Let’s start with a little refresher. You know those super-practical tips you find on every blog? Here they are again, but even more concisely this time:

  • Make it easy to find your job ad with the right SEO keywords and a clear (and simple!) job title.
  • Think about the 5 ‘wh’ questions: who, what, where, why and when.
  • Write specifically for the medium/platform you are posting on. 
  • Use short sentences/paragraphs with a fresh and active writing style.
  • Describe the job content as specifically and concisely as you can.
  • End with a strong call to action.


So, now we’ve refreshed your memory and upped our blog post’s SEO value, let’s talk about the more interesting insights that give your job ad that extra special something.


1. Show, don’t tell

The term ‘war for talent’ has already struck fear into the hearts of many employers. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the option to work from home has been an absolute must for many people. More and more attention is being paid to mental well-being, and mindfulness has anchored the concept of work-life balance as a yardstick for a healthy job.

But how do you incorporate relatively abstract ideas such as ‘working atmosphere’ and ‘work-life balance’ into the text of a job ad, which needs to be efficient and to the point? 

Enter that ancient piece of wisdom: ‘show, don’t tell’. 

‘Good work-life balance’ as a bullet point? Hmmm, it looks a bit suspect. It’s better to provide specific examples throughout the ad. For example, say ‘turn off your work phone when you’re at home’ as the last item in the list of responsibilities. Are there weekly meals together? Great, that illustrates team spirit much better than the distinctly average statement that ‘you will be working in a close-knit team’. 

In short, be creative when it comes to mentioning the less ‘measurable’ facets of a job. The only thing it’s best not to get creative with is the truth: be honest, just as you expect your applicants to be. Unless you’re recruiting people to test lie detectors or something. 


And, in case you’re wondering, these are currently the main deciding factors when people choose a new job:

  • Attractive salary/benefits package
  • Good location
  • Pleasant working atmosphere
  • Interesting job content
  • Job security
  • Work-life balance
  • Possibility to work from home


2. Raise your (tone of) voice

Your first day at a new company is always a bit stressful. What if I accidentally sit in someone else’s seat? What do people do at lunch time? Will it be okay to go outside and get some fresh air, or not? Do I need to ask permission to work from home? Will I get frowned at if I put on my favourite free jazz tracks?

Although these kinds of habits aren’t recorded anywhere, they determine how employees work together and how they experience their workplace and management. They create corporate culture. And the way in which your job ad is written reflects this culture. Or you can make sure it does, at least.

Which of the following do you feel most comfortable with?

A. ‘You can handle deadline stress.’
B. ‘You eat deadlines for breakfast.’
C. ‘You schedule realistic deadlines and meet them effortlessly.’

These three sentences convey the same message, but A makes you break out in a sweat, the humour of B makes you really want to go for it and C gives a sense of mutual trust and responsibility. 

To put it simply, it doesn’t necessarily depend on what you say, but how you say it. This is your chance to let your company culture and values shine.

‘Work from home or come and join our office regulars Margo and Kirsten.’  > friendly, personal, appreciative of employees

‘Join a team that works hard on projects and plays just as hard afterwards.’  > ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality, young, energetic

And so on… you get the idea!


3. Be careful what you wish for

So you want a sales-minded computer scientist with a PhD in home automation, at least 12 years of experience on the South American market and an in-depth knowledge of Pomerol wine varieties?

Two words: good luck!

Of course, few applicants meet 100% of the specified criteria. All the same, though, talent doesn’t grow on trees. It’s clearly a good idea avoid scaring off interesting profiles with a long list of random conditions. So be sure to state, either directly or indirectly, which skills or qualities are essential and which would be a bonus. 

Better still, say which skills can be honed through training or refresher courses. Research has shown that millennials generally attach more importance to personal development than professional development. In other words, the focus lies on developing talents rather than progressing within the organisation. Good to know, right?


4. Bring your job ad closer … and a bit closer still

Not too long, not too short, spell checked and all the bells and whistles in place? Fine, it’s time to pop it online. And say a little prayer. Because it’s a jungle out there on those job sites.

As a company, you used to choose your employees, but now almost the opposite is true: you have to make sure the jobseeker chooses your company. So it’s not a bad idea to think outside the box.

Where does this dream candidate of yours hang out? Might they be active on a specialised forum or Facebook group? Do they visit specific trade fairs? Would they go to the local shopping centre, or are they an avid reader of the regional newspaper? Fish out the facts and take your ad closer to the jobseeker. Otherwise, it might be a long time before the right fish takes the bait.


5. Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

There’s an abundance of tips, coaching and workshops, but what is ultimately the most important thing when writing a job ad? Simple: it needs to reflect your company and your values. The text must neither undervalue nor over-idealise your company. That’s the only way to find out who the slipper fits (inappropriate fairy tale, I know): someone prepared to put their heart and soul into your project.



No time to polish your job ad until it shines?

Leave it to us – we’ll make time! 😉 Contact Margo for a chat.

Want more tips & tricks?