How to write better job adverts to attract better applicants

The most important part of your job advert is the part that earns you the click (

It can sometimes be difficult for job seekers to comprehend the requirements of a job advert, which can result in lost opportunities for qualified candidates.

Every day, thousands of online job ads are uploaded for the droves of job seekers trawling the Internet in search of the perfect vacancy. They have a difficult time doing so - finding a job is a job itself! Part of the challenge is deciphering the story of each job advert. If they get it wrong and apply for a position they are not keen on, they end up going through an interview process to find out. And looking at it from the job seeker’s point of view, it’s easy to see how to craft a great job ad that will bring the right applicants to your inbox.

All hail the title!

By far the most important part of your job advert is the part that earns you the click. Job seekers cannot see your entire advert straight away – they search for it on job portals, and only see a title, salary, location and a shortened description. Sometimes, the company name or recruitment firm’s name is mentioned as well. From that information, they will click further only if it sounds interesting.

So get your job title correct! Make sure it accurately describes the position, but also is specific. Seeing another job titled Project Manager doesn’t tell one the industry or level of the position. A senior digital Project Manager thus may glance over it, even if it is the right job for him or her.

Browse and find the perfect digital project manager jobfor you.

Re-write the job description (please!)

Adverts that are clicked on display all the text in the description and possibly some other information, such as job level, qualifications and experience needed and so on. This is not the place to copy and paste the job description written by the HR department. Those look so boring and contain obvious or cryptic sentences like: “Assist with knowledge sharing to colleagues”.

Simply write a few short and clear bullet points, not hidden messages. Order them by importance and make them sound like you’re the person doing the job, telling your friends at an event or party. If there is something special the new hire will have to have, include it there and at the start somewhere to avoid the wrong people applying.

Read more about structuring the perfect job advert.

Order your advert correctly

After getting the title and main search result page details right, make sure that once clicked upon, your advert shows up in a neat and concise order. First off, a sentence or two about the essence of the job is best. Then the main 4-5 requirements are laid out, giving the potential applicant enough information to decide to read further or not.

After these two sections, a fuller, rewritten description can be given, followed by interesting details such as office culture, things about the firm, certain perks and other attractive selling points to entice the right candidate to apply.

Include salary details

While this is a touchy issue, research shows that better candidates apply when salary is available on the advert. This is probably due to the advert simply having more information for the job seeker to make a better application choice.

The main point is clear: the more information you give job seekers in the right order, the better they can judge if the position is for them. You may think that you miss out on applicants that you think are great, but they know that the role was not for them. This saves you loads of time and resources in a recruitment search.

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Jesse Green is Country Manager for Adzuna, a South African online job aggregator, who regularly writes on the journeys of job seekers and employers, focusing on how to better recruit talent. He is very passionate about online recruitment and has spent many years in both recruitment consulting and working for some of South Africa's top classifieds websites.