How to Write an Effective Hiring Ad for your Small Business

by / Tuesday, 01 July 2014 / Published in Small Business Hiring

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Hiring is a big and time consuming process in any type of company. In a small business setting, where each employee is counted on to contribute so much, hiring becomes even more important to get right the first time as turnover combined with the costs associated with finding and on-boarding talent can quickly drain company resources. While a large part of getting the right employees will come down to how effectively business owners are able to vet the resumes they get and how they can gauge the potential of an employee during the interview process, the hiring process starts with the ad that they put out announcing the open position. Making the ad as specific and intriguing as possible will allow business owners to attract the top level of talent suited to their job opening.

Be specific about the responsibilities of the position, and include mandatory proficiency.  Including the specific details of the position that you are offering is essential in order to make sure that the applications you are getting are actually qualified, and beyond simply being qualified are interested in filling the position you are offering. If a hiring ad is left vague, there is the possibility that you will get resumes submitted by people who are applying to every single job that they see that they think they might have a shot at getting. Because of this, the applicants may not actually be qualified and might not really care whether or not they match up with the real criteria of the job. While you can generally weed out unqualified applicants by asking well thought out interview questions, it is better to try and save both your time and the applicants time before they interview for a job they have no chance of getting.

Be upfront about the compensation that comes with the position. Like not listing the requirements for a job, not listing the compensation means that you run the risk of attracting applicants who are not actually interested in the position you have to offer. Digging through a pile of resumes finding a few that you like, only to discover that none of your preferred applicants are actually interested in the position when they learn more is a waste of time. Most positions that are paid and are not internships should have a healthy number of applications, and if you are offering compensation that is not commensurate with the role you are trying to fill, it is possible that more needs to happen within your business before you can support another full-time hire and you will need to allocate current resources more strategically.

List the qualities of an employee who will do well within your business’s culture. It is just as important that an employee communicate and work well with others that they be able to perform their jobs should they be working on a tightly knit team. You may wish to detail the office environment that you have as well as the dress code if there is one. Describing the office environment as “laid back” will attract a very different set of applicants than one the is “fast paced”, so be aware of how your office is and try and portray it faithfully. The better that a potential applicant is able to picture exactly how their job will be, the better you will be able to find applications who are genuinely interested in the opportunity you are offering. Reflect on the most desirable employee qualities and then list them as preferred in your ad.

Include a call to action along with the value of the position. Wrap your hiring ad up with a rehash of the main points in your ad in the same way that you would finish an essay, then close with a call to action encouraging qualified prospects to apply. The one two punch of the job’s benefits coupled with an incitement to follow through will help you gather more resumes, which, when coupled with the clear and informative copy in your ad, should give your business the best possible chance at picking through qualified applicants.

Photo Credit to Alan Cleaver on Flickr

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