Part 8 of our blog article series: "Strategies for business success"

 (and part 1 of 3 of our mini blog series on "How to build a great team")

Employees are one of the biggest assets a business has. Having a great team of people not only makes the working week fun but also ensures customers and clients enjoy their experience with your firm and want to come back again and again.

When it comes to recruiting, it helps to change your thinking from "finding the right people" to "attracting the right people". There is a small but subtle difference there – with the first you are assuming you have the choice from an endless pool of talent, when in actual fact you are just as much putting your company "on the market" as the candidates are. The trick is to highlight your brand as an attractive and desirable workplace in order to draw in applications from the best and brightest talent.

Whatever media platform you choose to advertise your job vacancy on (traditional print media, online platforms such as Seek, Trade Me, Linked In, etc), everything revolves around crafting a great job listing.

Here are some guidelines for writing a listing that *zings*:

SEO (Search Employment Optimisation)

According to Seek, 69% of all job searches on their website include a keyword search. This means naming your job position appropriately is a must. It may seem cute to call for a "Green Machine Executive", but if job seekers are searching for "Groundskeeper", you will be missing out on your target audience.

Likewise, including other relevant keywords in your listing, like your business location, or industry-specific diplomas or certificates required, will assist job seekers to find your ad amongst the masses.

Why, oh Why?

It's not necessary, but sometimes it helps to start off with 'why' - why do you need this vacancy filled? If you have a long-time staff member retiring, it demonstrates that people like working for you and you are a good employer. If you are hiring due to business expansion, it shows your company is growing and succeeding. These subtle snippets of information can help make your company appealing to job seekers.

Big Shoes To Fill

Introduce the job position: what is it, what does it involve, and who will they be reporting to? Write a clear, unambiguous list of tasks and duties, so a candidate can assess if they fit the requirements. Avoid vague, wordy allusions which are designed to sound clever and academic, but instead will confuse. For instance, consider using "marketing" instead of "brand awareness facilitator" – it's succinct, and people understand it.

If you intend using the same job description from last time you advertised the job, check if you need to update it – often a position will evolve (sometimes drastically) over time, especially if one person has been doing it for many years.

Wants and Needs

Next on the list are the "must have's" – skills, qualifications and/ or experience that are simply not negotiable because, without them, a person will not be equipped to do the job successfully. Bear in mind that the longer the list, the narrower your pool of potential applicants becomes. So consider the list carefully and remember that some people may not be academically-minded but learn very quickly in a 'hands-on' situation.

A "desirable's" list is a good compromise when culling back the "must have's" list – it lets people know these attributes will be looked upon favourably, but they may also stand an equally good chance without them.

Express Yourself

Towards the end of the listing is your opportunity to sell your company and its culture to the potential applicant. A few brief sentences outlining your firm's values, ideals and mission statement can help someone decide if those values are in line with their own. Don't underestimate the power of injecting some light humour - people appreciate seeing the human side to a company!

Of course this is also the perfect opportunity to brag about any employee incentives you provide: health insurance, performance bonuses, career development, work/life balance, flexible hours, superannuation, etc. Sometimes it's these types of benefits that will appeal to an applicant more than just the base salary range. Other benefits can come in the form of convenient location: proximity to childcare centers, parking, or public transport.

Many job seekers will also use the power of the internet to research a company before deciding to apply for a position. Take a quick tour through your company website and try to see it through fresh eyes – does it look like the sort of company you would want to work for?

Formidable Formatting

Designing your job listing for visual appeal is vital. An advert that consists of a solid block of text is daunting, and a reader will likely tire quickly and move on.

Including your company logo at the top of the listing offers a three-fold benefit:

  1. instant brand recognition
  2. visually sets your listing apart from the others
  3. a great way to introduce imagery and colour to the listing

Using formatting tools, such as bold subheadings and bullet lists, help to break up and organise the text. This will make reading easier and allows people to skip ahead to sections of interest.

You Had Me At Job Vacancy

Lastly, let the job seeker know how to apply. Do you have an online application form on your website? Do they need to e-mail a CV and application letter, or should they phone the HR Manager? Whatever method you request, make it as easy as possible by supplying links or contact details. You don't want to miss a fantastic application because your process is too complicated.

Sold It?

All done! Or are you? Before hitting 'submit', look over your listing and ask yourself "is this eye catching?" If not, revisit your formatting and layout so it is easier on the eye. Then ask yourself "would I apply for this job?" If the answer is "no" you need to reword, redesign and refine until it becomes a "yes".

Remember that you are merely one firm among a sea of others, all fishing in the same ocean. Make your listing the tempting bait the talent pool is attracted to.

Look out for part 2 next week: "Employee on-boarding: How to do it best to impress" - why hiring someone is only step one in creating a great team.


What are your tips for creating a winning job vacancy ad? What do you look for in a listing when you are job hunting?

Our payroll and employment specialist Vicki is only a phone call away if you need assistance with your recruitment and on-boarding processes. Or send her an e-mail - she'll be happy to help!

       E-mail Vicki


Vicki Cozens  |  Chartered Accountant  

Keep on eye on our blog this month as we present a series of articles on
strategies for business success

You won't want to miss these!

Subscribe to our monthly blog titles e-mail