How to Write a Job Advert that Attract Great Performers: Secrets Revealed!

Unless you’re using a flat-fee recruiter, recruitment agency, headhunter or HR consultancy, you’ll need to write an advert for your job vacancy. Having said that, many experienced consultants have not received any formal training writing job adverts, so you might wish to provide some oversight.

Writing a job advert is often done by a member of the Recruitment Team with a bit of creative flair. It’s good to have it checked by one other person, but don’t get the whole team involved as this slows down the process.

Quick Sanity Check

If you’re about to start advertising a job you need to be certain of two things:

  1. You care and want to do a good job. Sadly I’ve seen to many examples of hiring managers just going through the motions. They don’t really care about what is advertised, making the mistake of advertising job descriptions, hiding salaries, making loads of mistakes and failing to follow perfectly reasonable advice. If this could be you, you’re probably not the best person right now to be hiring.
  2. You don’t have enough time. Recruitment takes a lot of time. When you advertise a job, you’ll need to shortlist applicants, hold Telephone Interviews, attend Structured Interviews, conduct Reference Calls. If you don’t have enough time, now might not be the best time to recruit staff. You may be thinking “but I need to hire so I have more time!” I accept that, but please accept you therefore need to make time.

The £1,000,000 Learning Curve

Before writing this article, I went back and looked at all the money I’d spent on job site advertising. All the A/B split testing we had conducted, all the focus groups I had moderated, diary studies I reviewed, eye-tracking studies researched, and much more. It was a fun rabbit hole to go down.

I lost count when it quickly added up to £1,000,000.

That’s right. One million pounds sterling. I could scarcely believe it was true, but then I’ve been doing this a long time. That’s why I call it my £1,000,000 Learning Curve.

Some of the ideas worked, but even if it didn’t, I learnt a lesson.

Now you have the opportunity to learn the technique to write a job advert that attracts Great Performers.

You’re a Marketer

To write a good advert, you need to see things through applicants’ eyes – to use “applicant logic”. Imagine going to a dealership to buy a car. When you express an interest in a particular car, they hand you the operating manual and tell you to read through it. You’d probably walk out – I certainly would! Unfortunately, some employers confuse a job advertisement with a job description (equivalent to a car’s operating manual). Rather than clearly and concisely selling the job, they present a bland list of meaningless jargon and disclaimers. In doing so, they miss out on a lot of good applicants.

Don’t. Advertise. A. Job. Description.

To carry out this task well, employers need to change their mindset and think like a marketer.

Sadly many write a job advert like “This job exists, so apply.”

If you don’t think like a marketer and get this right, there are no excuses. It is all on you.

Artificial Intelligence Can’t Write Great Job Adverts (Yet)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is good and constantly improving. I’m often amazed how simple prompts can generate a lot of ideas or complete clearly defined tasks.

However, AI is only as good as the information it has been trained on. Sadly most of the job ‘adverts’ it’s read are merely adapted job descriptions. The AI has no feedback mechanism to know what job adverts generated the best response, it just thinks it’s how all job adverts are written. This means the AI has been trained on rubbish and as the adage goes: rubbish in = rubbish out.

Whilst it might generate ‘advert’ easier and quicker, what’s the point if it doesn’t help you attract great applicants. The great applicants you need to transform your business.

What you need is the methodical and scientifically-validated approach that I’ll touch on in a moment. But it also requires some nuance. For example I wrote a call to action that encouraged jobseekers to avoid loss (a very powerful human emotion): “So don’t miss this rare opportunity and apply now.” AI completely missed this angle and tried converting it to “So take advantage of this rare opportunity and apply now.” It’s ok, it’s not great.

Another problem is that if everyone is using the same thing, it’s no longer a competitive advantage.

Use Scientifically-Validated Job Adverts

People offer all sorts of well-intentioned advice about how to write job advertisements, but I’ve found that a lot of it is wrong. I discovered this by running application rate optimisation experiments.

This research was initially sponsored by a large UK retail bank which wanted to better understand why it was getting so few applications through its career site. The project was an immediate success and led to similar ones with well-known employers, including a UK airline, as well as with job sites, all of which were seeking a competitive edge through better recruitment.

I would start off running two very different job adverts (what’s known as a “radical redesign” experiment). Using the best-performing job advert as a control, I would then run more adverts, each containing a single change (known as “A/B split testing”). This helped to identify which job adverts convert the most jobseekers into applicants.

To understand why a particular job advert performed well I used eye-tracking studies by world renowned experts Tobii. Finally, I held focus groups with hundreds of jobseekers to discuss their experiences and preferences.

This research revealed several “laws” which apply in almost every type of role. I’m not suggesting you need to carry out these experiments like I did – I’m about to share the results so you don’t have to!

I created a summary, checklist, video presentations and regularly provide updates with further examples on my website

You’ll also find we provide a complementary job advert audit to help you get the best response on the same website.

Sell to Jobseekers

As mentioned earlier, before you write anything, spend time thinking about the answer to this question: “If I’m your ideal candidate, why should I join your organisation rather than a competitor?”

The answer should influence what goes into the advert. Your ideal candidate might be a trainee who’s motivated by career progression, a warehouse person who wants regular shifts and job security or a money-hungry salesperson who wants uncapped earning potential. Until you understand who you’re looking for, you can’t write your advert effectively.

The question should also prompt you to think about your competition. What do you offer that others don’t? How do you treat employees better? If you don’t know why your ideal candidate should join your organisation rather than a competitor, you’re likely to get a mediocre response.

If this offer isn’t right, it doesn’t matter how many job boards you advertise on, the results will be poor.

Your Advert Will Likely Be Read On A Mobile Phone

Most jobseekers search and apply for jobs on their mobile phone. This is important because:

  • Interactions are often by touch.
  • Graphics and font are generally smaller.
  • There is less physical space.

Whilst job sites have generally made huge improvements with responsive and ‘sticky’ layouts, you still need to make adjustments:

Keep your advert succinct

Statistically, our tests found adverts get the best response when the description is between 250-300 words. Exceptions to this rule include senior roles (e.g. CEOs) who appreciate more information (particularly about the employer), and strangely IT roles who seem more inclined to use desktop computers!

Most job adverts I see can easily achieve this word limit by cutting out waffle, removing desirable skills, and lots more points I’ll cover shortly.

Make the advert easy to scan

Our eye-tracking studies have found that jobseekers tend to scan an advert before deciding whether to pay it more attention. The best ways we’ve found to helps is to use the following elements of formatting:

  • Use ALL CAPS for headings. This makes sections stand out, creating visual interest for jobseekers so they can scan more easily.
  • Large blocks of text create anxiety (“That’s a lot to read!”) and it’s harder for the eye to fixate across long paragraphs. Instead use bullet points to increase comprehension and the length of time jobseekers spend reading (“dwell time”). Bullet points reduce the perceived density of text and act as fixation points so the eye doesn’t have to scan as much. It’s recommended to have a maximum of eight bullet points, and because some job sites convert symbols incorrectly to use hyphens or dashes to indicate the bullets.

Ensure the advert is easy to read

When reading websites, people have lower reading ages compared to when reading books. Therefore it is crucial that job adverts are easy to read, particularly for busy job seekers.

Typically I find it help to keep sentences under eight words long and use commas to break up sentences where necessary.

I recommend using tools that provide an Automated Readability Index. This is a reliable algorithm used since the days of electronic typewriters. You will be provided with a readability grade. This is the minimum level of education that readers need to understand your copy. In general, I find a grade 9 reading level (equivalent to GCSE) is high enough to attract a broad range of job seekers using mobile devices. A lower grade is usually better because the advert is easier to understand. A higher grade is sometimes worse and may suggest that the advert is wordy, convoluted and full or jargon.

Therefore, before publishing a job advert, it is recommend to check the readability grade isn’t too high. There are many readability calculators on the internet and we have one on our website. Another common formula using the Flesch-Kincaid reading level is built into Microsoft Word.

Optimised Advert Structure

Based on the research that I carried out, I discovered that a good advert follows this structure:

  • Headline (aka job title).
  • Location.
  • Salary range.
  • Contract type (full or part-time, temporary or permanent).
  • Description of the role.

Headline and Job Title

Advert headlines have two purposes:

  1. To help jobseekers find the advert.
  2. To refine the type of jobseekers that click on your advert.

In order for your advert to be easily found, you need to use a familiar keywords that jobseekers are likely to search for. Even though this is common sense, it’s surprising how many companies get this wrong. One airline used the advert headline “Executive Flight Attendants”, a term found on their employment contracts, and received a poor response. Our research showed jobseekers were searching for “cabin crew”, so the company’s advert wasn’t even appearing in search results. When we changed the headline, applications came flooding in.

You should avoid “clever” headlines, such as “Do you want to work in sales?” Although the word “sales” is included, job sites’ search algorithms may consider the advert less relevant and show it to fewer applicants. Also, our eye-tracking studies found that jobseekers put more weight on the first few words of headlines, fixating briefly and then continuing to scan, so long headlines tend to be less effective. Even a concise advert title like “Marketing Executive” often performs better than “Dynamic Marketing Executive”.

Headlines also help jobseekers decide which adverts require further investigation. If you’re looking for a PHP web developer, include “PHP” at the end of the headline (i.e. “Web Developer PHP”). A similar example is “Sales Executive B2B”.

To maximise performance we recommend that advert headlines are fully capitalised (“Accounts Assistant” rather than “Accounts assistant”). You should also avoid special characters as these can interfere with job sites’ search engines.

Finally our research found job titles will generate more interest if they are have between one to three words. Whilst you can use four to six words and only see a small impact in response, any more than six words and you’re likely to see a significant drop.

Important: It's worth emphasising how critical the advert headline is: if you don’t use keywords that jobseekers use then you advert is unlikely to get found, and so it is unlikely to get many applications.

Let me illustrate this with a few examples:

  • A council wanted to advertise “Head of Resources/Deputy Town Clerk.” They proceeded to ignore our advice that the headline was too long and used keywords jobseekers rarely searched for. Inevitably they got a poor response, and when they used our recommended headline “HR/Facilities Manager” they filled their job.
  • A software development company wanted to advertise “Software Support Technician.” The hiring manager explained to other stakeholders we had advised against it, but this was ignored. Again they got no response, wasting time and money. Fortunately they advertised the role again using our recommended “Application Support” headline and filled the job.
  • Even the sequence of words makes a difference. A digital marketing agency wanted to advertise “SEO Trainee”. We explained “Trainee SEO” would deliver over 4000x more response. But they were adamant “SEO” was the first word because it apparently showed a trainee was primarily motivated by SEO. This is a particularly strange example because the keywords are the same, just in a different order. But it is important because of the way search engines work. Once again, they got a poor response, wasting time and money until they followed out advice.

You’re probably finding these stories repetitive and I could give lots more examples.

Sadly many people want to learn the hard and expensive way. There are a couple of common reasons for this:

  • Too many uninformed stakeholders are making decision.
  • They don’t appreciate the importance of using keywords that jobseekers search for.
  • They don’t understand this is just an advert headline. It doesn’t affect the job title you use on contracts of employment or other internal documents.

How to check if an advert headline is appropriate

If you’re spending a lot of money with job sites, I’d recommend calling your account manager and asking them to research which advert headlines are performing the best.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have access to a good account manager, a reasonable alternative is to search a large job site using the proposed advert headline, but don’t enter a geographical location so it searches the entire site.

If you don’t get more than 100 results this is probably a sign that you need to try different keywords. Keep trying broader and more generic keywords, ideally you’ll be looking for hundreds if not thousands of results.

Give it a try now. Search for “Software Support Technician” then “Software Support” and finally “Application Support.” Hopefully you noticed a difference in the number of search results.

Job Location

Job sites often require you to specify a single location. Our research found that heavily populated towns or cities attract more applications. If your job is based in a sparsely populated area, choose the nearest place with a large population. For example, it would be better to describe a job in the village of Orton near Wolverhampton as being located in Wolverhampton. A few job sites require postcodes to give more accurate search results to jobseekers. If your job is in a village or small town, give a postcode in the centre of a nearby larger town.

You might need to maintain anonymity for confidential roles. It would be easy to identify a chemicals company located in Westerham, Kent, for example. You might want to specify a different nearby location to keep competitors and employees off the scent.

For a regional role, you may only be able to choose a single town or city. In this case, it’s best to specify a key central one. For example, if your role covers the county of Kent, you might choose Maidstone. If the job site does allow you to specify a region, be careful as some sites show these job adverts at the bottom of search results, where they get overlooked.

You can also accept applications from anywhere if the role is remote/hybrid. (Practically you may still want applicants within a reasonable time zone or able to commute into an office for meetings.) Most job sites will give an option to specify a job is remote, or they will look for keywords such as “remote” or “hybrid” in the job advert. Regardless, I would always recommend making it very clear in the advert that the job is remote/hybrid because job seekers need to know this information.

Salary Range

Job sites often require a salary range for job adverts.

You’ll naturally attract more applicants the more money you advertise at the upper end of the range. Ask yourself, “What’s the highest salary I can afford to pay the ideal candidate?” You aren’t committed to later offering a salary at the top of the advertised range; but to prevent candidates from feeling short-changed if they’re offered less, it’s important to explain the thinking behind a particular salary offer at interview.

Remuneration can be complicated, comprising of basic salaries, commissions/bonuses, shares and other benefits. The best approach is to include a “salary and benefits” section in the body copy where you give more detail. If possible, include the approximate amount of any bonuses because it inspires confidence and attracts more applicants.

Ensure that a salary range isn’t too wide or unrealistic. A salary range of £20,000 to £100,000 is so broad that it’s pretty meaningless, and job seekers are often pessimistic and think they’ll be offered the lowest salary. Therefore, I often recommend the salary range is around £5,000 difference (eg. £25,000 - £30,000).

When advertising part-time roles, it is best to advertise a “full-time equivalent”. For example “salary is £34,000, full-time equivalent”.

Avoid advertising hourly salaries for permanent jobs. Job seekers often think in terms of annual salaries, not hourly. They’re unlikely to calculate whether your salary is competitive and simply skip to another advert where the salary is easier to relate to.

<div class="grey-callout"><h2>Don’t hide the job’s salary</h2><p>If given the option to hide the salary, don’t! </p><p>My extensive testing shows that you’ll receive around 80% fewer applications if you hide the salary! This is because salary is often a jobseeker’s top priority and helps them gauge seniority. An accountant role advertised at £18,000 is more clearly a trainee opening than one at £80,000. When a salary isn’t specified, you might expect jobseekers to look at the advert to gauge the experience required, but often they’ll ignore the advert altogether and look for another one showing a salary.</p><p>When we asked jobseekers in focus groups about salary, they said that they found terms like “market rate” to be meaningless and felt that a salary described as “competitive” was likely to be nothing of the sort if the company was unwilling to put a number on it. Worse still, jobs without a salary often default on job sites to “not applicable/specified”, which jobseekers may infer as voluntary and so offers no salary at all.</p><p>Some countries are now making it the law for salaries to be advertised. As one frustrated job seeker said in a focus group “It is ridiculous we are still going through weeks of interviews only to find to what the salary might be in the end.” </p></div>

One reason why companies don’t advertise salaries is in case their staff find out that they’re willing to pay more for a new starter! But the reason they would find this out is if they were looking for a job anyway! It’s much better to advertise salaries and pay existing staff well. I know this might be easier said than done, but in the long term it really is the best approach.

Some employers aren’t sure of the appropriate salary range so want to test the market by not stating a range. They often end up with too few or unsuitable applications. A better strategy is to do a quick search on a job site to see what other employers in a similar location are offering.

Contract Type

Select whether a job is permanent, contract or temporary, as well as full-time or part-time.

Because contract types can be a bit involved (temporary-to-permanent trials, shifts and so on), you can create a separate heading in the job advertisement to provide further information.

Description of the Job

A description of the job should contain the following sections in this order:

  1. Opening paragraph about your organisation.
  2. Description of the role.
  3. Key skills and experience.
  4. Contract type (optional).
  5. Salary and benefits.
  6. Location (optional).
  7. Call to action.

It’s worth saying again that in every section you should be selling to the jobseeker, answering that crucial question: “If I’m your ideal candidate, why should I join your organisation rather than a competitor?”

Let’s go through the individual sections of the body copy in more detail.

1. Opening paragraph about your organisation

The first few sentences of your job advertisement are often shown in the initial search results. Therefore, it’s essential that the opening paragraph encourages the jobseeker to click on your advert. To achieve this, give a short overview of your company and why it’s such a great place to work.

I commonly see employers make four big mistakes:

  1. Too much hyperbole. Job seekers find phrases such as “audacious growth plans”… unbelievable. In truth they may think you’re lying to them (or yourself). Whilst you need to convince them, do so with some humility and reality.
  2. Recycling marketing boilerplate. Frequently adverts use phrases that would be appropriate if selling to a prospective customer, not a job seeker. For example “This company is the IT team for your business.” Job seekers immediately know the advert has been given little consideration, so will likewise do the same.
  3. Falling in love with your product or service.  You don’t need to provide a lot of detail about what your company does and why you’re so brilliant. Keep it brief and focus on why you’re a great organisation to work for. (The exception to this is sales roles where sales people like to know how “easy” it will be to sell unique and market-leading products and services.)
  4. Asking questions. For example “Would you like to work in the property industry” This doesn’t work well because cognitively it requires a conscious effort to answer these questions. Adverts need to be relatively effortless so that they can be consumed at a subconscious level. For that reason, avoid questions.

Jobseekers want to know:

  • How long you’ve been established. Some people are happy working for start-ups, others want an established company.
  • How many employees you have. Larger companies typically have more systems and procedures, opposed to smaller companies which are generally more agile, and this can matter to some jobseekers.
  • What the work environment is like. For example a remote barn-conversion is very different from a inner-city open-plan office.
  • Why your organisation is better than other employers. Ultimately why do staff stay at your company?

Keep it short, otherwise you’ll lose momentum and jobseekers may not scan the rest of your advert. The first paragraph shouldn’t be a large block of text, so you don’t need headings or bullet points – a couple of sentences is enough.

Here’s an example of an effective paragraph highlighting job benefits:

“ACME Industries is an award-winning manufacturer of widgets with 300 staff. In this fast-paced environment we provide an open and friendly place to work. We pride ourselves on our genuine open-door policy and collaborative team.”

2. Description of the role

This is where you sell the role! How does it add value to customers and help the company achieve its vision?

Begin with an all-caps heading “THE ROLE:”

Then use a maximum of eight bullet points, state the main responsibilities of the role, ideally in one succinct sentence.

Remember, it isn’t a legal document, it’s and. So you don’t need to include statements like “Duties may include, but are not limited to.” Also avoid catch-all phrases like “anything else that may reasonably be expected”, as this wastes valuable attention span.

It helps to remove any obvious responsibilities like “answering the telephone”, “taking part in training”, “wearing company uniform” or “maintaining positive work relationships.”

3. Key skills and experience

Contrary to lots of job adverts I’ve read, this isn’t a ransom note of demands.

Employers often want to include a greater number of essential or desirable skills and experiences, far exceeding the competencies mentioned on the Great Performance Profile. However, the purpose of a job advert is to generate a large Applicant Flow.

The more skills and experience you list, the fewer applicants you’ll receive.

Start with an ALL-CAPS heading “KEY SKILLS & EXPERIENCE:”

Again, I recommend using a maximum of eight bullet points, one sentence each, which concisely outline the essential skills.

Ensure you communicate clearly. For example:

  • “Good presentation skills” could mean general attire or knowing how to use PowerPoint.
  • What does “Good communication skills” specifically mean? Is this written, verbal or both? Explain what context they’ll be used, are they writing emails, reports or presentations.
  • You may want “Brilliant maths skills” but does this mean they need a qualification? If so what qualification do you require, could it be A-level or degree? Naturally there is a big difference between an A* and an F, so what would be the minimum acceptable standard?
  • Equally be careful listing software packages such as “Microsoft Office” because it includes over ten products when you may only require Word and Excel.

<div class="grey-callout"><h2>Avoid listing desirable skills</h2><p>Our research has found that jobseekers have developed a behaviour we call “learned helplessness”. This is where they see a desirable skill being specified and then don’t apply because they expect more qualified applicants will – deep down they don’t want to be rejected. For this reason, only include essential skills and experience; don’t include desirable ones.</p><p>To ensure you’re not restricting the number of applications you receive, consider these questions:</p><ul><li>“If they don’t have this skill or experience but have everything else will we still hire them?” If yes, then consider removing that skill or experience.</li><li>“Can we offer training on the skill?” If you can, it’s not essential.</li><li>“Why do candidates need a minimum number of years of experience?” This requirement might exclude younger candidates, or parents who’ve had time away from work to raise a family and so might be discriminatory. And some people have long experience doing the same thing year after year, while others become competent in far less time.</li><li>“Am I being specific enough?” For example, “IT proficient” could mean almost anything.</li></ul></div>

<div class="grey-callout"><h2>Don’t request industry experience</h2><p>It is a bad idea to require industry experience. In many cases you’re asking for the impossible. The more you ask for the less you get – and I’m worried if you ask for industry experience you’ll get nothing!</p><p>It is much better to give yourself options. By explaining what your company does you’ll naturally attract applicants with industry experience. Best of all you’ll also attract applicants who want to work in your industry.</p><p>If a stakeholder is adamant applicants must have industry experience, if you don’t get any good applicants within one week, change your advert before it is too late because the results are unlikely to improve. If you continue to get a bad response nothing will change unless you change something, all the while the vacancy remains unfilled and costs increase.</p><p>Here it is on a bumper sticker: Don’t require industry experience.</p></div>

<div class="grey-callout"><h2>Remove soft skills and cliches</h2><p>Frequently adverts require candidates who are “passionate” about a particular industry, product/service or job. I doubt you’re genuinely passionate about the company you work for or the job you do. (Congratulations if you are, but you’ll appreciate you’re a genuine outlier). The problem is you’re setting too high a standard. Job seekers are less likely to apply because they read the advert literally or think you’re deluded.</p><p>Additionally a lot of adverts contain generic soft skills. For example, “great communicator”, “motivated”, “able to use initiative.” Unfortunately these terms add very little value to a job advert because almost everyone thinks they have these attributes. Some of these skills are also very difficult to assess at interview (see my thoughts on competency interviews).</p><p>Finally, I’m sure you’ve read lots of CVs from applicants who are “able to work independently and as part of a team.” It’s a common cliché. Unfortunately, many adverts contain the same or similar cliches, making job seekers second guess if an employer really takes recruitment seriously. So remove cliches such as “using initiative”, “follow instructions”, “being positive and considerate”.</p></div>

4. Contract type

Some contracts are complicated, so you can include a section that explains the contract in detail. Some useful tips for this:

  • Within the body copy, mention if it’s a maternity contract or other cover and if the role may go permanent.
  • For temporary-to-permanent roles, advertise the vacancy as permanent and, in the body copy, state that it’s a temporary-to-permanent job.
  • For part-time and shift roles, specify the hours and days in the advert. This is often overlooked and why so few applicants apply. Also, say whether the hours are negotiable or not.

5. Salary and benefits

This section gives you the opportunity to explain complicated remuneration packages. For example, jobs paying commission or bonuses, explain what’s realistically achievable. Or you might be offering different pay rates for shift work, or offering overtime.

Again begin with an all-caps heading such as “SALARY & BENEFITS:”

Always list the salary range. Don’t list it as “Generous” or “Competitive” because as one jobseeker explained to me “[He] will be the judge of that, and if it is that ‘competitive’ they’d show it.”

When describing a salary I’d recommend writing it as:

  • Don’t abbreviate salaries, for example use “£20,000 - £25,000 “instead of “£20k - £25k”
  • Use commas so it ie easier to ready, for example “£20,000” instead of “£20000”
  • Don’t use Latin, for example “per year” instead of “per annum”
  • If showing a salary range it is perfectly acceptable to state “dependent on experience”.

List benefits with the most desirable first. This normally means holiday allowance and hybrid working at the top, and death in service at the bottom.

Specifically if you can offer hybrid/remote working, ensure this is prominent as it is highly desirable and may generate 12% more applications (Appcast, 2022).

Be specific about benefits to help jobseekers make more information decisions:

  • “Paid holiday” is too vague. Even if it is the legal minimum explain it (e.g. “20 days holiday + public holidays).
  • If you allow hybrid working, how many days are they expected to be in the office?
  • If you offer a company bonus scheme, how much could it realistically be worth each year?
  • Does you employee healthcare plan cover just them, or their family?
  • How much does the company contribute to a pension?
  • Is the car parking on-site, and is it free?

Whilst discussing benefits, I often find employers advertising “games consoles”, “free energy drinks” and “healthy food.” I believe what the they are trying to communicate is how they take care of their staff and the type of work environment. If this is your objective, I’d recommend instead you tell job seekers what it is really like to work there, rather than listing low value perks that sometimes sound ‘desperate’.

Similarly I often see employers explain about the training offered. This is both a benefit to the employee and employer, so it doesn’t really fit in section specifically listing the benefits to an employee. Instead explain about the training offered when discussing the role.

6. Location

As previously discussed, job sites often require you to advertise a role in a single location and may even require a postcode. This is inconvenient when roles are based in sparsely populated towns and villages, or if the role is regional or remote based.

Our research found that it’s best to provide further explanation in a separate “location” section within the job advert.

With many roles now a hybrid of office and remote working, it’s worth explaining the options. For example, “You’ll be required to work in the office two days a week and can work remotely three days a week.” Because hybrid roles attract 12% more applicants (Appcast, 2022) it is also beneficial to include this information near the top of an advert.

It’s also useful to mention nearby towns or cities from where it is possible to commute, as well as nearby train stations, because this may attract jobseekers searching those locations. For example “near the M25 and M23.”

For locations in London, it’s advisable to include nearby tube stations and even the first part of the postcode in the advert headline to increase the response rate, for example, “Sous Chef – NW1”.

<span class="grey-callout"><span class="text-color-purple">Tip:</span> It is common to receive overseas applicants. If this isn’t appropriate, we found they can be reduced by explicitly stating at the bottom of an advert: “Applicants must already have the permanent right to work in the UK; visa sponsorship cannot be considered.”</span>

7. Call to action

Our research found that actually asking jobseekers to apply generates more applications. At the bottom of advertisements, write: “Ready to take the next step in your career? Apply now and join our team!” The impetus should be on applying today or now, instead of weakly asking “please apply.”

However, there are some things that you should not ask applicants to do:

  • Calling a telephone number or emailing their application. Application numbers may drop because jobseekers prefer to submit their application through the job site.
  • Asking for a portfolio or covering letter (most job sites don’t have this functionality). If you do require a portfolio, shortlist candidates first, and during a Telephone Interview ask them to send you a copy of their best work.

Additionally, don’t include your email address unless you want to be contact by sales people, or get lots of enquiries from jobseekers.

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Geoff Newman has dedicated his entire career to recruitment. He has consulted for many well-known international brands, and worked with over 20,000 growing businesses. He has helped fill over 100,000 jobs.

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We literally wrote the book on...

The secrets of great recruitment

The Secrets of Great Recruitment is a top-seller. It is easy to read and wastes no time in giving powerful actionable strategies you can use straight away.

Book cover for The Secrets of Great Recruitment