There’s nothing quite as demoralising as posting a job advert and receiving radio silence in return. If you’re tired of refreshing your emails to discover no applications in your inbox, or your heart sinks when no post is left on your desk, it’s time to evaluate the job ad itself.
Often there is nothing wrong with the role that is being advertised – it’s the content of the ad that can present issues. Your choice of words, the tone, how pithy the text is, the layout, what you include (and what you leave out) can have a huge impact on the application rate, especially if people are applying for multiple vacancies and therefore reading several job ads in one sitting.
A well-planned job ad will also save the recruiter time – a more honed, ‘tight’ description will yield the best applicants and lead to a speedy appointment. Being specific about experience or qualifications required, career prospects and company culture will act as a filter so only the most appropriate CVs are received, sent by the ‘best fit’ people.
Here at Bond Williams we have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of job adverts, and using our industry expertise, we reveal five reasons why your vacant positions are not being filled:-
Job description is too vague: job seekers like to know what they are applying for so they don’t waste their time. Your job advert must include a specific job title, sometimes the job title can be so wayward that jobseekers won’t have even searched on that company specific job title such as “sandwich architect” or even looked at the role as they don’t even understand the job title so you may exclude job seekers before they have even read the description, specialist skills, experience and qualifications are also required. It also helps if you include the hours of work, the location and whether the role comes with any flexibility.
Expectations are unrealistic: while we advocate being specific in your job ad, being overly strict with your requirements can be just as detrimental as being vague, putting people off applying. By all means list ‘must haves’ but be flexible enough to encourage a broad range of applicants that may impress you at the interview stage. They may be a great social fit and prove to be a first-class appointment with a little training or mentorship.
Salary is too low: the internet gives applicants the chance to find out the average salary for certain jobs and also browse what other companies are offering for similar roles. If your advertised salary is on the low side, you will be overlooked in favour of higher paying vacancies. You can, however, compensate for a low salary by highlighting any benefits, perks or packages within the advert. If you can’t offer a competitive salary, you may consider omitting any reference to wages at all although be prepared for a very wide range of applications, better to know the salary and whittle out those that are way off the mark.
The wording is boring: the language you use in your job ad needs to be exciting and different enough to attract attention when up against others. Use a strong but not ambiguous job title, a compelling opening sentence that describes the role and bullet points to outline the top requirements. You also need to sell your company, your culture and the prospects the job offers. Is there a fast-track promotion programme? Is training provided? Does your office have a gym or offer great annual leave? However make the description relevant to your industry, don’t say it is wildly exciting if it isn’t, you will attract the wrong type of people and they will only end up leaving.
Change your language: talk to your future employees in the second person, rather than at them in the third person. That means replacing ‘the applicant should’ and ‘we are looking for’ with ‘you should be’ and ‘are you our new star?’. A warmer approach will resonate more positively with applicants.
If you’d like help creating a recruitment advert, contact Bond Williams for advice on tone, style and content.
Hannah Hashtroudi (nee Darby)
Principal Recruitment Consultant
Hannah is a specialist in the Office & Commercial sector. Dedicated, hardworking and motivated, Hannah thrives on sourcing and placing the best talent from SME’s through to large blue chip companies across the region and in London. Hannah has grown an enviable reputation for sourcing high level senior appointments together …