Job Ad vs. Job Description:

Tell me a story don’t read me the fine print!

By: Ben Murphy


Have you ever listened to a lively radio commercial on the way into work and then it comes to an abrupt end with quiet, monotone, fast-talking-gibberish?

Unfortunately, many companies today have taken the ‘fast-talking-gibberish’ approach to attracting top talent. Rather than writing a compelling job ad, they resort to posting a job description. Not only does this yield poor results, it tarnishes a company’s brand in the marketplace.

Before we go any further, let me make one thing clear: A job ad isn’t a job description. Both have their place in the recruiting life-cycle but serve very different purposes. How much fun is it to go fishing with a rod and hook and no bait? Wouldn’t that be frustrating?! However, if you have the right bait, it’s only a matter a time. An enticing job ad will do the same for you. Not only does it help you develop a sizzlin’ conversation starter (that’s right, I said sizzlin’☺), it can also significantly decrease your overall cost-per-hire. Take that to the bank!

In the spirit of protecting our environment and eliminating waste, here are a few tips for writing a compelling job ad that will do the same for your brand: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Reduce: Forget the fluff and get to the point. Instead of listing responsibilities and requirements for your job, let’s cut to the chase. What are the top three must-have’s for your position? I wouldn’t provide any more than five must-have’s for any given job ad. Remember less is more. Stay away from job description buzzwords like “duties and responsibilities”, “educational requirements” or “physical requirements”. If you are legally obligated to disclose certain information on a job ad, go ahead and provide this at the very end.

The headline and first three to five sentences of your job ad are the bait. In order to get the messaging across through popular social media avenues, you want to keep it punchy. Pour your creative juices into captivating your audience with the following:

Eye-grabbing headline.

Again, ‘the devil is in the details’. Keep it simple, short and shocking kind of like your high school sweetheart ☺ For example rather than saying “Looking for an Experienced CEO” say something like “Are you a daydreamer? Seeking for a Revolutionary CEO”. Get the gist?

Tantalizing proposition.

Now that you have your reader’s attention, it’s time to “set the hook”. In order to keep your reader charmed, write a few sentences on the key features of the position, company and culture. For example:

“If you’re a daydreamer, it’s time to get paid for your ideas.

We’re looking for a CEO to drive innovation through new product development. A leader who has the ability to attract and inspire a team that helps make dreams a reality. Our company is a world-renown aeronautical science agency that develops state-of-the-art technologies to enhance the typical flight experience. Our people thrive on new ideas. Do you have something worth sharing?”

Reuse: Tell a story through using key messaging again and again.

Now you have your audience ‘hook, line and sinker’. Let’s reel em’ in!

Story time.

This is where you develop your tantalizing proposition through sharing a brief story by expanding on the position, company and culture. Before launching into information about the position, talk about the company and culture first. This will give context to the position when you discuss it next. In describing the position, I would stick to the essentials by talking about responsibilities, compensation and benefits.

Recycle: Curiosity transformed into opportunity.
You’ve successfully reduced your job description getting rid of the fluff and getting to the point. Then you reused your point by developing a compelling story through expanding on the company, culture and position. Now you’ve recycled your reader’s interest turning into action.

Set clear expectations.

This is your opportunity to give your intrigued audience actionable steps. Don’t just ask to “Please submit your resume and cover letter for consideration.” Say something like, “If you are still reading this, you may have the right stuff. So now it’s time to prove it. Send your stuff to your recruiter Nick. If we think you’ve got skills after checking out your resume, you’ll hear from us in three weeks.” This puts the ball in the court of the reader letting them know who they are working with, what to do, and when they should know more.

Do you want to differentiate your company and opportunity from the masses? Improve your brand and overall cost-per-hire by telling a compelling story. Need help developing your story? Let me show you how. Drop me a note at

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