Tips to write a Compelling Job Ad

Posted on Friday, February 18, 2022 by EditorNo comments

Increase your chances of attracting the skills you need, in the currently highly-competitive candidate market.

It is important to keep in mind that a bad hire can hinder a business more than it can help it!

The Central Queensland market for candidates is currently very busy and competitive, with an increasing number of businesses struggling to attract the skilled workers they need.  In turn, job seekers are becoming more and more selective and discerning about the positions they apply for and the types of opportunity they're interested in.

I always find it interesting to look through a variety of job advertisements and too often there is nothing particularly captivating about the ads I read.  Writing a strong job ad is an effective way to reel in the strongest prospective candidates, and increase the talent pool you have available to choose from.

A job advertisement is often what gives potential candidates the first impression of your company.  So, your job ad not only needs to include all the right information, it also needs to be well-written and intriguing enough to compel the right applicants to apply.

Here are 7 things to think about when you’re writing a job ad for your business:

1) Write a strong headline including the job title and start date

The job title is the most important part of your job ad and it needs to stand out, the moment a potential applicant comes across it. Be sure to include it in the largest heading of your job ad.

Steer clear from adding jargon, and terms like ‘ninja’, ‘guru’, and ‘superstar’ as most candidates see these as gimmicky.

As fun and creative as they sound, no candidate is going to type “sales guru” into Google – aim to use industry-standard titles instead. Mention the level and type of role, and use terms that candidates would search for.

Additionally, near the top of your job ad, be sure to give a general idea of the start date. Especially if the role is for an immediate start, candidates that are available will be especially motivated to apply, as they could get a job in days in comparison to weeks or months.


2) Tell your company’s story

When writing your job ad, assume candidates have no idea about your company or customers/clients.  By providing some interesting information early in the advertisement, the goal is to spark the interest of potential candidates and encourage them to read on.

Think of your perfect candidate as if they are a prospective customer and market your business and it’s “why” to them in a similar way.

Start off with a short introduction on who you are and what you do. Try to keep it to one small and succinct paragraph.  It’s also a good idea to include basic company information like the year it was founded, as well as the number of workers currently employed.

This is also a good opportunity to highlight your achievements, reputation and your company’s mission and core values.

What are you most proud of?

What do your current employees say is good about working in your business?

3) Business culture is key

The ideal candidate will suit your workplace culture. This means they share the same values and align with your business vision, so it’s essential to include this in the job ad. Outlining the ultimate vision for the business and explaining its mission as a driving force will set the tone for your prospective employee, and ensure it defines the purpose of their role.

Increasingly candidates want to know how they would be contributing to the overall company mission to determine whether it motivates them.

Communicate your EVP (employer value position) as this is key to fostering a healthy workplace. The best candidate will smoothly adapt to business growth, so you must promote professional development benefits, and explain what they will get in return for their skills and experience.

Studies show that over 70% of professionals have left a role that wasn’t a good cultural fit so it is important to be transparent from the beginning. At the interview stage, re-iterate this point. Ask your candidate what they value most in a company’s culture to determine if they’re a good match.

4) Don’t ask for specific qualifications and experience you don’t need

Depending on the role, key qualifications and experience are important to finding a suitable candidate.  However, they must be well considered and I personally recommend differentiating between what are “essential” and “desirable” qualifications.

Isolating prospective applicants by overstating required qualifications or experience will cancel out potentially suited people.  If someone is a great fit for the culture of your business and they are highly motivated to work hard and develop, this can often compensate for someone who is qualified but does not possess those important characteristics. 

In a nutshell, make the expectations of the role realistic to target your audience.

5) Include the salary or pay rate

Surveys by Glassdoor and Linkedin have both found that salary is the top factor candidates look for when deciding whether or not to respond to a job ad.  Other important factors were benefits (including flexibility and work from home options), location, commute time and employee reviews.  However salary/pay was top of the list.   

There are varying opinions on whether salary or pay details should be included and lots of reasons why it is often left out by employers.  However the evidence suggests that you will receive a higher response rate if you include it.  Including the pay details gives employers a competitive advantage when trying to attract candidates.

If you can’t, or really don’t want to include a specific figure, then providing a range is a good alternative.  Data from Jobadder states that job ads which include a salary receive an average of 30% more applicants than those where this information is left out.  

6) Add visuals

Visuals make a big impact and over half of job seekers are more attracted to a company that incorporates visual elements in their job postings.  As the old adage goes, “a picture tells a thousand words”.

Always incorporate your logo/branding in the ad.  Where possible, displaying your company’s product or service is very effective.  Applicants also tell us that they find photos of current employees appealing.

Be creative with your visual elements and maybe add video testimonials from employees.  Have them talk about your company, its culture, why they love to work there and why job seekers should apply for a role. 

7) Call to action

This is a simple and very important one that can easily be overlooked.

It is essential to make the application process easy.  Spell out how and where to apply and save yourself an influx of unwanted emails and phone calls. You don’t want to miss your prime applicant because of an admin oversight.

If you are using a job board website such as Jobs In Central Queensland, we suggest instructing candidates to apply via the “Apply for this job now” button only.  This can be set up to forward candidate resumes and cover letters to your specified email address, or forward them to a specific url link for your own recruitment website, or applicant tracking system. 

I see lots of ads that include an email address or other methods to apply but this can cause issues if you are advertising on multiple platforms and trying to accurately track the results of each ad and source of your applicants.

If you have any questions that myself and the Jobs In CQ team may be able to assist with, please don't hesitate to contact us


Tim O’Brien

Director and Business Talent Scout

Jobs In Central Queensland

Connect with me for advice or assistance:




“Tap into our network of targeted brand and specialist services, to connect with the right talent for your CQ business”.

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