Three Magic Ingredients for an Awesome Job Ad

Young Chef Cooking in the Kitchen

The unfortunate reality is that most job ads suck.

They suck the life out of the reader with lifeless, corporate copy.

And they suck meaning out of a candidate’s job search by omitting the kind of information that might actually get a candidate fired up. Does this job matter? What’s this company all about? What’s it like to work here?

The good news is there’s a better way – a way that will have your candidates skipping to interviews, ready to convince you there’s no one better for the job.

Just add these three magic ingredients to your next job ad and get ready to be amazed.

First, Start With WHY

Every organization in every sector has a WHY.

Yes, EVERY organization.

You don’t have to be a non-profit to have an amazing WHY. Maybe the product you make helps people to live happy or healthy lives or maybe the service you provide means people spend more time together. Whatever it is, put it front and center.

People increasingly care about the purpose and meaning behind their work. Working with others to achieve something that matters may be the most important thing you offer your employees.

To get you thinking about your WHY ask: What is the positive difference my organization makes in the world?

Second, Show Off the Perks

Purpose is probably the most important thing you cover in a job ad, but once you’ve done that, show off anything else you can about your job or organization. I lump these together as perks.

You probably have perks you’re not thinking of. For example, your offices are in a gorgeous historical building, filled with light, right beside a subway station. Awesome. Say it in your next job ad.

Here are some other perks you might not be thinking of:

  • Free parking
  • Proximity to public transit
  • Work from home or other flex work arrangements
  • Opportunities to cover for senior management or the CEO
  • Autonomy – no boss watching over your shoulder
  • Office closed between Christmas and New Year’s
  • Latest phones, gadgets and technology
  • Annual events, parties, and trips
  • Award winning culture
  • Days off to volunteer

To get you thinking about your perks ask: What are all the reasons our employees like working here?

Third, Remember – You Are Talking to Real People

R2D2 Lego Figure

Unless you hire robots, your audience is people.

This means you can talk to them like they are… people. You can write like you talk. Keep it simple. Ditch acronyms. Ditch boring information from your org chart.

Be funny if you’re funny. Be warm if you’re warm. Be cool if you’re cool.

Second, people are more interested in themselves than they are in you. Try to talk a lot about “you” and not too much about “us” and “we”.

Lots of job ads also start with the org chart – “Reporting to the head of bla bla bla in the department of bla bla bla” – but most readers won’t understand what you’re talking about.

And no one will understand your acronyms. My own company uses an acronym that no one inside the company knows what it stands for! We know what it refers to but if we put it in a job ad you wouldn’t have a snowflake’s chance of figuring out what it means.

To get you started ask: What does a day in the life of this job look like?

Ask yourself these three questions and you’re on your way to writing job ads that attract the right people to work with you. You’ll attract people who share your WHY and care about the things you care about – and with applicants like that, you’ll have a great time interviewing and building a team.

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