Attracting Good Candidates – The Magic Of The Advert

Published 2 Aug 2022 | 2 min read

Until what seems like relatively recently, the Situations Vacant section of the newspaper – especially on a Saturday – was rife with ads all vying to attract suitable candidates. While the purpose of the advert hasn’t changed, go to any newspaper and you’ll be hard pressed to find the Sits Vac section, far less any significant job advertising.

Fast forward 20 or so years, and the majority of people not only no longer subscribe to a physical newspaper, but they get all of their information and updates online. Recruitment sites such as Seek and Trade Me are now popular go-to locations for recruitment ads and the whole premise of advertising has changed. People scroll through on-line ads quickly and you have just seconds to hook their interest. Candidates are also on the lookout for the WIIFM factor – what will they be offered that fits their lifestyle and their career development aspirations? 

Writing a compelling job advert is the first hurdle to master. Here we offer some general tips on this first step in the recruitment process: 


1. You have less than 30 seconds to catch a candidate’s interest 

When writing the advert, try to think of your audience by addressing their needs first. Rather than focusing on what the company wants, flip this 180 and focus on what’s important to your target audience. Considering the following will enhance your chances of attracting good applicants: 

  • Who’s your target audience? 
  • What do you want to tell them? 
  • What’s important to them? 

Candidates are far more likely to read your advert if they understand the language and it matches their key job criteria. Removing any jargon not commonly used outside of your organisaton is also a plus. 


2. WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?

Typically, things that candidates want to know are the job title, the location and salary (if this is something that your company allows). Candidates make their decision on whether to read the advert based on these things. Next, they want to know: 

  • Who you are and what you do (products and services, culture and what makes you special?) 
  • What they will learn (induction, on-the-job training and capability development) 
  • What they will do (hours, day-to-day responsibilities and required outcomes) 
  • How they will be developed (career progression / development) 

You are aiming to attract quality candidates, so featuring what’s important to them early on in the advert. Create the ‘desire list’ - the selling points. 


3. The structure of the advert 

Effectively communicating what you are looking for is vital. A generalised advert structure could be: 

  • Job Header 
  • Selling Points 
  • Quick company introduction 
  • Why the role exists 
  • Purpose of the role 
  • Key day to day responsibilities 
  • Key skills and experience 
  • How to apply – your ‘call to action’ 

4. Humanise your advert

Don’t base your advert on a position description. Use words and phrases that people in the job use to describe what they actually do. This helps to humanise your advert and will resonate with your target audience. 

5. Feature your logo 

Including your logo is important branding and will raise the awareness of your organisation. People buy what they’re familiar with and the same applies with job opportunities. 

6. Think carefully about where you place your job advert  

Where you place the advert plays an important part in attracting quality candidates. If not well positioned, your target audience won’t see it. Current employees are excellent for this information – if they were on the job market, where would they look? And importantly, track your advert locations to ensure that you gain an understanding of which mediums were most effective. 

Back to Articles