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How to Craft the Perfect Job Advert

We help our members recruit for over a thousand jobs posted on Wired Sussex each year, and regularly give advice and guidance; helping attract the best talent from all across the country.

Along the way, we’ve seen what works and noticed some common mistakes. With that in mind, here are our top tips for your next job advert:

Write an advert, not a description

There’s a distinct difference between the purpose of an advert and the role of a job description. A job description is designed to inform employees of exactly what their job entails. Whilst your job advert should be based around what you can offer the candidate – after all, it’s an advertisement, and it needs to entice people to find out more about your company and consider applying. Think of it like a newspaper article. Make it interesting from the start – you want to hook readers early!

Remember, if you’re concerned about leaving anything out, you could always link applicants to a full job description within the advert.

Don’t waffle – keep it succinct

People have a limited attention span while browsing online. Microsoft research found that people lose interest after just eight seconds online – that’s one second less than the attention span of your average goldfish! - so make those seconds count. Too much information can backfire - it will make the role seem overwhelming and deter job seekers from applying.

Try not to dilute what’s really exciting about the opportunity by overloading the advert with unnecessary information.

Advertise the salary

We simply can’t stress this enough: jobs that advertise salaries perform much, much, better online. And it makes sense when you consider that a good application will probably have taken someone a few hours to write, so when you give no indication of the salary, they will be less likely to spend their time on applying - or worse yet, they’ll just assume you’re offering below-average salaries.

If you’re worried about restricting yourself to a fixed amount, you can always give a range (and add dependant on experience) or say 'up to £X'.  At least that way, everyone knows where they stand, and you’ll just be hearing from those genuinely interested in the role.

Also, if you’re unclear of what you should be paying, get in touch. We can help by benchmark salaries for you.

It’s not all about the salary, though… 

Think about what you can offer jobseekers in return for their skills. It’s a really competitive market for talent, and you need to remember that as much as candidates need to impress - you also need to create a good impression. So, think about what you can provide alongside just the salary – perhaps you’ve regular team socials, a staff development budget, good holiday entitlements, flexible working hours, or the opportunity to work on unique projects.…  

A good salary is a start, but it’s rarely enough to attract the best applicants.

Consider what’s ‘essential’ and what’s ‘desirable’

When giving an overview of the role think carefully about the skills you consider to be truly essential. Remember, every ‘essential requirement’ you list will likely mean you lose a few applicants from applying who were missing just that one thing, but in hindsight, would you have preferred to have still heard from them? If the answer is yes, then perhaps it’s a ‘nice to have’ rather than an ‘essential’ requirement of the role. 

Aim off for candidates who may be suffering from 'imposter syndrome'. It is increasingly common and can give candidates an overly pessimistic view of their abilities. Craft your advert carefully to help them see that it is worth applying for your job. 


Avoid gender-biased language 

It's easy to accidentally exclude people by using gender-coded language in your adverts. This can massively limit your potential to reach a wide audience and can even foster diversity issues within your businesses.

There are loads of great tools online that can help you check whether your advert has subtle linguistic gender-coding, such as Textio or Gender Decoder - check out this blog post for more advice on the matter.

Also, following the point above, did you know research shows that women are unlikely to apply for jobs unless they meet 100% of the criteria, while men will typically apply after hitting just 60%?

Short, simple, standard job titles

Job seekers will likely be scanning through loads of adverts together to quickly identify the leads they plan to revisit and properly read later. Therefore, the tile of your job needs to make sense immediately and we find those that perform best online are the ones that are super direct and don’t conflate the purpose of the business with that of the job role.
The magic formula is: ‘level of experience’ + ‘area of expertise’. e.g. Senior Ruby Developer, Junior Copywriter etc…

Tell your company story

Job seekers will be trying to gauge what it’s like working at your business. So, give them a hand and provide some fun tidbits on the company culture. Saying you have monthly team outings, a swanky coffee machine or regular yoga sessions may seem unnecessary, but it helps paint a more memorable picture, as will talking about some of the exciting clients and projects you’ve worked on!

Location is important

Unfortunately for some, the location of your business can be a big factor in the number of applicants you receive. Yes, an office in Brighton is a selling point, but don’t avoid talking about where you are based if you’re further afield.

Think of your location from a job seekers perspective; they are likely trying to figure out what their commute time will look like. So, if the office is based in a remote location talk about the positives: are you surrounded by beautiful countryside? Close to a train station? Have onsite parking?

Career progression

Talk about the opportunities for progression within the role. Do you offer staff development and support? Is there a clear path to promotion? Nobody wants to feel like they’re hitting a dead-end, so explain what you can do to help job seekers progress within their career.

Get a second opinion

Once you’ve drafted the advert, try to find someone to have a read and give you some impartial feedback, as it can be easy to miss things you assumed would be obvious to readers otherwise.

Just a quick reminder: we’re always happy to help members with their adverts - so give us a shout if you’d like to discuss the position before posting :)


Give a great customer experience

Think about the impression you give applicants when they apply and look for improvements you can make. Why not treat your recruitment strategy like you would your sales funnel? If you get a high-quality application, don’t wait a week to respond, as they may get snapped up quickly.

You want to review each interaction you have with applicants to ensure you are creating a positive impression and keeping job seekers invested throughout the whole recruitment process.

Consider sending confirmation emails to everyone who applies, outlining the next steps of the application process and give clear dates on when they should expect to hear back from you. And if they’re not successful, offer feedback and guidance. Just because they weren’t right for you this time around, doesn’t mean you won’t find a role in the future they’d be perfect for. Also, you never know, they might even recommend you to others!

Recap why they should apply

Finally, you should close your advert by summarising why it’s a great job opportunity and leave readers with a call-to-action to apply.


If you are interested in finding out more about how Wired Sussex can help find great people to grow your business, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

About the author

Ophelia Schultz-Clark

Community Assistant

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