360 Talent Solutions

How To Write Job Adverts that attract the RIGHT candidates: A guide for Start Ups and SMEs

Reading Time: 9 minutes

I have spent the last few mornings perusing through online job adverts.


Several job seekers have shared their frustration searching for jobs with me.

As someone who has written hundreds of job adverts, I am curious whether companies still use the same terms and phrases. I am curious if companies use a more inclusive style of writing.

Here is what I found …

It’s great to see some next generation companies using a more inclusive style of writing 👍

However, most companies still use the same phrases:
– “An exciting opportunity has arisen”
– “x amount of years experience”
– “Hold a professional qualification in …”

Based on my search, here are the most common adjectives I found:
1.      Passionate
2.      Energetic
3.      Dedicated
4.      Committed
5.      Ambitious

Diving into the world of recruitment is a lot like diving into a riveting conversation. You know, the kind that makes time fly and leaves both sides feeling enriched. An effective job advert is more than just a callout for a vacancy—it’s an invitation for a meaningful exchange. It’s the starting point of a conversation that says, “Hey, we have this amazing role and a vision to match; do you see yourself being a part of this story?”

But here’s the catch: 73% of job seekers say that looking for a job is one of the most stressful events in life.  Imagine how crucial that initial “hello” becomes!

That’s why nailing your job advert is paramount; it’s not just about grabbing attention, but about resonating with the RIGHT people and setting the tone for the conversations to come.

Table of Contents

Writing a Job Advert Should Be Simple

Writing a job advert is like starting a deep and meaningful conversation with someone. At first glance, it’s just words exchanged, a bit of give and take. But the layers run deep. You’re not just stating facts or rattling off requirements. You’re extending an invitation, a hand, saying, “Come, let’s chat about who we really are as a company and what we’re truly about.” It’s about building that connection, finding common ground.

Now, imagine this chat happening in a crowded room, with countless others vying for attention. Every word you choose, every sentiment expressed, must resonate, and stand out. It’s not about talking the loudest, but about speaking in a way that makes someone lean in, eager to hear more. It’s the art of conversation, tailored for the vast, buzzing world of online recruitment.

Young female professional working on laptop

Attracting The Right Talent

Writing a job advert isn’t just about shouting out to the world that you have an open position. It’s more like a chat over coffee, where you’re trying to tell potential candidates, “Hey, this is who we are, and we’re looking for someone who totally gets us.”

Sure, you might get tons of folks interested, but the real magic happens when you find that one person who aligns just right with your company’s heartbeat. It’s not just about skills or experience, but about vibe, passion, and fit. Every new addition to your team either strikes the right chord or changes the entire tune.

The Common Pitfalls: Five Mistakes Costing You Talent

Engaging in the conversation of recruitment, especially through a job advert, comes with its own nuances. Think of it as trying to sustain a deep chat with someone you’re just getting to know; one wrong word or phrase can change the whole vibe. Here are five common hiccups SMEs often encounter in this dialogue:

1. Vague Job Descriptions

We see the same roles and responsibilities listed every day.  It’s one thing to say, “Seeking a creative individual,” but it’s entirely another to specify, “We are searching for a Global Marketing Director with expertise in content strategy to drive our commercial division forward.”

The former might get you a flurry of applications, from graphic designers to writers to event planners. But if it’s the latter you’re looking for, you’ll be sifting through those applications for days.

Precision is key.

2. Neglecting Soft Skills

Yes, it’s important to list the hard skills required for the role.  But, it is just as important to include the soft skills that will help the RIGHT person to be successful.  Imagine a job description that details every technical requirement but misses out interpersonal skills.

Soft skills are the unsung heroes of the workplace. In fact, eight in ten employers stress their growing importance. By omitting them, you risk welcoming someone who might excel at tasks but struggles to collaborate or communicate, essentials in today’s dynamic work environments.

You May Also Be Interested In


I have spent more than 10 years’ recruiting for companies.  I have experienced the ebb and flow of job vacancies and job offers, and unearthed a key component many overlook – the pivotal role of timing.  …

3. Not Highlighting Flexibility

Flexibility is the biggest motivator today and the main driver for top talent leaving.  In a world that’s increasingly valuing work-life balance, omitting the perks of remote work or flexible hours is a glaring oversight.

Since 2016, there’s been a staggering 78% increase in LinkedIn job posts emphasising work flexibility. By not highlighting this, you’re potentially missing out on a vast pool of talent that values such benefits.

4. Lack of Clear Hiring Timeline

One of the biggest stresses for any job seeker is a lack of clarity when it comes to a hiring process.  A whopping 83% of candidates state that clear timelines would drastically enhance their overall job-seeking experience. Providing clarity isn’t just courteous; it’s beneficial for your brand’s reputation.

5. Not Emphasizing Employer Branding

Beyond the role, candidates often seek workplaces that resonate with their values. Job descriptions that miss out on spotlighting company culture are essentially hiding their essence.

If 80% of HR leaders vouch for the impact of employer branding on talent attraction, it’s time to sit up and take notice. Your company’s ethos, culture, and values aren’t just internal assets; they’re the lighthouse for like-minded talents in the vast sea of job seekers.

2 professionals looking at laptop

Three Key Recommendations for SMEs

As our conversation around recruitment deepens, let’s discuss the art of keeping it flowing smoothly. Ever had a chat where you just clicked with someone? Where the exchange felt seamless and, before you knew it, hours had passed?

Here’s how SMEs can replicate that feeling in their job adverts with these three game-changers:

1. Focus On What Is Most Important:

What experience is essential from day one and what skills can be learnt on the job?

The objective isn’t to exclude as many people as possible but to include and attract the RIGHT talent.  Putting together an accurate list of requirements is much more effective when you have input from other stakeholders.

For example, instead of having “10 years of experience in global marketing” as a requirement, list relevant experience such as:

  • Demonstrated proficiency with digital marketing tools, platforms, and best practices.
  • Track record of creating compelling content strategies that drive engagement and conversion.
  • Experience collaborating with cross-functional teams and stakeholders to align marketing initiatives with broader business goals.


Instead of listing desired qualifications as essential, be more inclusive with a statement such as “equivalent professional experience”.    Write more inclusive job adverts with the following tips:

  • Replace “must speak native English” with ” proficient in English.”
  • Avoid phrases like “young,” “recent graduate,” or “digital native.”, instead, use “entry-level”.
  • Use “they/them” instead of “he/she” or “his/her”.

2. Share Your Story:

Imagine discussing your passions and finding out the other person shares them. Highlighting culture and flexibility is that shared passion in the job advert realm.  Candidates today aren’t just looking for a job; they’re seeking an environment where they can thrive, both professionally and personally.

Make it clear what sets your company apart.  For example “At [Company Name], we believe in the power of innovation and value every voice. As our Global Marketing Director, you won’t just be driving campaigns, you will be leading cross-functional conversations about how we can do things better.  If you’re proactive and enjoy a fast-paced, rewarding setting, you’ll fit right in.”

HubSpot shares the following on their career page:

Let’s grow togetherWe’re building a culture at HubSpot where amazing people (like you) can do their best work. If you’re ready to grow your career and help millions of organizations grow better, you’ve come to the right place.”

3. Set Clear Expectations and Timelines:

Just like in any great conversation, setting expectations and boundaries ensures both sides are comfortable and aware. It’s about mutual respect.  By offering clarity on the process, you not only elevate their experience but also enhance your brand’s perception.

Recommendation Example: “Our selection journey for the Global Marketing Director position is transparent and rigorous. It includes an initial screening, two rounds of interviews, and culminates in a final presentation. Spread over four weeks, we prioritise keeping all candidates informed at every step, ensuring there are no dark clouds of uncertainty.”

Employing these strategies in your job adverts can mean the difference between attracting just another applicant and securing a candidate that aligns seamlessly with your company’s vision and ethos. The devil, as they say, is in the details. And in the world of recruitment, those details can spell success.

Team working together on new project

Your Guide To Optimised Job Adverts and Job Descriptions

In the age of information, harnessing the power of data isn’t just an advantage; it’s a necessity. Throughout this blog we have shared one theme throughout, which is being more inclusive with your job adverts.  Instead of excluding 99% of the talent pool, focus your requirements on what matters most, which is a blend of technical skills, attitudes, and behaviours.

The Job Assessment by Predictive Index™

Imagine being able to draft a job description that speaks directly to a candidate’s behavioural drives and motivational needs. With the Predictive Index, you’re not just shooting in the dark; you’re leveraging data to tailor your message, ensuring it appeals to the exact talent profile you’re after.

It delves into understanding candidate behaviour, ensuring your job adverts resonate with the right people. It’s not about attracting everyone; it’s about engaging the right ones who’ll bring value and vibrancy to your company.

Instead of vaguely asking for a “dedicated team player”, the Predictive Index can help you specify the exact behavioral traits you want, like “someone who thrives in collaborative settings and can handle high-pressure situations with a calm demeanor.

Why Data-Driven Approaches Shine

Remember those chats where you thought, “How did they know I was thinking just that?”

Predictive Index is that in the realm of hiring.  In a world where 45% of employers lament that they can’t find workers with the skills they’re on the hunt for. It’s a significant gap, one that underscores the challenge in the market.

But here’s the silver lining: with a data-driven approach powered by tools like the Predictive Index, SMEs have a unique opportunity. They can transform their job adverts from generic postings into targeted calls to action that speak directly to the candidates they seek.

In the end, it’s not just about filling a position; it’s about attracting the RIGHT talent. And with the Predictive Index by your side, you’re one step closer to ensuring that the talent you attract aligns perfectly with the vision and goals of your organisation.

Welcome to the future of recruitment.

Upgrade Your Recruitment: Smarter Hiring For Next-Gen Life Science Companies

Final Thoughts

In the evolving landscape of recruitment, one truth remains steadfast: A job advert is more than just a call for applications. It’s the first handshake, the opening dialogue, and perhaps most critically, your organisation’s chance to make that all-important first impression. And as we know, in the world of talent acquisition, first impressions matter.

Now, let’s take a moment to digest a telling statistic: 51% of workers and job seekers pinpoint online job platforms as their go-to source for discovering new job opportunities. This isn’t merely a nod to the digital age; it’s a clarion call to the weightage a job advert holds in today’s digital realm. With over half of job seekers looking online, the stakes have never been higher to ensure that each job advert is honed, tailored, and positioned to captivate the right audience.

Be proactive. Embrace innovative tools like the Predictive Index. Understand the gravity of attracting not just any talent, but the RIGHT talent. In a digital age teeming with voices, let yours resonate, creating a magnetic pull for those who align with your company’s vision and ethos.

It’s time to make your next hire the RIGHT hire.

You May Also Be Interested In

As organizations become more competitive, it has become increasingly important for them to hire employees with the right skills and fit for the job. To achieve this, many employers are using psychometric assessments to evaluate potential employees.

In Partnership With Humanostics

360 Talent Solutions Ltd is an Associate Partner of Humanostics® , a PI Certified Partner authorised to use the science, assessment software, and curriculum of management workshops of The Predictive Index.

In partnership with Humanostics, we provide companies in the UK and across Europe access to the assessment tools provided by The Predictive Index.

Take the 6-minute PI Behavioral Assessment™ today.  Once you have completed the 6-minute assessment, I will send you a Full Behavioral Report by Predictive Index.

How Can We Help

From supporting the growth of leading pharma companies over the past 10 years, I have learnt that when it comes to predicting future performance, technology is key:

  • Education, years of experience, and references all have low predictive value. Yet, we rely on these for screening early in the recruitment process.
  • Cognitive and Behavioural Assessments, have much higher predictive value, and when combined with interviews, provide the most effective method for predicting future performance.

For me, hiring without the use of psychometric assessments is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing … and no picture on the box. It’s not fun, it takes longer, and when you are almost finished, you realise you have pieces missing.

Take the assessment today and start measuring more to improve your recruitment.

If you are interested in learning more or are ready to incorporate behavioral data into your recruitment process, please contact me today, I will be happy to help.

Let’s get started!

Dave Crumby

Founder at 360 Talent Solutions

Certified Predictive Index Practitioner 

Our Latest News & Insights
The logo for STOH
The Swiss Talent Optimisation Hub

Join The Swiss Talent Optimisation Hub (STOH) to connect with HR professionals dedicated to leveraging Predictive Index tools and behavioural science to overcome unique challenges faced by Swiss businesses and drive organisational success.

Read More