5 simple things to include in your job ad to boost applications

We asked, job seekers answered. Here are the 5 most important things people look for when weighing up your job ad.

A well-crafted job ad is key to finding the right candidate for the role. So, it pays to get some insight on what people really think about your ad.

Sharing the right information is key: 76% of people find it frustrating when a job ad contains inaccurate information, SEEK research reveals. Plus, 67% find it frustrating when there’s not enough information.

Salary, type of work, job description, location and industry are the top five factors people use to decide if a job is right for them, the research also shows.

Expert recruiter Kara Atkinson says these factors are all-important in this competitive job market, where the choice is with candidates.

“They know what they want, and they know there are in demand,” she says. “With that in mind, job ads now need to focus less on the employer purpose, and more around crafting a story on why the candidate should care.”

Hybrid work and flexibility are no longer perks, they’re expected, Atkinson says. People are searching for work that complements their life and other commitments.

“Job ads that recognise this will always garner the best results,” adds Atkinson, “I’ve often chatted to candidates who say to me, ‘I couldn’t not apply for this role because you wrote it differently and spoke to me.’”

We spoke to Atkinson for more on why these top 5 factors matter, and how best to include them in your job ads.

1. Salary

Almost half of candidates (42%) consider salary the most important thing they look for in a job ad and this impacts what ads they do apply for. Job ads with a visible salary on average receive up to 47% more applications than ads that don’t, according to SEEK data. 

“Your employees drive your business forward, so if their income impacts their stability in some way, that's going to impact their productivity,” Atkinson says. “That means their salary is directly linked to your company's success.”

Many people will use a salary filter to refine their job search results, as well as using the advertised salary range to work out whether a role is a good fit. Being upfront with salary saves time for you and for candidates.

Tip: Include a salary or salary range in your job ad. If you’re concerned your salary isn’t competitive, include benefits you can offer such as flexible work policies, gym membership or staff discounts.

2. Type of work

People will look to the work type – such as full or part time – to consider how it fits into their lifestyle. So, think about how the work type of the role will appeal to different candidates.

Atkinson says many women want balance. “They want to ‘lean in’, but they want to be able to tuck their kids in at night,” she says. “They don’t want to feel exhausted all the time.”

“The concept of retirement is changing,” Atkinson adds. “Today’s workers have a much more fluid vision of when and how they want to retire.”

Tip: Highlight in your job ad whether the position is part time, full time or if it’s negotiable.

3. Job description

A detailed job description gives people structure and clarity around what the job involves. It outlines tasks and responsibilities and, after hiring, it sets a reference point for performance measurement. “This enables pay and grading systems to be structured logically and fairly,” Atkinson adds.

Tip: Include clear information about what the chosen candidate will do in the role. Break up the text with paragraphs, sub-headings and bullet points.

4. Location

“Location goes hand in glove with flexibility,” Atkinson says. “Commute time is often directly calculated by candidates as time away from their families.”

Atkinson is not surprised that higher numbers of women rank location as important. “I often have conversations with women who say, ‘I don’t care what the role is, just get me close to home,’” she says.

Tip: Make sure you include the location of the role, including if working from home is an option.

5. Industry

Consider that some candidates will be looking to move within the industry, while others will be looking to enter it as part of a career change.

“Most skill sets are highly transferable,” Atkinson says.

Tip: Be open to candidates who may not have industry experience but may have a transferable skill set.

By including these 5 factors in your job ads, you’ll put yourself in the best position for attracting great candidates in this job market.

Source: Independent research conducted by Nature on behalf of SEEK interviewing 4,000 Kiwis annually. Published November 2022.

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