You need to recruit, you’ve chosen inbound recruiting, you’ve opened your Jobaffinity interface to automatically distribute your ad to all the right platforms and you’re ready to go. How to write your job offer?
Writing a job ad is too often seen as a tedious and repetitive task, in truth, it is a job that has many similarities with marketing: we can consider that writing a job ad is like setting up the first step of a sales process, attracting a targeted type of customer, capturing his attention and pushing him to action. Here the client is the ideal candidate and the action of contacting you.
You are going to sell a position and the candidate is a buyer. All sales are made in the same way, to convince the candidate you will have to reassure him on the quality of the company, the quality of the position and the quality of his contact. Therefore, a job offer must be designed to provide the necessary and sufficient information for the candidate to benefit from a good level of information and to propose all the elements of reassurance to lead him to submit his application.
Of course, you want to have the ideal candidate for the position you are offering who is in line with your company’s values. Most of the time, the candidate will want to work in a work environment that suits him/her and that will allow him/her to grow professionally and personally. You will therefore build a long-term relationship. This is why you must highlight the advantages of this opportunity while keeping in mind that you must remain as fair as possible in order not to oversell the position, the company or the work environment.
Recruitment is a whole process, which must be optimized, one of the cogs in this process is the advertisement.
Writing a job offer well is essential, one of the first points of contact between the candidate and your company. This first impression will be decisive for the future. We will therefore give you 9 tips for writing an attractive and effective job offer.
Thanks to this guide you will save time for the writing of your recruitment ads, just follow the framework and be inspired by the examples to write your offer.
1: Seduce the candidate with a catchy title
Just like in marketing when preparing an advertisement or a web page, writing an appropriate headline is the essential part of capturing the attention of your audience! Without a good title, the offer may not even be opened. Don’t oversell and promise, be clear and descriptive. You should use the terms that your ideal candidate will search for on indeed or Google: the exact name of the position first and foremost. While it may be tempting to be original, you still need to be precise. Here is an example of what not to do found on Indeed:
Here, it’s a (very) large group, they can afford this kind of stunt because their simple name is potentially enough. But this is not the case for all companies, bold and original recruitment campaigns work for some groups, but they are framed, thought out and part of a strategy. If you don’t have all of that, then you need to know exactly what you’re going to click on in the title.
We cheated a bit for this example: it’s not a job ad per se, but a publication on a job ad format to push people to register to a big open day with jobbing, fair, partners and recruiters.
This one on the other hand is a real job offer:
Are we on a job search site or on the bon coin? What is the objective? What type of profile? Keep in mind that depending on the site or search, the title will count to bring up the ads depending on the sectors or the search performed by the potential candidate. Trying to sensationalize your ad is not a good solution (and may even look like a scam).
Here is another example, which is already better, but could be improved:
Well, at least we know that we are looking for a salesperson. But wouldn’t it be a good idea to specify in which sector of activity? The type of products or services sold? Is the position sedentary? Are you looking for an office or field salesperson?
Here is an example of a good title: it is descriptive and precise, the potential candidate who clicks on the ad does so because he/she already finds that it can correspond to him/her:
It could have been even better with the location (city + neighborhood if it’s a big city). Often ad platforms have a separate field for this, but putting it in the title if you have space doesn’t hurt.
Even the first words of the ad that appear in the preview give additional information, it is to be taken into account in your writing (but we will come back to this point in the tip n°2).
It is essential to write a clear and precise title for your job offer so that it stands out and that at a glance, a potential candidate already knows if he or she has the profile. It must be sufficient to make a candidate want to know more about the position, the company and the team.
Take your time to choose the perfect headline, it will make the difference in how potential candidates perceive your job posting and whether they read it or not. You could say it’s one of the pillars of your ad.
You can have several titles: a short and very descriptive one for job boards, another one a bit more extensive (and with language elements close to your corporate DNA) on a “job” page of your website or on your social networks.
On this point, if you publish your ad by your own means on social networks, in your newsletters or on your website, think about using visual content (photos, videos, infographics) to make your ad stand out in the flow. And preferably original content that you have taken or made yourself, and not a generic image from an image bank.
If you’re interested in social media recruitment, check out our article on the subject.
Another point to consider is inclusiveness. Yes, there is nothing wrong with being inclusive, it will even send a positive message depending on the profiles you are looking for, but remember to remain readable:
By the way, inclusiveness tip for your ads: to avoid the he/she, address the candidate directly: the “you”. “Your mission will be…”
If you can’t do that, take this simple little matrix and adapt it to your need:
[Job Name] [Industry] [Location] [Contract Type]
Sales assistant – children’s clothing department manager in Reims city center, 6 months fixed term contract
2: Create a structured and effective job ad.
Write a summary of a few lines that presents your recruitment project, imagine that you are pitching the job to an acquaintance.
More than 65% of the time candidates will consult your ad on their smartphone, so you need to write a summary of your recruitment offer. This content should be spaced out to make it as readable as possible and include the essential information and hooks. This is the right time to highlight the key points of this recruitment.
Description of the company, your “DNA”, the age of the company, the number of employees, the number of offices or stores… all this should be put towards the end (or not at all) unless it has a direct link with the position.
If for example you are looking for a manager, then yes, the number of people in the team should be put forward.
Don’t say too much: according to our studies, the longer an advert is… the fewer applicants it attracts. This may seem counter-intuitive: giving information should attract more attention, right?
In fact, the opposite is true.
[infographic of ad viewing/success data based on Intuition numbers]
The “client” is the candidate, talk about him, what is expected of him, what he will have to do, not about you, or at least not first.
Avoid long speeches, be concise. Use short sentences, space, lists.
The following point will give you a “skeleton” of an announcement that you can use.
3: Prioritize the information in your job posting
Here are more details on the elements to put in your ad, we have even prepared a small checklist of ad writing to follow to summarize the steps.
As for the rules of the newspapers and the web: the important information must be at the top. The potential candidate must have first what concerns him directly (and this allows to gain visibility when an excerpt of the ad is shown under the title as in the previous example of Indeed
The position / the missions / the team
- Geographic location (place of work);
- Type of contract offered: Fixed-term contract, permanent contract, work-study program…
- More details about the position: this is where you will put details that you could not put in the title because of lack of space or readability
- Remuneration: note a minimum gross annual salary according to experience or a salary range. “Remuneration according to profile”, which we still see a lot, sounds like “minimum legal remuneration” or even “underpaid” in the minds of candidates. Before you make the decision to hire, you should have already determined what the minimum salary is going to be;
- The desired start date of the employment contract;
- Working hours and days
Profile / skills required
- Degrees or certifications/licenses required
- Desired experience of the candidate;
- Skills required for the position (attention, trap, explanation at the end of this advice)*;
- Description of the position’s missions: once again, be synthetic, and if there are specific software or machine types, specify it;
- Prospects for employee development ;
- Numerical data on the position: example: Network administrator => how many computers and what technology? Server => how many servers to manage per department. Manager => How many people to manage, etc.
- In addition to the salary, what are the benefits of the position? Luncheon vouchers, canteen, company car, profit sharing, employee discount, CE, etc.
- Talk to your future recruit personally, tell him/her about his/her daily life, his/her future colleagues, tell him/her what you expect from him/her and what you don’t want.
- Don’t make the mistake of specifying your legal obligations, such as covering part of transportation costs or health insurance. Only do so if you go beyond your obligations, such as 100% health insurance.
About the company, values, results, objectives
At the end, you can present your company: its employer brand, its positioning, its values… future candidates will like to project themselves in their future position.
There is no need to be exhaustive: a good candidate will go and find out about your company via your website anyway. Remember that an ad that is too long is less effective than a shorter version. How many ads do job seekers read every day?
A word of advice about the skills you list: only put in those that are really essential! There is no point in adding more, firstly to clarify and simplify, but also because this could cause you to lose interesting candidates!
A few years ago, the Hewlett-Packard company did an internal survey to understand why they had too few women in senior positions, which made the press like this Forbes article. The answer of this study? A man tended to apply if he met at least 60% of the criteria in the ads. Women? 100%. They only applied if they checked all the boxes. This is what is known in the US as the “confidence gap”.
While this statistic in itself is sobering, some people, regardless of gender, are likely to hesitate to apply if they see a myriad of required skills.
Keep it simple: look at your list of skills, and categorize them as must-haves, nice-to-haves, and don’ts. Leave only the must-haves in the required skills, and add the “valuable” ones further down in the ad, mentioning that they would be a plus for the application.
And why not also talk about the skills they will have the opportunity to develop with you, especially if you train your teams?
4: Find the right tone for your target candidate
Write your ad according to your target candidates Millennial, generation Z, executive…
A candidate for a business developer position will be sensitive to the keywords autonomous, entrepreneur, hunter, company car or others.
For a sedentary position, you can rather emphasize the work environment, the applications and software that he or she will use on a daily basis.
You’re not looking for a robot that ticks boxes, you need a human. Talk to a human.
The choice of words is important and must change in the profile, if for example you are looking for an achiever who loves to overcome obstacles, like a field salesman for example, use the word “challenge”. If you are looking for a very rigorous profile for specific tasks, such as accounting or administration, replace “challenge” by “mission”. The final meaning is the same, but the feeling it gives off will be different.
You have two options if you are unsure of what tone to use for your ad:
You already have one or more positions of the same type filled in your company. This is an ideal case, so have the employees in that position review your draft and ask for their feedback. Is the ad representative? Are there any points you missed? What do they like most about their day-to-day work? What skills or know-how are essential? How would they like to be spoken to if they were currently looking for their job? Are there other words and terms that should be used?
It’s a brand new job creation with no equivalent in your company. In this case, our advice is to do a little research: put yourself in the shoes of your ideal candidate, do some research on the Internet and see if a trend emerges. You will find important ideas and keywords. Finally, don’t forget that you can go beyond your own structure and ask acquaintances or friends, or even colleagues in your field!
You can also look for language elements on the websites of other companies in your sector of activity or that are looking for the same kind of profile. You can take a look at social networks in groups that talk about the job you are looking for or on Twitter.
Twitter is an excellent exercise in summarization: job offers are limited to 280 characters. Look at the ones that work best (RT, comments and likes) to analyze the structure. This may give you ideas for a title.
To do the search, you can use the following #’s: #recruitment #job #joboffer #job (the latter will give you results in all languages)
Of course, you have to specify if telecommuting is part of the company’s policy, if it is new or totally excluded, if it is a certain number of days per month, etc.
5: Talk about salary, experience and autonomy
We said it above, but this needs to be emphasized.
State the minimum salary clearly and simply. This is an obvious criterion for any candidate, especially those who are already working somewhere and want to change.
If part of the salary is commission-based, state this as well: “Minimum monthly salary 1750€ +20% commission on sales”. If there are recurring bonuses, indicate them, their recurrence, and the average amount of bonuses over the current or previous year.
We are often asked if we should put gross or net salary. The norm is to speak in gross. Simply because it is the gross salary that is contractual, the variable of the contributions can evolve according to the legal framework. You know this, we know this.
But your candidate may not know it.
Always specify when you give an amount that it is gross. And you can even make your candidate’s life easier and save him/her a calculation by giving an estimate. For example “salary from 2200€ to 2500€ gross depending on profile (that is to say approximately 1716€ to 1950€ net)”.
As for the experience, it is necessary to remain coherent. We have seen ads asking for “5 years of experience minimum” on a technology that was… 2 years old. Unless you invented the technology in question, that seems difficult.
Your job title says “junior”? Don’t ask for 5 years of experience, you have to be logical.
Moreover, quantity is not quality, a candidate with only a few months of experience can be better than another with 4 years of seniority in the same position.
Rather than speaking in years, specify the type of experience you want: what has this person already completed in their professional career? For example, you can indicate “successful experience in restructuring a sales team desired” or “experience in the luxury hotel industry essential”.
These elements will allow candidates to really project themselves, and will also help them to better draft their CV and cover letter, which will save you time.
Autonomy is the last point: some people love to work in a tight team, others are more lone wolf oriented with regular meetings with colleagues. Some people work best when left in charge, others prefer to have a supervisor to guide them on a day-to-day basis and don’t want a position where they have to make decisions.
You don’t have to write it that way, but you can distill it into the ad: “working closely with your 4 colleagues in [department]…” “Reporting directly to the line manager…” “You will have to define your own schedule according to the objectives” etc.
6: Employer Brand
Employer brand is a strategy that a company uses to attract and retain talent. It is made up of all aspects of the organization that can influence the choice of candidates, including culture, customer service, internal communication, continuing education offerings and benefits. The employer brand clearly defines what it means to work at that organization and allows potential candidates to identify with it.
It’s your brand, an idea of how things work at your company. As we said above, you don’t have to write a novel. That said, distilling what makes up the core of your employer brand in the ad is important to convince a potential candidate.
It is on your website or via your social networks that you will be able to go more in depth on this subject, invite candidates to take a look! If you can put a link in the ad, put it, otherwise say where to find the information on your site.
For example: “for more information about our company, please visit our website, “about us” page
7: Present the work environment as accurately as possible, team, atmosphere, environment …
A small paragraph that presents the work environment, here we must try to stick as much as possible to reality, once the position is accepted, the candidate must integrate as well and as quickly as possible. If the team with which he or she works on a daily basis shares the same affinities, values and objectives, there is a good chance that the recruitment will be a success. You can therefore give the main keys that will allow the candidate to project himself here: the principle of futurization.
8: Job-related constraints and possible training (accreditation, specific permits, travel)
Does your position require special accreditations, a special permit or business travel?
It is essential to specify this in the constraints related to the position. Use the precise terms of these certifications, even a simple B permit. This may be related to the machines used or working in specific conditions such as ATEX.
Sometimes the skills are so rare or not available (linked to a new regulation for example) and your company has planned to create a certification phase or a support for the future candidate, indicate it, it is a real plus!
And don’t forget about travel: frequency, distance, whether it will be by company car, train, plane, etc. Everyone has a different life and this is a very important point. And some people may have medical contraindications, not to mention family life or personal taste.
9: How to apply for the job offer and what to do next
A final step too often forgotten!
The last and simplest step, but one that will allow you to reassure your candidate by telling him/her step by step how to proceed with the application.
How to get in touch (email, phone, via a platform…)
What elements are required for the application file
The deadline beyond which new applications will be suspended
How the first interview will be conducted: by video, in person (where?), a first exchange by phone…
If possible, indicate the contact details of your future contact person to simplify this first contact.
10: When to post your job?
Our little extra tip: think of job seekers as workers.
And yes, the days and times when job ads are most in demand are during business hours, not on weekends, holidays or vacations. We did a study on the ideal day to post a job ad.
Someone who is looking for a job will generally base his or her search activity on a professional activity: when his or her partner is at work, when the children are at school. When friends are working and therefore not available.
Many job seekers have a routine, a schedule that consists of getting up as if they were going to work, looking for the best ads in the morning and answering them in the afternoon for example.
When their family or friends go on vacation, they do the same to stay together.
So your ad will have more chance of success if you publish it on Sunday to be seen on Monday or Tuesday morning than if you put it online on Friday afternoon!
Bonus tip: distribute and track your job offers
If you regularly manage recruitment, whether for fixed-term or permanent contracts, temporary workers, trainees or apprentices, you need a tool to save time, ensure follow-up and monitor the entire recruitment process!
That’s exactly what our Jobaffinity recruitment software does:
Simplify your life, save time and optimize your recruitment, while posting in a few clicks on major job boards and LinkedIn. It is also compatible with most HR applications and software such as CentralTest, Assesfirts TalentPlug, etc.
We come back to the analogy of the introduction: publishing an ad is close to a marketing or advertising action: knowing your target (the ideal candidate profile) knowing what they want/are looking for (refining your tone and what to put forward) and concise, clear and transparent information.
We know, because we talk to our clients: recruitment is getting harder and harder, it has become complicated to find the right candidates.
The first step is to make sure your advert is accurate: it will attract more qualified profiles and save you time. The next step? Sort out the CVs and applications!
Recruiting is about setting up a long-term partnership, not filling a box. Never forget that in the end, it is a human being talking to another human being, a future colleague at that!