My friend and exceptional journalist, Roy Maurer, covered my Job Advertising session at SHRM Talent 23 and this is an excerpt from his article over at SHRM. Check it out:
Hiring often begins with a job ad. And attracting the right candidates starts with thoughtfully developing a targeted, creative job ad that stands out. Unfortunately, the vast majority of employers still practice the “post and pray” approach—posting generic job ads on a careers site and hoping someone will apply.
“Job ads are meant to interest people in your jobs,” said Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, an industry veteran, technology expert and author of The Talent Fix (SHRM, 2018), speaking April 17 at the SHRM Talent Conference & Expo 2023 in Orlando, Fla. “Applying is an outcome, but the interest must come first. Great job advertising is not about getting more people to apply—it’s about getting the right people to apply.”
Sackett outlined some job advertising fundamentals to help attendees craft more effective job ads, best utilize their recruitment marketing budget and understand the latest job posting trends.
Job Description vs. Job Ad
Misunderstanding the difference between job descriptions and job ads has long been an issue, Sackett said. Many employers are copying and pasting the job description—an internal document—right into the external posting for the job ad. But job descriptions and job ads are fundamentally different and require different treatments.
“The ad is designed to attract. It sells the job. The description describes it. One is created by recruiters [to attract applicants], and one is created by HR with compliance in mind,” he said.
“Recruiters must become more like marketers,” Sackett added. “Your job ad should be mission- and vision-driven. It should not be compliance-driven. You can have fun with it. You can be creative. Think about what it would take to get someone to apply. It’s certainly not a bulleted list of requirements.”
He recommended getting content ideas by asking people already in the role:
- What do you like about the job?
- What about the job challenges you?
- How would you describe this job to someone with no knowledge of the industry?
Sackett said that including a video component is essential. “Simply with the addition of a short video in the ad, 46 percent more people will apply. Even if the video is awful. And every ATS [applicant tracking system] has this functionality.”
Salary Range or Not?
The majority of employers are not yet required to add salary ranges in job ads, but doing so is another surefire way to attract candidates.
“If you can put the salary in the job title, you will get seven times more candidates applying for that job,” Sackett said. “Even if the posted range is under market, more people will apply. People want to know what they will be paid.”
The most common reason employers hold off on adding salary ranges is to avoid upsetting current employees who may not be making as much as a new worker, Sackett said.
Lowest and Highest ROI
Sackett said employers get the lowest return on investment (ROI) from their careers sites. “If you don’t advertise your career site, no one knows to go there,” he said. “You can spend time and money building a beautiful career site, but if you don’t advertise your brand to get people to go there, it’s like putting a billboard behind your building and wondering why no one sees it.”
He said that an employer’s highest ROI is its ATS database full of past candidates. This should be a gold mine of potential employees.
“The message is that if they are not hired, they are…