An enduring characteristic of the job market is that there have always been more job-seekers than available jobs, not least because of constantly growing populations and sluggish economic growth.
In an environment where job demand exceeds supply, your company should find it easy to fill vacancies. All you need do is release a recruitment advertisement in target group-appropriate media to attract plenty of job hunters. But is a huge response what you really need? Wouldn’t this burden your HR department with the task of sifting through dozens of applications, many of which might not fill the bill? Wouldn’t it be better if your recruitment ad had filters built into it, so you net the right people?
Here are pointers to help you craft a job ad–not to draw an exceptional number of people, but a number of exceptional ones.
Make it stand out
Look at the ‘Appointments’ page of a newspaper. You’ll see a formidable mass of text with nothing to break the monotony. This is because most recruitment ads are designed without visuals on the assumption that job seekers will find what they’re looking for anyway. But what if your recruitment ad is missed altogether? Wouldn’t it be better to treat it like a regular display ad, with a powerful headline and arresting visuals that are sure to be noticed? This means going in for a larger size, so you need to weigh the post being advertised against the cost of the advertisement. You wouldn’t splurge on an ad for a stenographer, but for a top-level executive position you’d be willing to loosen the purse strings.
As far as the main message is concerned, make sure it spells out the benefits of working for your company. The carrot you offer will, of course, depend on whom you’re addressing. A candidate applying for a top management position will have a different set of needs and expectations from, say, a lab technician or a despatch clerk.
Address your reader directly, using the second person “you” and adopting a friendly style. While this approach will make your reader feel you’re actually speaking to them, it will also help you write a more empathetic and focused ad.
Most job hunters have a fairly good idea of what they’re looking for. Some want a change of scene, others more money, additional responsibilities, or a route to top management. It makes sense, therefore, to be specific about what’s being offered. If your recruitment ad is sprinkled with clichés like “salary commensurate with experience” or “great work environment”, you’ll draw applicants who are equally vague about what they want.
At the very basic level, a recruitment ad should accurately state the post to be filled, requisite experience, salary range, job responsibilities, and so on. Those who are okay with your offer and can meet your requirements will apply, whereas others won’t. Specifics serve as a sieve that separates the wheat from the chaff.
Being transparent doesn’t mean listing all the setbacks of your company since its inception. It simply means being above board with information regarding the here and now, especially the job being advertised. For example, does the job involve long working hours? Is there a possibility of a merger in the near future, which might have an impact on employment? Is the job a high-risk one?
To avoid sounding overly negative, you may strike a balance by mentioning positive things about the company. Does it have a point-based incentive programme in place? Does it offer subsidized meals and maternity leave for both men and women? Is there expansion on the anvil, which would yield career growth prospects? Is free parking available? Transparency not only reflects well on your company, but also ensures better-informed job applicants.
Include a response device
Request candidates to include a covering letter with the CV and eliminate those who don’t for not following a simple instruction. The letter would help you gauge a job applicant’s communication skills, which might be crucial in certain positions.
A fine-tuned recruitment advertisement will draw the right talent to your company, saving time for all concerned, job applicants as well as HR personnel tasked with taking interviews.