How to Write a Successful Job Ad

Kelly Cantwell

Creating an attractive job ad can be challenging, but knowing how to write a job advertisement is critical to attracting top talent to your organization. Let’s take a look at why job ads are so important, how they differ from job descriptions, the necessary elements, and some tips on how to write a job advertisement that will get the attention of the best candidates.

How important are job postings in the hiring process?

Job ads — also referred to as recruitment ads, job listings, postings, or announcements — are an essential piece of your hiring campaigns. For an external audience (i.e., prospective job applicants), they serve as the hook that grabs attention and gets candidates to learn more and apply. For an internal audience (colleagues, co-workers, and managers), a job posting announces an opening and allows them to see the basic requirements, tasks, duties, and benefits.

Job advertisements may vary depending on where they’re posted or published. If you post the ad on your own website or branded job site, you’ll have unlimited space to talk about the job, your organization, your company culture, etc. Other websites may have stricter space limits or requirements, so you may need to have several versions of your job listing.

Are job ads different from descriptions?

The short answer is yes, job ads are different from job descriptions — but the two are closely related and should include many of the same elements. Whereas descriptions are more comprehensive and serve more often as an internal resource, job postings are primarily used for an external audience and are meant to summarize the description in a way that entices talent and helps you hire the right people.

You’ll definitely want to start by developing a thorough job description first, because this will be used by you and your team as an in-house tool throughout an employee’s time in that role. By creating a clear, thorough description that outlines the necessary traits of your ideal candidate for each role at your company, you can create a job posting template that can be used again and again when you hire new staff.

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How to craft a great job posting to generate interest

Knowing how to write a job posting is key to attracting the attention of top job prospects. You’ll want to spark the interest of potential candidates by outlining the overall job duties, highlighting the main responsibilities and requirements, as well as explaining why your organization is a good one to work for. Here are four steps that will help if you’re wondering how to write a job advertisement that will attract strong applicants.

1. Don’t forget to include the most important information

A good job ad will make a position with your company sound enticing — but don’t spend so much time on promotion that you forget to add in important details about the job! Although job advertising should be shorter and punchier than a job description, job ads still need to include specifics so that a high number of top-quality applicants will apply.

In general, you can use the following to create a job posting template for all job postings. For every recruitment ad you create, you should:

  • Choose a straightforward, concrete job title. Skip trendy or confusing descriptors like “ninja” or “czar.”
  • Note the job location. You might also mention if travel is required and/or if the person may work all or part-time from home.
  • Include a job summary. Explain why the role is being offered, how the position relates to the business at large, and what the right person would bring to the position.
  • Outline what your new employee would be responsible for. Don’t write a complete laundry list, but outline the most important duties, as well as whom they’ll report to, if they will manage other employees, and if travel would be part of the position (if not noted above).
  • Precisely explain the necessary qualifications. Be specific here, because this is a chance to eliminate unqualified applicants. Your requirements list should include must-have job experience, certifications and/or level of education, skills, and personality traits, as well as any competencies or characteristics discovered by benchmarking employees.
  • Provide a pre-interview testing list. If pre-employment tests are part of your interview process, include information about which tests will be given to qualified candidates.
  • Include salary and benefits information. Don’t skip this. Candidates want to know what the salary range and benefits are before they take the time to apply. And sometimes, candidates may be willing to take a slightly lower-paying job if they’re offered benefits such as flexible hours, the option to work from home part time, etc.
  • Describe your company culture and your mission. It’s also a good idea to explain how this particular role fits into your organization’s overall goals. This information is especially important for attracting younger candidates, who are more likely to select a company based on mission and values.
job posting template

2. Make your job ad attractive

If you’ve been thorough in creating your job description, you’ll have a good idea of what kind of personality traits and skills a successful candidate will have. Use language in the ad that incorporates these characteristics and helps people see themselves in that role.

For instance, if you need to hire someone for a position as a data analyst, you’ll want to note that the person should be detail-oriented and organized. As a classic Type C personality, that only makes sense. But just as important is wording the job ad in such a way as to actually attract the kind of person you need, such as highlighting independence and problem-solving opportunities. You can gather this data by benchmarking beneficial personality traits as part of your job analysis.

3. Connect the applicant with the brand

Candidates — especially millennial and Gen Z candidates — want to know what kind of company they’re working for and how they will play a role in the overall mission and goals of your organization. Explain the values of your company and what you stand for, as well as how this particular role fits into those values.

For some applicants, company culture and perks such as a dog-friendly office or inclusive holiday policies may be even more important than salary, so be honest and open about who you are and what you do.

4. Give clear directions on how to apply

Make it clear what steps candidates should take to apply — and be consistent in every job posting template. The best plan is to have one central hub or applicant tracking system where all applications are funneled, received, and reviewed so nothing gets missed.

Where can you post your job ads?

Once you feel confident that you know how to write a job posting, there are many ways and locations to post your job ads, and you can also get the word out to your greater network of contacts via email.

Here are a few places to start with your job advertising:

  • Your own branded job site. Your company website is a good place to start, especially if you have a Careers/Jobs page. If you’re using an online hiring system, you can create a branded job site that serves as both a virtual job board and secure central hub for collecting applications and sharing information with your hiring team.
  • Other job posting websites. Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor are three of the best-known online job sites, but don’t limit yourself to these. Using a variety of different sites that reach different communities — such as and iHispano — can increase the diversity and success of your workforce.
  • Social media. LinkedIn is one of the most popular places for businesses to announce job postings, but depending on the position and your following, you might also post on Facebook or other social platforms.
  • In-house publications. Don’t overlook the possibility that the right person for the job might already be part of your team! In-house newsletters, company emails, and messages can be great ways to get the word out to internal candidates or generate employee referrals.

Improve the effectiveness of your recruitment ads with a hiring system

Developing compelling job ads and creating a job posting template takes some effort, but will ensure that you attract more high-quality candidates and hire the right people. And when you choose an online system like Hire Success® you’ll not only create more effective job ads but also be able to take advantage of features that range from branded job sites to pre-employment tests, benchmarking and customized interview checklists — as well as employee management and retention.

Kelly Cantwell

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