Making Your Job Ads Stand Out in a Candidate-Led Market

With IBM hiring over 67,000 people, with 4.2 million applications, Josh Willows, Global Job Advertising Specialist, certainly knows a thing or two about optimising job titles and adverts to engage applicants.

Joining inploi at our latest breakfast event, Josh uncovered actionable insights on how in-house recruiters can do the same, by making small changes with a massive impact.

On roles within talent acquisition, Josh says that they are there to be translators. “Hiring managers know what it takes to deliver within the position, they know what is needed to hit their business objectives, but they don’t necessarily understand the candidate. It’s up to us to take the information that they give us and turn it into something that someone outside the business can understand.”

It all starts with a job title

When thinking of the job process like a talent marketing funnel, candidates have got to understand that the job exists in the first place, then they spend the time considering the role, before applying. As we’re in a candidate driven market, applicants are more selective and less likely to see your jobs, which means awareness is really key for success.

Josh notes that there are three key things that impact this awareness stage: job title, location, and salary.

“The job title is pretty much always within our control, and there are many things that we can do to optimise it.” From a review of over 1.2 million job titles:

  • Keep the title to 1-3 words in length (extra points if it’s 35 characters or less for candidates browsing your site on mobile!). You’ll save money on a cost-per-click basis, as candidates won’t click just to see the title in full.
  • Arrange your words in a way that flows grammatically. Imagine your candidate is at a dinner party, and someone asks what their job is. Are they going to leave their fellow guests confused about what they do?
  • Use tools like Indeed Insights or Google Trends to see what terms are used by job seekers when searching for their next role

Less is more

The key here is to be concise, but there are other aspects that go hand in hand with this to make your job adverts as effective as possible:

  • Ensure that any requirement is tied into a skill that you would easily be able to identify on a CV. This makes it much easier for you to match candidates to jobs.
  • Focus on keeping requirements to five bullet points. Not only does this keep it brief, but it also makes your advert more accessible from a gender diversity perspective. Female applicants are more likely to apply when they reach 100% of requirements. More bullet points, means a higher chance of skewing towards male applicants.
  • Avoid internal acronyms to ensure that the job advert makes sense to anyone outside your business!

Sell yourself

“When it comes to job adverts, it’s key that you understand how to sell the position to the candidate, and why they should come and work with you, as opposed to just describing a list of tasks. At this stage, the candidate has clicked on your ad, but how can we get them to the stage where they are interested enough to apply?”

Josh recognises that there are many foundations that will help you get even further with your talent attraction:

  • Display a salary, as this key for any job seeker
  • Provide your top three to five benefits (remember to be concise!)
  • Think about what is actually important for the candidate, and what they would want to know before progressing. At a minimum, location information should be really clear, and opportunities for growth should be mentioned – especially if you are looking to attract those candidates in the early stages of their career!

These actionable steps are simple, scalable, and have the opportunity to make you stand out in a candidate-led job market!

If you missed out on this breakfast session, make sure you check out our upcoming events page for our latest events near you!

Post Contributor

Josh has spent the last 10 years working in recruitment advertising at leading job boards and software vendors. He is now responsible for IBM’s global job advertising strategy including channel selection, advert content and performance.

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