Job board advertising – where you are going wrong!

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Job boards are a vital part of any recruitment process – they’re a great way of getting your job advert in front of lots of potential relevant candidates. However, it’s not as simple as copyimg-and-pasting the job specification and hitting publish – far from it!

Writing a job advert is a fine art – and one that can be perfected with a little thought, imagination and care. At Bubble Jobs, we’ve seen some of the best and some of the worst job adverts going, so we’re in a pretty good position to advise on what makes a good and bad job advert.

The best type of job advert has the perfect balance of personality and professional information – showcasing just enough of the brand culture to speak to the candidate on a personal level, but maintaining enough professionalism and including enough information to make the job (and company) appear reputable and attract the right sort of technically-gifted candidates.

It’s vital that, when writing a job advert, you put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. Think about what would make your perfect candidate want to apply for the role. With that in mind, here are a few things to think about when putting together your job advert:

Job Title

You need to find the right balance when it comes to the job title. For example, “Junior” will repel older candidates who feel too old for the role, whereas “Executive” may not bring this issue. In a similar vein, the word “Senior” requires a salary to match – so don’t use it unless you can cough up the cash.

When it comes to naming the role, it’s also important to forget those cringe-worthy titles. These types of job titles are especially prevalent in the digital industry, with the sector being littered with “Social Media Gurus”, “SEO Ninjas” and “PHP Rockstars” – to name but a few.

These titles may seem fun and innovative, but really they’re just putting candidates off applying for the role, because it seems overly try-hard and encourages the viewer to roll their eyes and move on – which means you might miss out on the perfect candidate.

Salary

The salary is one of the most important aspects of any job advert – go in too low and no one will want to apply, but go in too high and you’ll risk alienating and irritating current staff  as well as putting off candidates who assume to role is way too senior for them.

One option is to completely forgo including a salary at all, but opting for the popular “Highly Competitive” phrase could risk alienating even more people. So pick a salary that aligns with your existing employees and your location, and go with it.

Personality

Job adverts can be boring reads, especially if they’re just straight down the line, so – as I said earlier – it’s a good idea to inject some brand personality into the copy.

If you’re a fun company that doesn’t take itself too seriously, make sure this comes across in the job advert. Likewise if you’re a more corporate business who is very rigid and professional, this must come across as well. Identify your brand’s voice and stick to it. This will ensure that you attract candidates who identify with the business and will be a good fit.

Keywords

When job seekers use job boards, they tend to search relevant keywords relating to their desired role, so make sure your advert includes keywords that your ideal candidates would actually search for.

Again, put yourself in the job seeker’s shoes – what sort of things will they search for? Well, location, industry sector and skills are good places to start. Keep your job titles straightforward to ensure your advert appears higher in search results e.g. “Social Media Manager” will come up in more searches than “Online Brand Community Superhero” – it’s all about getting as much exposure as possible.

Also, be specific about the location of the role whenever possible. Putting “North West” instead of “Manchester”, for example, means not only will your job vacancy come up in less searches, but candidates will see this as a questionable role due to its non-committal location.

Qualifications/Skills

Most professions require very specific skills or qualifications, so make sure you include these prominently in your job advert, as this saves both yours and the candidates’ time by clearly stating what is required.

This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many job adverts are vague on essential skills or qualifications!

Format

Remember, your job advert is simply that – an advert. You need to entice candidates and keep their attention enough to make them want to apply, so the advert needs to be as appealing as possible.

This means it needs to be formatted correctly – avoid large blocks of text, instead choose bullet points for easy reading. Also, make sure the font and colour is consistent throughout the advert and that it’s tidy and looks professional.

Most importantly, make sure your grammar is spot-on and there are no spelling mistakes – if your job advert doesn’t appear professional, neither will your company!

All that said, job advertising isn’t the only way you can make the most of job boards. Lots of boards – especially niche ones – offer extra features that can really maximise your reach and attract a wider range of candidates.

It’s vital when choosing a board to advertise on that you’re able to negotiate the best deal for your business – a deal that’s appropriate for your needs and makes the most of what the board has on offer.

When looking at what’s on offer, it’s sometimes worth thinking about your long-term hiring plans, and if it would actually be more cost-effective to purchase a subscription package rather than several one-off advertising packages. Think about it: if you’re going to be advertising ten roles throughout the year, it’s definitely more cost-effective to buy in bulk than purchase single credits, especially as almost all boards offer a bulk purchase deal of some kind.

Also, make sure you have realistic expectations when you approach a jobs board. At the end of the day, they have to make money just as much as you do, so don’t expect everything for nothing. Sometimes free trials just aren’t possible – would you offer your services for free just to get some business? By all means negotiate, but be realistic as well.

As I said earlier, nowadays there are lots more advertising options to choose from on a job board than just the standard job advert. From e-shots to banners, social media promotion to blog advertorials, there’s a whole host of options ready for you to pick from. Think about what’s most appropriate for your business and which extras would benefit your advertising campaign the most. For example, if you’re recruiting for a number of similar roles, maybe a targeted e-shot which advertises the vacancies to relevant candidates is the best option.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Yes, job boards want to make money, but they also want your vacancy to perform as well as possible for the most competitive price, so they won’t want to rip you off if you approach them for some advice. Their most expensive package might not actually be the best option for your vacancy, and any job board worth their salt will be honest with you about what will work and what won’t.

Article by Lauren Riley, who is the Social Media & Marketing Manager for niche digital jobs board Bubble Jobs

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