Here's why your job ad might not be performing according to the experts

In a competitive employment market, the content and structure of your next job ad can determine whether job seekers click the ‘apply’ button. So, how can you make your job ad work harder for you?

Job ads are a crucial step in attracting the best people for your team. While every industry is different and there are many factors that affect job ad performance, there are some elements that boost their likelihood of success.We’ve asked experts about what elements stand out to job seekers and how you can improve the performance of your job ads.

          1. Follow a clear structure

Data from SEEK shows job seekers spend between 7 and 10 seconds looking at a job ad before deciding if they’re interested. So, it’s good to avoid writing very large slabs of text.

Zimier Capistrano is a Customer Service Representative at SEEK, and an expert in helping customers optimise their job ads. He suggests capturing job seekers’ attention with information that’s easy to digest.

“We recommend using subheads and bullet points to break out the key information,” he says. “More than 50% of candidates look at job ads on their phone through the SEEK app, and it’s much easier to read information on a phone if there are headings and bullet points.”

Capistrano recommends starting with a job description that includes company benefits listed in bullet points at the top of your ad.

“It’s such a competitive market at the moment, so starting with benefits at the very top encourages people to keep reading, because they know straight away what’s in it for them.”

“From there, I usually recommend listing responsibilities or duties under another subhead, then the skills and experience that's required, followed by information about your company.”

2. Limit the jargon

With limited time and space to capture candidates’ attention, it’s important to make every word count. Mark Smith, Managing Director of recruitment firm people2people, suggests reducing the use of jargon.

“Phrases like ‘dynamic workplace’, for example, are over-used and not very specific, and candidates will just gloss over them” he says. “Be authentic and original, and use your ad to give job seekers the information that makes them want to apply for the job.”

3. Consider including salary

Salary was once kept under wraps at the start of a recruitment process, but Capistrano says this is changing. “We’ve found that one of the main things that drives people to apply for jobs is salary transparency,” he says.

“Candidates really value their own time, and there’s a growing attitude of why spend time applying for a job when their salary expectation is out of step with what that employer is offering. Salary is an important driver for job seekers, so I recommend including it in your job ad.”

4. Mention company-specific benefits

Money matters, but it’s not the only thing that drives people’s employment choices. Smith advises hiring managers to use their job ads to promote employee benefits and show candidates what’s in it for them.

“You may not be able to list all of the perks that you can offer, but make sure you include the key things that are going to attract people to apply,” he says. “For example, if your workplace is located far from public transport, but you offer car parking, include it in your ad.

“And if people can work from home, include it in your job ad – it’s a deal breaker for more and more job seekers and that kind of flexibility is what they really want.”

5. Offer an insight into company culture

Job ads are an ideal opportunity to promote your company culture, but it’s important to be specific. Do you offer flexible working, for example? Do you provide regular team activities to build collaboration? Do you invest in the latest technology to drive innovation?

“I usually recommend including information about your culture in the benefits section at the top of your job ad, rather than making it a separate section,” says Zimier.

Smith adds that it’s important to be genuine about your culture. “If things like diversity and inclusion and purpose are important to your organisation, make sure it's in your job ad, but don't put it in there if it's not,” he says.

Attracting the best talent can boost your business' success, so it’s never been more important to make your job ad stand out. Make sure you include the elements that people really want to see, such as salary, benefits and company culture. And limit the jargon so they can understand exactly what’s in it for them.

Independent research conducted by Nature of behalf of SEEK, interviewing 4000 Kiwis annually. Published March 2024.

Read More: