Hourly employees are often the face of your business. Baristas, servers, and other folks in customer-facing roles have to connect with people and exude your company values, so it’s imperative you find the right people for the job -- and since turnover is high for these positions, you need to be able to do it consistently.
In October 2018, job openings in the US reached over 7 million — outnumbering job seekers by nearly a million. Candidates have more power than ever when choosing which employers they’re going to work for. That’s one reason why more companies have started to treat recruits like customers, optimizing the application experience for candidates and making efforts to promote their company as an attractive place to work.
Job ads are the backbone of any such recruitment marketing strategy. They’re your opportunity to make a strong first impression on potential employees, set the tone for the interview process, and ultimately get more applicants through the door. With that in mind, here are our three tips for writing more effective job ads.
1. Start with a proper job analysis
You can’t create a great job listing if you don’t know what the position requires. A job analysis allows hiring managers to get a deeper look at what the role entails, how it contributes to the business’ overall goals, and what skills a future employee would need to do the job. You can also use the findings of a job analysis to set performance standards and identify disqualifying traits in potential candidates.
There are a few different ways to complete a job analysis depending on how in-depth you want to go. Hiring managers can analyze a role by interviewing current or former employees in the position, whether in person or via questionnaire. They can also simply observe employees currently working in the position. Some HR softwares even let employees log their daily activities in a work diary, which can make it easier for managers to learn more about the day-to-day needs of each role and write job ads accordingly.
Companies vary in size and levels of formality. A job analysis can be a few simple observations, or an extensive data collection process. No matter the scope of the analysis, the important thing is that the creator of the job posting fully understands what the job calls for and can translate that into a creative and engaging job description.
2. Add personality to your job ads
Businesses want employees whose personalities will mesh well with the rest of the company. Some companies want energetic and assertive sales reps. Others want empathetic customer service representatives. The best way to find the personalities that will fit best with your team is to introduce yourself, your culture, and your company’s personality.
Personality can be integrated into every aspect of the job posting — an attention-grabbing title, a unique job description, job perks you highlight, and a call-to-action that gets candidates excited to apply. Finding the best talent is a competition today. Treat your job postings like you treat marketing and advertising. Make it attractive and engaging for your target recruits.
Sweetgreen, for example, emphasizes how staff are part of something purposeful, inclusive and exciting. Their recruitment video displays who their people are and how they feel at work.
Whether or not your values are stated as explicitly as Sweetgreen’s are, your company does have a culture. Be transparent about who you are, and frame your strengths in an interesting way to attract your ideal hires.
3. Keep it simple
Most people skim job postings, and spend very little time reading all the information listed. A study by LinkedIn for example found that shorter job descriptions (less than 300 words) had significantly higher application rates than longer ones. This jives with past research indicating that job seekers take less than 50 seconds to decide if a listing is a good fit for them. Potential employees won’t read every single word you include in your post — they focus on what concerns them most. So if your job ads aren’t receiving the response rates you hoped for, you might want to condense your listings.
You want to get the most important aspects of your company and the job across right away. Don’t include long-winded descriptions of your company’s history or exhaustive lists of every single job responsibility for each role. Keep the description limited to a few essential main points.
At the same time, just because you’re keeping the posting simple, doesn’t mean it has to be a list of dry bullet points. You can still show some personality. Take Starbucks for example. They keep it simple, but start by marketing themselves before moving into the job descriptions.
Viewers can scroll down and see a basic description of each role: barista, manager, etc. Starbucks doesn’t list the specific responsibilities or requirements in the posting -- they leave those details for later.
Not all businesses have the resources Starbucks has, but attractive visuals and simple descriptions can make your job ads much more appealing. Additional details can be communicated elsewhere, whether it be in an email to the applicant or in-person during the interview.
Lengthy job postings and applications may deter individuals from applying to your job ad, especially when you consider the advantages job seekers have in today’s tight labor market. Major companies, like McDonalds, have responded by making the application processes faster and even incorporating apps like Snapchat. The simpler the job description (and the application process), the more likely you are to expand your pool of candidates and find the best person for the job.
The job ad is only step one
A job post is the first step in finding talented employees that will represent your company well, care for your customers, and ideally stick with you for the long hall. But the work doesn’t end there.
Once you have an effective job ad, you need to post it far and wide for potential candidates to see. Traditional online job boards and social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are the best places to extend your reach here, especially if you’re willing to pay to promote your listings. Don’t forget about your employees either. If they like working for you and are willing to promote your job ad to the people you know, they can bring in more qualified applicants and reinforce to them the unique culture you’re trying to highlight in your job ads.