By Simone Lockhart


With the rise in job vacancies hitting record levels, it is now a real challenge to stand out from the crowd, and yet so many companies are still sticking with the old-style job description advert telling candidates what they need to get the job rather than telling – or should I say selling – the reasons someone would want to join your organisation.

It’s time to move away from "what you must have" to "why you must join", and turn the traditional advert on its head by leading with the benefits rather than the skills and experience required.

You need to imagine the person you’re trying to attract, your "ideal" candidate – why not model it on one of your current employees – and ask yourself what they would want to know about your organisation to trigger their interest. You could even go a step further and actually ask your people what would make them apply.

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Lead with what makes yours a great place to work. Talk about culture, opportunity, autonomy, team, ambition, flexibility and the working environment.

Tell them about your great products and/or clients, what you do differently, and tell them how their role will have a positive impact on the organisation.

Most job boards will show three to five lines of text as a preview, so the initial impact needs to be there to get potential candidates to click and find out more. The important thing here is to use your space wisely, and once they’ve clicked, capture their interest with all of the key elements of the company and role that will entice them to apply.

LinkedIn is a great place to showcase your opportunities but you need to invest time in getting the right strapline and images. If you can, steer away from boring job titles and the stereotypical stock images we all see 100 times a day. Why not use real photographs and talk about what prospective candidates will be doing, rather than just listing the title of the role.

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Even better, why not create a video and really show people what it’s like to work for your company, and all the reasons they should want to join?

Of course, it’s also important you get the right people to apply. There’s no point in having lots of applications with none of the skills you actually need to get the job done. Let the advert do the talking and once you’ve got people hooked with your opener, then they can rule themselves in or out based on what they’ll need to be successful in the role.

Other key essentials include location, hours of work and any flexibility, and of course the big one, remuneration. Salary and benefits will always be a huge factor in someone applying for a new job so please do include it, even if it is a range and dependant on experience.

Simone Lockhart is the group commercial director of the Taranata Group.