How to Get Results from Your Job Ads

How to Get Results from Your Job Ads

This week's article is targeted at employers. Running a job site, I see a lot of ads coming through the company every week. The difference between a well-written ad and a poorly written one is like night and day, with the best ads pulling up to 50 times as many resumes.

The business model for online job boards such as originated in the USA. The idea was to replace newspapers with the Internet, and thus much of the same process has been retained - particularly the fact that employers write their own ads. But this model is flawed. What we have learned is that unlike newspapers, people on the Web expect far more information about the topic being discussed. Basically, newspapers are seen as a limited medium for reporting terse facts, whereas Web sites are seen as a comprehensive research tool.

So what you prepare for an Internet posting, both in volume and quality, matters.

The ideal job ad is a short encapsulation of the most interesting parts of a job, plus the high end of the possible salary spectrum. After capturing the attention of a jobseeker, there should be a link, taking the candidate to another page with a lot more detail in it. This backup detail should be professionally written and read like a polished magazine article. Yes, this costs more, but if you're spending JPY300K - JPY1MM on job ads, you should probably add another JPY200 - 300K and get the job done properly. The results are worth it.

About three A4 pages of writing is a good length. Here, you should go into why the company is better than its competitors, why the future colleagues are desirable to work with, and what the advancement opportunities are. Basically, you are selling the company, so put as much effort into the exercise as you would into a company brochure or print advertisement. The results can be amazing, with people being drawn out of competing companies simply because they "see the vision."

You can get quality company descriptions written up by an ad agency, but your best bet is to go to a professional job board, such as, because you're selling to a different audience than your usual consumer demographic. They will want to conduct several interviews, by phone and in person, and take copious photographs. Particularly important is an interview with the company CEO, and with the manager that the new candidate will report to. Comments from future co-workers are also really effective, although of course that could open you up for unsolicited approaches from other headhunters, so make sure that the people being interviewed are solid and intend to stay long-term.