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Managers and HR alike often complain that they simply do not get enough qualified applicants for the job. Is that something you recognize as well?

In a highly competitive and global market for candidates, I often try to view it from the candidates’ point of view. What would make me interested in a certain job – and what could actually make me apply for another job?

There are of course numerous factors as to how candidates can be made interested in another job and many methods to move them. However, I find that two areas are vastly underrated in the majority of companies: A clear description of the job – and a job ad that actually sells the job.

Often we are quite focused on telling about the company, and describing what we need in order to be happy, however we may not always be as clear in telling what is in it for that candidate. And here I do not mean the compensation and benefit part but the actual tasks that the person will undertake and expected to be a high performer in.

What are the typical mistakes we make?

There is a clear connection between good communication theories and how to write an excellent job ad, and there are some differences. E.g. it is imperative that the text is clear, to the point, concise and “selling” – but in job adds, we should not be as worried to write longer ads with a mixture of both prose and bullet points.

Another typical mistake is also to use in-active language with a lot of “-ing” in the language or view it from an “inside-out” perspective, using terms and abbreviations that no-one outside the company actually understands.

The excellent job ad – what should it contain?

It actually starts with ensuring that the manager describes the job thoroughly. So let’s imagine a position where project management is part of the tasks: then you should describe how much of the entire job will it be, what actual tasks do you do, how big and complex are the projects, give concrete examples of current or future projects that are similar, or actual projects candidate could undertake, who do you report to, how – and how often, and so on.

Also think in terms of: Why should a candidate choose this particular job at our particular company, i.e. define actual USPs?

And once you have that in place, write the job ad with a mixture of selling and concrete headlines, sub-headlines and prose/bullets mix. And in a tone of voice that fits your company culture – and the people you want to attract.

Remember: If you want relevant and interesting applications to read, then you should make sure that your job ad reflects that as well…

Heidi Wassini – Global Recruitment Manager , Ramboll Oil & Gas