

7. Numbers

The best way to prove your claims, especially to someone who might not be giving your job ad 100% of their undivided attention, is to show them hard data and numbers. Numbers stand out to our eyes because they visually break up text, and they also make it easy for a candidate to cross reference your data with their current reference point. This helps them judge the opportunity as a good one, compare their experience with your needs, and might give them a stronger impression of your company’s success.

8. Social proof

Who are your clients? Who is rooting for your success? Show candidates who have invested in your organization’s future, either through their time, attention, or financial resources. This can be a simple line that shares the profile of your clients so that candidates know the kind of people they will be working with day to day.

9. Salary

Your job description is not the place to be coy with candidates. Everyone has a price. People who work for only the joy of it are volunteers. If you would like to leave room for negotiation, then provide a range with the caveat “depending on experience” or “depending on performance.”

10. An easy way to apply

Filling out a job application shouldn’t feel like applying for a loan at the bank. An arduous application process is a simple problem to fix as many job boards offer 1-click settings. If you are using your own technology, think about this: what is the absolute essential information you need in order to assess whether they are good enough for you to call them back (before the interview)? What can you learn in a phone screen or interview?

Earlier this year, McDonald’s Snaplications recruitment campaign experimented with one of the quickest response platforms out there, Snapchat. In an effort to attract millennial interest for entry-level positions at their restaurants, the fast-food chain came out with Snaplications which offers interested candidates a way to commence the application process with a 10-second snap. This doubles as a brand activation strategy, and McDonalds isn’t the only one.

 To identify the best places to advertise your ad, check out Talroo’s talent attraction platform, Talroo Pro.