How to write a great job ad that attracts top talent to your small business

- March 8, 2023 4 MIN READ
Well-dressed young execs lined up for job interview with resumes

While tech sector job cuts have been rife in recent times, the influx of skilled workers to the jobs market is a boon for small businesses who have a rare chance to snap up tech professionals with real world experience in some of the largest companies in the world. But how do you attract them to your small biz? Sebastian Morgan, career expert at Resume Genius, shares four excellent tips for writing a job ad that attracts top talent to your workplace.

We’re not sure if you heard, but the tech industry is in a bit of a shambles right now. As of February 2023, around 270,100 US tech workers have lost their jobs following a wave of disruptions that rattled the typically robust industry from November last year.

The situation isn’t much better in Australia, where a further 85,000 workers have been made redundant since the new year, by official counts.

It’s an ugly turn of events for these industry professionals. But for small businesses and startups it presents a rare opportunity to attract Big Tech talent to their teams. Still, that doesn’t mean impressive CVs are going to start tumbling into your inbox.

You’ll need to fine tune your recruitment strategies to find the best candidates while the talent tide is high, and that starts with how you advertise to the job market.

How to write a job ad that top talent can’t resist

Two people shaking hands, sealing the deal

Follow these four tips to write a job advertisement that attracts top talent to your small business.

1. Understand your target audience

The best adverts on TV and social media all have one thing in common: they know how to speak to their target audiences. Job adverts (surprise, surprise) are exactly the same. They deliver the best results when the people who made them have clearly identified who they’re trying to reach and what they want to see.

Identify what employees want in your industry by reviewing other ads for similar positions. Check sections like ‘Why Work with Us’ to reveal standard employee benefits as well as noteworthy perks that are more likely to attract top candidates.

Take the size of these competitor organisations into consideration – your budget might not allow you to match every employee benefit out there. It’s never a good idea to inflate your offerings beyond what you can sustainably offer your employees. Doing so will erode trust in your company, and hurt your chances of hiring top talent long term.

2. Craft a compelling job title

A well-written job title is crucial for making sure the right candidates find (and click) on your advert. It should be current, concise, and accurately reflect the responsibilities of the role.

Follow these tips to write a compelling job title for your vacancy:
  • Use industry keywords (and be as specific as possible). For example, ‘Copywriter’ and ‘Staff Writer’ are similar titles, but the former is more likely to attract marketing professionals than the latter.
  • Avoid industry jargon and clichés. No one will take you seriously if you’re looking for a ‘Social Media Guru.’
  • Adapt your title to different platforms and job boards. You don’t need to emphasise that a position is work from home on a remote job board, but you might want to on LinkedIn.
  • Mention the location (if there is one). E.g., ‘Greater Melbourne Area (Hybrid)’.
  • Write short and clear titles. Between 50 and 60 characters is plenty.

3. Write a great job summary

Successful job summaries are clear, concise, and reflect the primary purposes of the job. They’re normally written out (rather than bulleted) and are two to four sentences long.

In other words, keep it short, sweet, and accurate.

online job adverts board

When you’re aiming for top talent, the job summary is key. Experienced workers will already know roughly what the basic requirements are for a specific job in their field. So the first questions they ask when they see your job ad will be ‘what is this employer like’ and ‘what are they looking for.’

Draw them in with action-oriented language and the second-person voice. This will make your summary more engaging and give it more personality — which is what you want when writing job ads for startups, specifically. For example, ‘You’ll work closely with our account managers to deliver creative content,’ sounds heaps better than ‘Reports to the account manager and responsible for writing content.’

Similarly, you can improve the clarity by only focusing on the job’s essential functions. Specific details can be bumped to the ‘Responsibilities’ section and discussed in more detail when you get to the interview stage.

A slimmer summary might feel short when you draft it, but it’ll make far more persuasive to job seekers when they’re skimming your ad to see if they’d be a good fit.

4. Make your list of requirements clear and realistic

Your list of job requirements is often the first part of the job advert that job seekers will look at, so it’s important to think carefully about what you want to include.

Organise your requirements into two categories: skills applicants will need to handle the job’s responsibilities, and skills applicants should have to excel in the role. Then write two bulleted lists of requirements: ‘You’ll need:’ and ‘You’ll ideally have:’.

Formatting your job requirements in this way will encourage more highly skilled workers to apply (because they’ll see they have good chances of being offered an interview) while also encouraging less experienced but potentially promising applicants to also throw their hat in the ring.

By writing your job requirements in this way, you open the opportunity up to both highly specialised (but potentially more expensive) applicants, and more industry-mobile candidates who might lack your ‘nice-to-haves’ but offer transferable expertise.

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Now read this:

Can you give employees what they really want? Latest hiring tips for small businesses

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