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A Job Description Is Not a Job Ad

Jeff Dickey-Chasins
Aug 10, 2011, 12:42 pm ET

We all know that a job description is not a job ad.

So why do we see so many boring, long, and legalistic job ads — postings that are really just job descriptions? I suspect it boils down to a few things:

  • No time
  • Not enough of the right kind of information about the job
  • Outside pressures (from the hiring manager, other departments, etc.)
  • A less-than-clear understanding of how to create an effective job ad

In a session at ERE’s fall conference, I’ll be tackling the challenge of creating compelling, enticing, and effective job ads. I’ll be looking at some of the best examples — and examining why the bad ones are so awful. I’ll talk about how a great job ad lowers your cost per hire and drives up the quality of your candidates. And I’ll cover why the art of creating a great job ad transcends any technological changes — be they social media, job boards, or ATSs.

Most importantly, I’ll break apart the different parts of a job ad and show you how they work, how to build them, and how to improve your recruiting results as you do so.

I encourage you to join me in “Job ads That Deliver Results,” Friday, September 9, from 2 to 3 p.m.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. Eric Putkonen

    “We all know that a job description is not a job ad.”

    Do we? It is so common that I think many don’t know. I can’t see how you could know and then post a job description…knowing its ineffectiveness and inferiority to a good job ad…but enough on that.

    I would like to include a couple more reasons for you:

    * Just lazy (everyone else just posts a job description)
    * The ATS doesn’t support it
    * Policy and approval process for ads deviating from job description

    I write this not only as someone with over a decade of recruiting experience, but also the owner of I have included additional fields like, “why work for us”? Also, the short description you see when you look at a list of jobs is not a segment of the first paragraph, but a separate field to enter – thus allowing you to really target and sell yourself.

    Guess what?

    I saw a short job description say “See job description.” for a job post. I am sure that will make someone want to click to read more – when they are looking at a list of opportunities.

    I have had discussions with HR people trying to post on the site, but they don’t have anything “approved” to put in the “why work for us field” (which is a required field).

  2. Recruit Smarter 2012: Create a more compelling job description

    [...] a deep breath, pat yourself on the back for expanding in this tough economy, and get to work on a job description. It's the single step that begins the process – and makes it simpler, from start to finish. [...]

  3. karl deitz

    Hi Jeff
    Would have loved to have been able to attend your session. i think lack of education (read lack of copywriting skills) and laziness are major components on why recruiters and job posters continue to write really terrible job ads.

    Why are job ads not approached the same way as a normal ad ?

    Surely there is the benefit of creating a targeted headline instead of just putting up “Customer Service Manager” Use keywords as necessary but don’t ever overlook the fact that you a. Want to attract the higher quality candidates and b. you need to get them to read your ad in the first place.

    We’re attempting to help out with as a guide and using proven success factors in a well crafted ad – results so far are very good.

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