Your team are happy, right?  You all work hard, achieve great things, have some fun.  There’s some banter, a feeling of being part of something good?

I wonder if I would get that impression if I read the job ad you are posting right now.

Because this is what I picture when I read the majority of job ads.  A miserable manager in a lifeless office.  No one has laughed for weeks.  The office environment is unloved.  Through the window I see grey clouds.  And rain.  Lots of rain.   Why do I see this?  Because the job description is grey.   It has no life.

You must know what I mean.  Many job descriptions are bland, littered with drab clichés that tell me nothing of what the job or company might be like behind the text on my screen.

Scan the jobs sites and the same lines came up again and again.  Take these examples for customer service roles.

Must have great communication skills

Works well in a team

Has a positive attitude

And a candidate for a customer role does need these qualities.  But when every job posts uses the same words, what makes one stand out from the rest?

It’s easy to shine on a job board full of grey

When I read these grey job descriptions, I can’t imagine a colourful, vibrant work environment.

But I’m wrong.  Of course I am.  Behind the dull exterior, some of these companies will be great places to work.  But how on earth can I tell which ones they are when they all sound the same?

There are exceptions, and they’re like a ray of sunshine.  I can picture the person they are looking for.  The company culture jumps from the page.

Let’s compare examples I found.  These are all from companies looking for customer service staff in the retail sector.

Job Responsibilities

Responsible for answering customer calls,  processing sales, queries and also customer complaints


You will be communicating with our customers through well-crafted and personal emails, warm chatty telephone calls and rapid-fire live site chat responses.

Required skills

Strong customer service skills both written and verbal


A natural, friendly phone manner and the ability to write lovely emails

Why choose us?

We are a multi-national consumer goods company headquartered in Dallas, Texas with retail outlets in sixty countries


We are a friendly, hard-working, close-knit team building an exciting and fast-moving business with all the ups, downs and crazy side-steps that entails

Can you see the difference?

Why does a good job ad matter?

90% of global professionals are interested in hearing about new opportunities.  (2016 Global Talent Trends report from LinkedIn)

But only 36% of those professionals are actively looking.

That means that 54% are thinking about moving but would need to be really tempted.

These are the people that might occasionally flick through a job site on their phone on their train journey home.  They might get a call about a job from a friend that works for you.  They might get approached by a recruiter.  Either way, they will read your job description.  A dull job description will not make them take the next step.

You want to tap into that ‘might be interested but not actively looking’ bunch.   This is when you have that rare but beautiful experience of having quality applications to choose from.  To do that, your job ad has to stand out.   Applicants who are desperate for a new job will suffer your boring job ad.  But if you want to widen your net to get the 54% who aren’t, then you have to do better.

(Download a free 8 point checklist here to make sure your job ad shines)

I bet you put more thought into your product marketing

As a company, you probably spend days, maybe weeks, crafting the perfect advert for your latest product or service.  How does that compare to how long you spent writing your last job ad?  I’m guessing it was more like minutes, maybe an hour rather than days or weeks.

And that doesn’t make sense when you think about it.  The value of attracting a great, long term employee is so much higher than a single transaction with a customer.  Every employee will, in some way, contribute to the customer experience and therefore the success of your business.   You need to attract the best.

Now I am not suggesting that you spend days creating a job ad.  But there is one major consideration that we can learn from our colleagues in product marketing.  And it’s a key point that is frequently missed in job ads

The best product advertising is created around what the customer wants.  Who their customer is, how they might feel, their desires, what difference the product would make to their lives.

And that is what is lacking from these grey, bland job ads.  Companies want the best candidates but they’re not thinking about how to attract them.

The secret to a great job ad is simply this:

Write it with your ideal candidate at the heart of it.

It’s time to shake things up a bit, don’t you think?

8 steps to a job ad to attract great candidates

  1. Be clear on who your target audience (in your case, your ideal candidate) is.   Have a clear picture in your head who you need to attract.
  2. What is important to that ideal candidate when deciding to take a new job?  What’s important to an ambitious first time manager is unlikely to be the same as a working parent in a part time role.  Think about what they will be looking for and reference it in your ad.
  3. How would you describe your company personality? Help applicants picture what it would be like to be an employee.  Ask your team members how they would describe working there.  Use there words not corporate blurb from the website.
  4. What makes your company different from the other jobs they are applying for? They are applying for lots of jobs – why should they be most excited about yours?
  5. Help them picture what the job would be like.  Make sure your sentences actually mean something!  Scrap the company jargon, acronyms and corporate buzzwords.  Use words someone outside your business would understand.
  6. Gain their trust.  Be honest about the job (no one believes any job is perfect).  You don’t have to list the negatives but don’t be scared to be honest.  You will attract the right candidates then.
  7. Use language that speaks to them directly.  Replace ‘ the successful candidate’ with ‘you’.  Get personal!
  8. Presentation!  So simple but so important.  They are ploughing through a lot of ads.  Make it tempting to read with lots of white space

For more details on all these points, and how to use them to transform your tired job ad download this free 8 point checklist and make the changes today!

Download Your Free Checklist

Don't post another job ad until you make these changes!

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