Recruitment series – Part 2: Job Advertisements

About the Author: Ashley Thomson
Ashley Thomson

In my role as business coach for small and medium size businesses, I’m often involved in recruiting a new staff member for my clients. (Are you up to speed? Check out the previous post on job descriptions)

When I think of the long list of job advertisements my clients have put in front of me, I’ve seen some absolute successes, some complete failures and everything in between.

And what I’ve found is a formula for success.

A few little tips, tricks and structures that help make job advertisements literally jump off the screen, and I’m going to share them to help businesses build from the bottom up.

So without further ado, lets get started. Firstly…


How many times have we seen advertisements that are titled “Melbourne Store General Manager” or content that includes “Answers to senior management”? Endless advertisement “blah” that would leave even the most motivated job seeker bored at their chair.

When you’re writing a job ad, remember that it’s an AD – you are ADVERTISING! Marketing 101 is all about having point of differences, so be different, stand out, take a chance to attract the best possible candidate you can.

Talk TO people, not AT them!

It seems so simple, but yet so shunned. Don’t be caught talking all about yourselves. Don’t use words like “we” or “us” or “our” as these words create a sense of exclusion. Employ words like “you“, “you’re” and “you want” and make people want to work with you.


It’s amazing how far simple wording and structure can strike a chord with people. Be positive. Be excitable or professional or elite. Write your ads so a possible employee tells themselves, “yes, ok, that sounds like me”.

So how about structure, and things to include?

Using the previous points as guidelines, we generally ensure that our adverts follow a set order of headings, attributes and a “day in the life”.

Headings are all about gaining attention. We need to stand out, so to stand out we focus on using keywords or phrases that tell the seeker what we’re about. For example, for a small business, we have used things like “small company, big opportunity” and “scheduling our clients with a smile”.

Then we focus on listing attributes. These are statements that tell an individual what a job is about and the sorts of skills that are required to be successful. Think in terms of things such as “good communicator” or “proficient with administration skills”.

The last thing that is essential to the structure is a section about the role. In essence, it’s about what “a day in the life” of a job encompasses. These points are generally derived from the job description (see our previous post) and relate to the categories mentioned in that document.

It gives a snapshot of what the employees will do in broad terms, and what they need to be successful.

We also like to ensure a few more things through job advertisements that make them go from boring to brilliant.

We like to include salary, the company, keywords and cover letter requests.

A few key points on why.

Salary gives potential employees perspective, and further entices them to apply.

The company gives the candidate a chance to do a bit of research, be aware of who they’re applying for, and if they’re smart, use that knowledge to prepare a good application.

Keywords help attract a wide audience. This might mean using “Melbourne based” in advertisements to appeal to a wider audience than specific business terminology might indicate.

Cover letters provide an opportunity for candidates to really stand out and show enthusiasm, which can be gauged by the amount of effort they put in.

So, there are a few hints and tips I’ve learned in my 12 years of business coaching. I hope sharing them will help to turn job advertisements around to grow your business by attracting the best recruits out there.

Next up in the Recruitment Series:

Part 3: The screening process 

Part 4: Telephone screening

Part 5: Face to face interview

Part 6: Reference checks

Part 7: Trial day