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Writing an effective online recruitment advert

Writing an effective online recruitment advert


HR managers and in-house recruiters are under increasing pressure to ‘get recruitment right’ the first time – and we are all well aware of the implications of getting it wrong. So when you’re hiring, can you afford to make a mistake with your recruitment advertising?

In October 2014 the number of advertised jobs overtook the number of jobseekers for the first time since the recession began. In that month alone more than 900,000 recruitment adverts were published. 

For many, your online advert will be the first interaction jobseekers have with your company and brand, so it needs to be positive, well written and appealing for it to stand out from the crowd.

 An effective job advert should:

Inform and attract relevant talentDiscourage irrelevant candidatesIncrease recruitment efficiencyPromote your employer brand


Who do you want to engage?

Each advert should connect with your target audience through the type of language, expression and motivation you use. The tone and style of the advert should be ready to effectively communicate.

Choose an appropriate job title

Avoid using internal or vague job titles. Stick to titles that jobseekers are likely to be familiar with and will search. Job boards partly work on a keyword relevancy basis and having an appropriate job title is key to making sure the right talent easily finds your job. Being specific and keeping it relevant saves time for both jobseekers and hiring personnel.

Promote your employer brand and get content right

To attract the best talent, choosing the right content is crucial. Your advert is your product; the readers of your advert are your potential customers. The aim of the job advert is to attract interest, clearly communicate the essential (appealing and relevant) points of the role and requirements, highlight the rewards and benefits, and provide a clear response process and mechanism. 

Three key areas to consider:

Provide a good overview about your company and its culture; consider the reasons somebody would want to work for your business. Limit to short clear sentences, avoiding industry jargon.Include an overview of the role, the description may be as simple as a few sentences or a list of bullet points (preferred for ease of reading). Jobseekers should be able to gain a general understanding of the day-to-day duties by reviewing the list (avoiding assumptions based on job titles). Begin the list with the most important responsibilities and duties.Identify the most important and essential experience, qualifications, skills and attributes required and place these in order, again ideally as a bullet point list and under a requirements header.


Include keywords for search engine optimisation (SEO)

Don’t forget, job boards work on a keyword relevancy basis so think of the terms your ideal applicant is likely to use when looking for such a position and be sure to use these throughout the advert.

Salary and benefits

Include a salary wherever possible. Candidates are more likely to apply for a position if they know the salary guide; it provides reassurance that they can afford to take the risk of leaving their current role for yours. If the salary is uncertain or negotiable provide a salary band and state ‘negotiable dependent on level of experience’. 

Failing to provide a salary guide will affect the search ability of your advert online and response quality. Also, don’t to forget to mention other benefits offered such as any bonus scheme, annual leave entitlement, free onsite parking, contributory pension, life insurance, flexi-time, regular social events organised etc.

Keep it legal

If you’re unsure of the legal do’s and don’ts when writing an advert make sure you take the time to look them up or seek professional advice. As an employer it’s your responsibility to ensure your advert is not discriminatory. Even simple phrases such as ‘requires a minimum of two years previous experience’ could have implications under age discrimination legislation. For more information refer to the 'Equality Act 2010: guidance'. 

Final points to consider

Be clear and concise; avoid jargon, acronyms, internal phrases and symbols (these can translate poorly online); don’t make it too long or too short; use bullet points and headers for ease when reading. Remember to include key responsibilities and requirements for the role but don’t just copy and paste the job description and person specification.

Be clear how applicants are to apply, provide an email address for submitting CVs and cover letters. List a phone number if you prefer to be contacted over the phone.