10 tips to writing job ads in a candidate tight market

Drake Editorial Team

The latest NZ SEEK Employment Report shows that job ad growth is up 42% in January 2022 (y/y) which is an all-time high, while applications per job ad are at near-record-low levels.  

In a candidate tight market, attracting talent can seem like an impossible task, but it doesn't have to be. One tool to help you in your hiring process is how you write your job ads.  

Here are 10 tips to help you write effective job ads in a candidate tight market.  


  1. Use a Relevant and Descriptive Job Title

Some companies create job titles such as "marketing ninja" or "data guru" to attract candidates. However, the posting is unlikely to appear on their search engine results page.  

Stick to traditional job titles such as "Marketing Director" or "Warehouse Manager" to clarify the position to ensure it will appear in the candidate's search engine.  

The job title should describe the position's responsibilities and the job level. For example, "level entry barista" and "retail supervisor" are specific and precise job titles.  

  1. Keep It Short

It's easy to believe that the more information you include, the more likely you will find the right candidate. After all, prospective employees will make better-informed decisions before applying. 

You might be surprised to find that this is wrong. When it comes to jobs ads, less is more. Shorter job ads (300 words +/-) receive 8.4% more applicants than longer job ads (600+ words). 

Concise job ads are easy to read on any device. Include only essential information that won't lose your candidate's attention.  

  1. Use Bullet Points

Short paragraphs and bullet points will encourage your prospective candidate to keep reading the job ad. Bullet points will help: 

  • Draw attention to important information  
  • Break down complex concepts  
  • Make information easier to remember  
  • Candidates scan for relevant skills 

Your bullet points should be consistent and grammatically correct. Avoid ending bullet points with semicolons and mixing sentences and fragments in the same list.  

  1. Don't Forget the Details

To attract more candidates to your job ad, include details about the job, career progression, the company culture, and salary information. 

According to SEEK, 50% of ads that advertise with a salary below the market average underperform compared to those advertised with an accurate and competitive salary.  

In the same study above, Seek also revealed that 79% of job seekers agree that salary information should be transparent and included within the job description. Disclosing salary information can prevent time wasted for both candidates and clients.  

  1. Avoid Jargon

Jargon in job ads can confuse candidates and may even turn them away from applying. When a job ad is too saturated with jargon, your candidate will struggle to understand the role.  

Avoid words such as:  

  • Streamline 
  • Dynamic  
  • Self-starter 
  • In line with operational requirements 
  • Core competency  
  • Take it to the next level  
  • Proactive  

Instead, use plain language. When crafting your job ad, consider your target audience, background knowledge, and what you want from your job ad. Remember, clarity is key.  

  1. Sell Your Company's Culture and Mission

According to LinkedIn research, the number one obstacle candidates experience when searching for a job is not knowing what it’s like to work at an organisation. 75% of job seekers also consider an employer’s brand before applying for a job. To attract top showcase what your company culture is like and post regularly on prominent social media platforms. Keeping content fresh is important because 52% of candidates will look at the company’s websites and social media platforms to learn more about the organisation.  

Outline what your organisation values are and what your company goals are. Candidates are more likely to apply to jobs who have similar values and can see that there is career progression in the role.   

  1. Emphasise Job Perks

Candidates look for perks of the job such as work from home arrangements, a car park, or even a company car. A Trade Me Jobs Media Release outlined that in 2021, job hunters ranked work-life balance, security, and stability, and wanting a good culture fit as their top three priorities when choosing the right company to work for.  

Think about the benefits of working for your company. Write down a list and ask yourself why a candidate would choose your company over a competitor. 

  1. Make It Mobile-Friendly

According to Indeed, 78% of millennial job seekers start their job search on their mobile, followed by 73% of Gen Xers. You need to ensure that your job ad is mobile friendly. Lead with the most valuable information first such as WIIFM, about the company and key job responsibilities. Candidates want to avoid scrolling endlessly to find important information. 

  1. Provide a Call to Action

At the end of your job ad, give candidates clear instructions on applying or getting further information. Don't forget to include eligibility requirements and if you require candidates to provide a cover letter. 

  1. Proofread for Spelling, Grammar, and Bias

Job ads with too many grammatical errors can look like spam. This can result in distrust towards a candidate’s view of a company. Proofread your job ad before you submit or ask a trusted colleague to look over your job ad. 

Avoid biased job descriptions that discourage talented candidates from applying. Keep job titles gender-neutral to show that your organisation is inclusive. 

Writing Good Job Ads That Stand Out 

With the unemployment rate at 3.2%, the lowest since 1986, it's important to write job ads that attract candidates in a candidate tight market.  

An effective job ad should summarise the job specifications, include essential company details, and emphasise the perks.  

Crafting the perfect job ad takes time and patience. At Drake Hong Kong, we can help you find candidates suited for your role and company. Don’t let a bad job ad ruin your chances of hiring talent.



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