How to Write a Job Ad That Really Excites Candidates

Every candidate is individual.

And like a one-size-fits-all dress, trying to appeal to everyone often ends up appealing to no one! 👗

But once you’ve narrowed down your ideal candidate, you can do certain things with your job ad to create excitement and interest.

In this article, I break down the answers to these three questions:

– What do candidates look for in a company?

– How can you showcase the things that candidates are looking for in your job advert?

– How can you attract and hire a more diverse range of candidates?


Then stick around.


What Do Candidates Look for in an Employer?

The 2021 Workplace

Before we can truly dive into the needs and priorities of candidates, we need to assess the state of modern-day candidates.

In the UK, many employers are currently experiencing the diverse, sometimes challenging realities of accommodating a five-generation workplace. 🤯

But what does that mean?

Let’s break it down.

The 5 Generation Workplace

The Silent Generation

  • Born between 1928 and 1945
  • Largely retired

Baby Boomers

  • Born between 1946 and 1964
  • Largely retired, or planning to in the next 10-15 years

Generation X

  • Born between 1965 and 1980
  • Mid-career, well established


  • Born between 1981 and 1995
  • Mid to early career

Generation Z

  • Born between 1996 and 2012
  • Pre or early career

The idea of appealing to five generations at once might seem hard to wrap your head around, but it’s simpler than it seems.

I Promise.

6 Things Candidates Prioritise

Candidate needs and wants are shifting with the workforce.

As it stands, these are the six biggest priorities for job seekers across the generational board:

1. A Simple Application and Onboarding Process

An overly complex application and onboarding process could put even the hardest working person off.

When your application process is poorly organised and confusing, you give candidates the immediate impression that, as an employer, you’ll be the same.

Streamline, simplify and create an inviting process from the perspective of your ideal candidate, whoever that might be.

2. A Good Salary and Benefits Package 💸

Salary is a must-mention if you don’t want to wave goodbye to potentially very qualified candidates with no time to waste.

But salary isn’t the be-all and end-all. ✋

Benefits are of huge importance.

In fact, 79% of employees would prefer additional benefits and perks over a pay increase.

3. A Work-Life Balance and Flexible Working Options

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial for candidates, and it should be crucial for employers too.

Studies have shown that a poor work-life balance can lead to mental health issues, which in turn can lead to a lowering of productivity at work.

In a joint study of over 2000 UK professionals, the two most commonly listed career priorities were being valued within a company and work-life balance.

Flexible working options are also widely requested and prized by candidates, particularly parents raising families or younger people looking to work.

4. Opportunities for Development

This point is particularly crucial if you’re trying to capture the attention of less experienced job seekers for an entry-level position.

However, even later down the line, development is a priority for candidates.

Nobody wants to stagnate, and the ability to grow and develop in a company is something that most employees value highly.

Far fewer candidates will be interested in entering your company if you don’t seem to offer progression opportunities.

5. Meaningful Work

In a survey of 13,500 professionals conducted by Hays, 81% agreed that working at an organisation with a strong, positive purpose was of high importance when job seeking.

Particularly post-COVID, many in the UK are taking the time to actively consider their work and their impact on society. 🤔

6. A Diverse, Inclusive Workplace 🌈

Knowing that a diverse range of people will be safe and welcome in the workplace is of immense importance for many job seekers.

In fact, according to Monster:

  • 86% of candidates strongly value diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
  • 62% of candidates might turn down a job offer if the company culture doesn’t support a diverse workforce.

Write a Successful Job Ad and Tell Your Candidate Everything They Need to Know

Step one, complete.

Now, you’ve got those six priorities floating around in your brain.

Step two?

Demonstrate that you can meet those needs from the moment that the starting gun sounds and craft a job ad that excites candidates by responding to and addressing their top priorities.

If candidates value benefits, emphasise benefits.

If candidates value an employer with a simple application process, invest in making your process as smooth, quick and user-friendly as you can.

As you craft a job advert, keep your ideal applicant in mind every step of the way.

If you can write a good job ad, you’ll give all the information required to turn a candidate into an employee in no time.

How to Write a Job Advert That Excites and Attracts Candidates

Creating a stand-out stunner of a job ad might seem like a tough ask.

But with these suggestions, you’ll be fully equipped to do exactly that.

How to Make a Job Ad Stand Out 🙋🙋

Create Something Fit for Purpose

When you’re listing a job for candidates to discover, you need to create something for that purpose.

You can’t re-use an internal job specification, and you can’t throw up a job description and be done with it.

In fact, using a job description as a job advert is an unforgivable sin in the world of recruitment.


Know Your Ideal Candidate, and Speak to Them 🗣

As I’ve touched on already, one of the best ways to be heard in the sea of employers looking for employees is to know exactly who you’re talking to.

Once you have an ideal candidate in mind, you can meet them where they are by:

  • Appealing to the keywords they’re searching for – It might be tempting to list jobs under fun and fresh titles like “Code Ninja”, but what is your ideal candidate actually searching for?
  • Using their language – If you’re advertising for a role beyond entry-level, can you signify suitability by incorporating a few technical terms that would be familiar to your ideal candidate?
  • Focusing on their job priorities – Every generation in the workplace is different. From flexible hours to development opportunities, what does your ideal candidate care about most?

Inform, Don’t Overwhelm

If you could waffle on for a billion years, including everything needed in a job advert would be as easy as pie. 🧇🍰

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

When you’re figuring out how to write a job advert that excites candidates, you’ll have to carefully balance information and overload.

Statistics favour short job ads, with job postings of 1-300 words receiving 8.4% more applications per view than average.

It makes sense when you think about it from the job seeker’s perspective.

You might spend hours crafting the perfect ad.

Yet, for the candidates, you’ll be one of many.

So, what you’re bursting to include might not matter to them at all.

The best way to cut your advert down to essential inclusions is to consider what a candidate needs.

Emphasise Benefits

As I mentioned, many value benefits over everything, even the rate of pay.

So, don’t leave them out.

Emphasise them in your job ad, as they’re pretty likely to spark interest and excitement among candidates.

Don’t be afraid to turn to your existing employees for research purposes.

Ask them:

  • What are your favourite benefits as an employee of our company?
  • When you were applying for this job, what stood out to you about our company?

There’s no better point of data than an applicant you’ve already successfully attracted.

Spice It Up with Non-Traditional Methods and Mixed Media 🌶🔥

If you really want to stand out from the rest, you might consider diverting from the norm and trying something new.

Even if it doesn’t work for your company, you’ll learn from it.

Try adding some depth and intrigue to your job adverts via mixed media.

Throw in an infographic, a video, or anything that creates visual interest and adds value.

Alternatively, consider advertising for a job role in an unexpected location, swapping the job boards for your social media profiles.

Social recruitment can be a powerful tool for accessing a new pool of candidates.

Just look at how successful Disney Parks Careers’ job listings have been across LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook.

When you advertise in the right places, you find the right candidates.

Demonstrate Your Statements with Concrete Information

Don’t say things like:

  • “We have an inclusive culture.”
  • “Our employees are happy here.”
  • “Our company is award-winning.”

Offer concrete information to prove your statements, rather than filling your job advert with empty buzzwords and taking up valuable space.

  • “We have an inclusive culture.” What makes the culture inclusive? What policies are in place? Have you surveyed existing employees to come to this supported conclusion?
  • “Our employees are happy here.” As above, do you have surveyed evidence of this fact? Is there an employee that might like to give a testimonial speaking to this fact?
  • “Our company is award-winning.” Which awards? In which years?

Creating a Job Posting for Diverse Candidates

Another way to stand out and attract the best candidates is by creating a job posting that will appeal to diverse candidates.

Here’s how:

Use Inclusive Language 💝

Unconscious bias is a huge problem in the recruitment landscape.

If it creeps into your job adverts via stereotyping or gendered language, your business could lose the best candidate for the job before they ever complete an application.

Use inclusive, balanced language that won’t exclude, either consciously or unconsciously.

Emphasise the Supportive Company Culture

It doesn’t take much to emphasise that your company culture is inclusive, supportive, and friendly, but it can make a huge difference.

Adding a small note to your job ads to express this is easy and shows candidates that they can feel safe in your hands.

If you’re not sure where to start, here’s what HubSpot started adding to its job postings in late 2020:

“Confidence can sometimes hold us back from applying for a job. But we’ll let you in on a secret: there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ candidate. HubSpot is a place where everyone can grow. So however you identify and whatever background you bring with you, please apply if this is a role that would make you excited to come into work every day.”

These four sentences, tacked onto each listing, aren’t too heavy-handed. They’re not full of terms like “diverse” and “inclusive”.

They take a slightly more subtle approach, which makes them feel more personal, emotive and honest.

Create Wider Appeal with a Remote Position 🌍

On Monster, the top keyword search among candidates is “work from home”.

Since the pandemic, remote work has become more common than ever, and it’s not going to change. Many job seekers will continue to search for and desire remote positions.

If you’re truly looking to appeal to the widest range of people with your job ad, consider whether you’re able to offer remote opportunities.

Advertise in a Readable, Accessible Format

Accessibility matters, and accounting for it in your job ad will ensure that you don’t put off your ideal candidate simply because they have dyslexia and found your advert challenging to wade through. 🤦‍♂️

Don’t Overcomplicate Responsibilities and Requirements

Research shows that women feel they need to meet 100% of the criteria before applying for a job, whereas men usually apply after meeting about 60% of the criteria.

If you overcomplicate the responsibilities and requirements associated with the role and include things that are either not essential or not relevant, you risk increasing gender imbalance in your applicant pool.

Stick to the absolute must-includes and cover the rest a little later down the line.

Enlist the Help of AdBuilder 💪

Your final option, should you choose to accept it, is to enlist the help of AdBuilder.

Our job advert building platform is one of many super useful ways to automate the recruitment process – saving your company time, effort and headaches.

There are a million ways to stand out, and some of them are a bit more out there than others. But the guaranteed way to excite and attract candidates is to tell them what they want to know.

With AdBuilder, your ads will be consistent, streamlined and full of juicy, important information that gets candidates interested in applying.

Exciting Job Ads Lead to Exciting Applicants

Exciting, well-crafted job adverts pretty much always see the best results. We’re talking high-quality applications and dream candidates here. 😍

Whether you’re going it alone or using AdBuilder to do the heavy lifting, getting your job ads shipshape is an unskippable step in the recruitment process.

Stay with us and find out more about standing out, making an impact, and perfecting that first point of candidate contact:

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James Ball
Written by James Ball

James is the founder and owner of AdBuilder and a recruitment expert from Sutton Coldfield in the UK.  He regularly advises companies on how to improve and get the maximum ROI from their recruitment processes and advertising.

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