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The war for talent continues. Companies struggle to hire the best talents. The fishes in the talent pool are limited, and there are lot of recruiters fishing in the same pool.

Attracting the best talents, starts of course with a strong job advertisement. An attractive job advertisement gets the attention from the right candidates. If people recognize themselves in the job ad, there is a higher chance that they apply. And as a result, you will have a higher number of excellent applicants, which finally will save time and money during the hiring process.

What does a modern job advertisement look like these days?

A good job ad is written in a neutral style, in such a way that in you upfront don’t exclude people based in gender, age etc. Unconscious bias is still present in many job ads. The typical job ad is written with a preference that attracts for example more men based on the used language. As a result of unconscious bias, you limited your potential talent pool and as a result you don’t reach, the so desired, diversity in your organization.

It is important to know that talents act, when reading a job ad, in the same way as recruiters read CV’s. They use between 30 to 60 seconds to scan a job ad, in this time they decide if they spend time on it or continue to the next job. Knowing this, it is obvious that a job ad should be easy to read, clear what the company and job is about and what the company has to offer, and the candidate should bring. Is this not the case, the attention is gone, the talent is already in the next job ad and will not apply.

A job ad is like a Unique Selling Proposition, you like to sell the job and your company to a talent. Focus on your USP. Sell your company and job like you sell your products or services. It is all about marketing, without losing authenticity and honesty. Don’t oversell, if you do, talents will walk out via the back door immediately.

A job ad might be the first contact a talent has with your company, and all recruiters know how important it is that this is positive, so let’s have a closer look at some tips how to write a good job ad.

1. Be creative

Do something to draw attention to your vacancy, make them curious so they will read further. Don’t be afraid to do something different, leave the classic job ad path that your competitors follow. Try to stay out of the crowd.   

Be creative using an attention drawing title like The Kanton Zürich Finanzdirektion Kantonales Steuramt recently did in a job ad:

Irgendetwas mit Zahlen…(Wertschriftenprüfer/in ) 80 - 100%

It got a lot of media attention and was shared many times on several social media channels.


Or like Jonathan Campbell (CEO recruitment agency, Company Social Talent) who was looking for an ambitious Sales Manager:

“We are not interested in people who want a job. Apply elsewhere for that. We want people who like to own a company like ours one day and if that fails, you’ll retire early of your great commissions. We have big dreams and we expect you to have the same.


2. Keep it short and simple

A lot of job ads are too long, people are overwhelmed by the enormous amount of information and the level of details, this doesn’t make the job ad easy and attractive to read. Focus on the essential information that a talent should know about the company and the job. Focus on what makes the difference in this job.

Use short job titles that clearly explain the content. Simple clear job titles give more information. Think about the difference:



Senior IT recruiter (full time, Zürich)

 The second one gives all the important information in one line. Good job titles contain: a recognizable job title, domain knowledge, seniority/level/technology, location, and number of working hours.

Use one or two sentences that describe the characteristics of your company and the job. What is it you stand out for? Advice to keep this limited to 140 characters. Like Boojum does.

Stay away from standard company information that is already available on your website.


3. Be concrete

Explain what kind of company you are and what you have to offer. Stay away from vague and cliches terms and words like “no 9 to 5 mentality”, or “motivated teamworker”, or “a spider in the web”. People do not recognize themselves in this as it is too general.

Describe what this person is responsible for in the function and what she or he should bring. Make a clear distinction between Need to have and Nice to have. A lot of technical skills are easy to learn, personal characteristics are harder to develop. If you are looking for specific personal competences or values, explain why you are looking for them.

For example: we developed a new product for a new client group and we are currently looking for a Sales Manager who is strong in acquiring new clients.

Mention something about the career possibilities: talents look for careers not for a single job. Keep the number of bullet points with responsibilities limited to 5 tasks.


4. Writing style

Make it personal and less formal. Adjust your writing style to the candidates you are looking for. For young talents use a direct writing style and address the talent directly with sentences like:

What are your responsibilities in this job? What can you expect when joining our company? Instead of wordings like: Job description

What do you bring to us? Instead of the classic headers like requirements


5. Structure of the job ad

  • Start with a clear job title in which a potential talent recognizes her or himself
  • Use a teaser: what makes this position attractive? Why should a talent apply? Why does this vacancy exist? What should be achieved?
  • What is the talent responsible for in this job? Write in max. 5 bullet points and formulate them as concrete as possible.
  • What do we expect from you / what do you bring to us? Write down max. 5 bullet points for need to have and around 3 points for nice to have.
  • What do we offer? E.g., A clear description of the company culture, the salary range, an employer benefits like flexible working hours, working from home, career possibilities, further education etc.
  • Detailed information about the application process; name and contact date from the person who can be contacted for further information, the concrete steps in the application process, if available a timeline.
  • A short testimonial with a picture of a talent that is already working in your organization who tells what this employee likes about the company / job.
  • Use a so-called direct applying button, so talent only have to upload their CV.

To hire the best talents, you have to step away from the classic job ad by using the same principles recruiters use. They look how CV’s stand out of the crowd, now it is time to do the same for your job ad. YOU HAVE TO STAND OUT AND BE CREATIVE TO GET THE ATTENTION OF THE BEST TALENTS IN THE MARKET.