Employee Management

7 steps for writing an effective job ad

Craft an effective job posting to ensure you receive the most qualified applicants.

Published: March 11, 2019

All too often, employers do not give proper consideration to crafting their job postings when in fact, they are an essential component of the recruitment process. A well-written job ad will potentially attract the most qualified applicants to your organization, and may save you from wasting valuable time on candidates who do not fit the bill.

Below are seven steps for writing an effective job ad:

1. Create a descriptive job title

You have a tiny window of opportunity to capture the attention of a candidate viewing dozens of postings at a time. A descriptive title might help you stand out from the crowd. To do this, build critical information into the job title. For example, instead of simply saying "Developer," opt for something more informative, such as "Senior Developer for High-Growth Company in New York City." This title delivers a considerable amount of information, and may help motivate potential applicants to read further.

2. Showcase your brand

Showcase your organization's image, market position, values, and culture. Your brand includes things such as being specialists in a particular industry or service area, company size and location, awards, or unique aspects of your corporate culture.

3. Specify the job and its qualifications

Include an overview of responsibilities, as well as specific requirements for the position, such as skills and experience, education, or special certifications. Remember to add details such as whether the position is full-time or part-time, whether travel is required, and where it is located.

4. Provide clear instructions on how to apply

Outline specific steps, such as emailing a resume, calling a phone number, or linking to your website's recruitment portal. Be explicit as to what the candidate should include, such as a resume, a completed application form, or verification of professional certifications.

A candidate's ability to follow your instructions is your first screening tool. If you're looking for a detail-oriented applicant, consider including instructions to copy and paste a specific line from the job ad in a cover letter or email. If the candidate includes this sentence when applying, you'll know they actually have paid attention to detail. If they omit it, you may want to weed them out instantly.

5. Proofread

And once you've done it, do it again. Then ask a colleague to take a look. You don't want to issue a job posting with inaccurate information, nor do you want the ad to contain spelling or grammatical errors—it won't reflect well on your company.

6. Remain Legal and Ethical

Keep your ad legal and ethical. Observe all laws, including nondiscrimination laws. For example, you can't state that you want to hire a person of a specific gender or race. Be realistic and honest, and don't make promises you can't keep.

7. Post for Maximum Visibility

Use standard job websites, specialized industry publications and websites, and even local media outlets if appropriate. Be sure to categorize the position correctly when posting. Also, leverage your personal industry connections by distributing the job ad throughout your own professional network.


HR360 is the award-winning online HR library featuring easy-to-understand guidance on federal and state labor laws and Health Care Reform, along with interactive HR tools and hundreds of forms and posters. HR360 also features step-by-step guidance in key HR areas such as hiring, performance reviews, disciplining, and termination. Reviewed and maintained by a team of attorneys, HR360 helps employers nationwide successfully manage their employees while complying with changing employment laws.

The content herein is provided for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or other advice or opinions on any matters. This information has been taken from sources which we believe to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy.

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