Advertise HR jobs

Employment advertising tips

Despite the proliferation of social media channels, the old fashioned job advert still plays a fundamental part in the recruitment process, so it pays to get it right!

A poorly written ad may not just be a waste of your money and time - it may also detract from your employer brand and make it more difficult to attract the people you need.

On the other hand a really well written ad may catch the eye of that stellar employee who can make all the difference to your organisation!


Structure your advert

Don't underestimate how much candidates can be put off by a poorly written ad. It's important to set some quality time aside and put some effort into the content and structure of the ad.

There should be a logical sequence to a job advertisement which draws the audience in and persuades them to keep reading. Half an hour spent writing a really good ad can be a valuable investment. It may even take longer, but if you're going to advertise it's worth doing it well.

  • Tip: It can be difficult to come up with a creative advert under pressure, sometimes the words just don't flow. Try to set time aside to write ads well before the copy deadline or before you want to post the ad.

The Title!

The title is the first thing a prospective candidate will read in your ad. If it doesn't hold their attention it will be the only thing they read before moving on to the next ad. The title is very important!

The advert title is usually the job title, in which case make sure it accurately reflects the nature and level of position, otherwise consider using a different advert title. Also consider a 'grab line' - a short statement about the position intended to grab the attention of the audience. This may appear immediately after the title or even be added on to the end of the title. For example "HR Generalist - career progression opportunity!" is more appealing than "HR Generalist".

  • Tip: Unless you are an organisation at the top of your field and widely recognised as an ‘employer or choice', then I suggest you do NOT identify your organisation in the title or the grab line. People may have pre-conceived impressions of particular organisations or may have a negative view of working in a particular sector or industry.

    Remember, you want people to read your advert before they decide whether or not they are interested!

Bullet points

Many advertisers use bullet points after the title. Bullet points can be useful to highlight positive attributes of the position and the company and persuade the audience to keep reading. But that's all bullet points should be used for. Reiterating the title or stating the job reference number are hardly going to grab the attention of the reader. In fact it may say "I couldn't think of anything to put in the bullet points but they were on the template so I used them anyway".

The Organisation

The main body of the advert should begin by giving the reader some information about the organisation (the employer) and highlighting the positive aspects of the work environment. They may know of your brand, but that doesn't necessarily mean they know much about your organisation or what it might be like to work for you.

  • Tip: Don't assume that job seekers with instinctively know anything about your organisation.

The Location 

Obviously you should state the location of the job (if it's not already shown along with the title, in the case of many web based advertising products), but you may also consider expanding on this if the location may be a particular attraction.  

If you are trying to attract people to a regional area outside one of the major cities, say a few words about the location and what if offers in terms of lifestyle and amenities.

The Position

This should be followed with a description of the position or 'opportunity' and the major responsibilities, (particularly the more interesting responsibilities!). Only a summary is required - you want people to apply so they can find out more, or at the very least contact you for more information.

  • Tip: We sometimes see advertisers dump the whole Position Description into the ad - don't do it!  It's really obvious that is what you have done, it appears lazy and can simply be too much information at that stage of the process.

Do mention any factors which are unusual, such as a significant amount of travel.

Selection criteria

The selection criteria should be 'tightened' or 'loosened' depending on the response you expect. If demand exceeds supply, cast a wider net. Avoid including any specific qualifications or professional body membership that are not mandatory requirements - some people have a tendency to rule themselves out too quickly.

The Rewards

Unless you are sure you are offering a competitive salary by current market standards, or unless you are required to do so, don't mention the salary levels in the advertisement. You can always say that the salary is negotiable. It's better to get good response and discover that the salary you intended to offer won't cut it, than to publish a salary and get no response at all.

If you do mention a salary, make sure it is clear what it includes and what it doesn't include (such as statutory benefits).

Do mention any other benefits and attractions such as training, personal development and opportunities for career progression. If it is available, mention relocation allowance for applicants from interstate and/or overseas.

Application instructions and contact details

Make it easy to apply - avoid making applicants 'jump through hoops' to access more information about the job or submit an application. Make sure there is a contact name on the advertisement and if at all possible, provide an email address for enquiries and/or applications.

Good caliber, experienced candidates will be reluctant to submit their CV to an anonymous advertiser, or even a well known organisation which offers no means of following up on their application. The best candidates often want to discuss a position before applying, either by email or telephone.  (Check out the results of our survey)

If you point applicants to your web site, make sure the link works and the job/position description is easily found on your web site. If you use a web based application form, make sure it works.

Make sure your web site looks and works well on a smartphone!  A large percentage of people apply for jobs from their smartphone.

Other tips

  • Promote your job by emphasizing the positive attributes of your organisation as an employer and your geographical location. Be sure to highlight any benefits which might differentiate you from other competing employers. Mention career advancement prospects if they exist.

  • Unless you expect your advertisement to generate a huge response, be careful not to over qualify the advertisement.

  • Choose your language carefully. You are hoping to attract intelligent, tertiary qualified professionals. Poor grammar and spelling mistakes are unforgivable!

  • Whenever possible get a colleague to proof read your advert, preferably someone with a critical eye.

  • Make yourself aware of the law. Discrimination is unpopular and it's illegal. 

The final test

Put yourself in the prospective candidate's shoes - you're a busy professional - would you read this ad and would you respond to it?