Getting the most out of online job ads

Targeted, clearly written ads get most bang for the buck

Over the past decade, the Internet has become the single most powerful tool in recruitment advertising. Because of the growth and popularity of online recruitment, thousands of job boards are now emerging, giving employers more options than ever before. When it comes to online job boards, however, one size does not fit all.

Although many employers are satisfied with generic job boards that provide a high volume of potential candidates with broad experience, other employers may prefer to use niche job sites that offer a more targeted approach to finding candidates.

Niche job boards, and other specialized online communities, target audiences with specific needs or interests and can deliver candidates who more closely match their job qualifications. For example, if an employer is seeking sales professionals, wouldn’t it be beneficial to post the position on sites that attract or cater to members of the sales profession?

Employers should take the time to search and review online job boards that can deliver the best possible results for each job posting. As part of this process, it’s important to review site demographics and traffic information, as well as compare site features such as cost, length of job postings and whether or not jobs are distributed across multiple sites to maximize visibility of the posting.

Create an effective job advertisement

Once an employer decides which job boards are the best fit for its recruitment program, it can maximize its investment by creating an effective job advertisement that is sure to promote the company and attract high-quality candidates.

Here are some best practices employers can use to compose an effective job posting:

Communicate a mutually beneficial message. Tell jobseekers about the opportunity, not just the position available. Cite unique selling points of the position — not just the salary and benefits — that may differentiate the position from the rest and make this opportunity an attractive one.

Use well-known and familiar job titles. Include job titles candidates will recognize so they can easily locate the position when performing a job search. Jobseekers can be confused or misled by job titles that are not clear, so it is best to be very specific so they don’t skip over the job posting. This simple trick can help increase the quality of candidates.

Use strategic formatting. Use HTML and bullet points to make important parts of the job ad stand out. If the job ad is easy to skim and requirements are clearly stated, employers will avoid resumé overload while gathering a top-notch pool of candidates.

Use key words and phrases. Incorporate key words and phrases into the job ad to increase the chances jobseekers will find the listing among similar job ads. Identify keywords that all potential candidates would use to search for the particular position, not just words used to describe it internally.

Provide candidates with an overview of the company. Many candidates are as interested in learning about a company’s corporate culture as they are the job posting, so employers should include this information within the job ad to help make the overall opportunity more attractive.

Avoid exaggerated verbiage. While the use of marketing-oriented language in a job ad is appropriate, don’t go overboard. The best and brightest candidates can easily detect exaggerated language in job postings. Excessive use of buzzwords or overrepresentation of the opportunity may discourage them from applying.

Review prior to posting. When writing a job posting, recruiters are representing their company. Therefore, it is important to use a clear and professional writing style and review the job posting to ensure it does not include any misspelled words or misleading language. Consider using a buddy system to proofread the posting to ensure it is error free and communicates all critical points of the job.

Going beyond job boards

There are many effective recruitment tactics available online that can help establish a strong employer brand among jobseekers and increase traffic to online job postings. Employers are beginning to use integrated marketing campaigns by supplementing traditional online job postings with online banner advertisements, targeted e-mail marketing campaigns and featured employer listings.

E-mail marketing is an effective tool to target and deliver job advertisements and messages directly to highly qualified candidates who match the job criteria. This approach is especially valuable in cases where highly skilled job requirements or experience is a must.

Integrated marketing campaigns give employers further reach than online job ads alone.

Managing the flood of applicants

Once the job advertisements and online marketing techniques begin to pay off and the resumés roll in, many employers become overwhelmed with managing all the resumés.

Taking the time to construct an effective job ad will help reduce the number of unqualified candidates who respond and technology can help employers manage applicant data.

There are turnkey software solutions available, such as applicant tracking systems (ATS), which can help streamline the back-end recruitment process and allow employers to effectively sort and organize candidate data. This software allows for communication and tracking of all recruitment activity in a single place and can significantly reduce time and money spent on the overall hiring process. Some online job boards offer a free ATS to employers, regardless of company size or the number of jobs posted annually.

The competition for high-quality job candidates has led to an evolution of the online recruitment industry. Many candidates have high expectations when searching for potential employers, so it is increasingly important for employers to “raise the bar” and develop an effective and appealing recruitment campaign.

By building a strong employer brand through integrated marketing and using technology to streamline the recruitment process, employers have the best chance of recruiting and hiring the most highly-qualified candidates.

Rich Milgram is the founder and chief executive officer of, a King of Prussia, Penn.-based network of niche career communities powering more than 15,000 career and geographic-specific sites. For more information, visit

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