Overwhelming. Confusing. Frustrating.


As I found myself scrolling through endless pages of bland, uninformative job adverts, those are the three words that best describe my last experience of online job hunting. Perhaps my view was tainted by a decade of working in the recruitment industry, but I struggled to find an advert that gave me both enough information about an organisation to compel me to apply, and a good enough understanding of the job to know I was qualified.

After years of reviewing resumes of unsuitable and unqualified applicants (and bemoaning the lack of suitable, qualified ones), I was worried. There didn’t seem to be enough high quality people coming through the system. As I complained, it slowly became clear that there were plenty of great candidates out there applying to other jobs. I began to think “Perhaps it’s us, the recruiters. Perhaps our information or approach just aren’t good enough…” a sobering thought.

The impact of poor information is clear – If we aren’t giving applicants the full picture, then we will continue to fight a seemingly endless tide of applications from people who don’t know enough about the employer, or the job to make an informed decision. In addition, we risk missing out on the top-flight candidates who are enticed away by someone else’s better use of information.

I cast my mind back to a seminar I attended a year or so ago, run by one of Australia’s biggest online job boards, which was full of insights into candidate behaviours. A critical piece of detail was what people look for in and advertisements, and what turns them away.

The figures that stuck in my mind were
1. the average candidate spends less than 20 seconds reading each advert, and
2. less that 20% of advertisements are ‘clicked’ in the first place.

This suggests that if we are to capture a candidate’s interest, our advertisements need to
a) stand out from the crowd, and
b) give people a reason to keep reading beyond the first sentence.

I changed how I thought and what I did after that seminar. I know that the changes I made to information I presented to candidates made a real difference in my success in attracting the right people to jobs. I am happy to share what I learned so you don’t have to go through the same slow process.

For a comprehensive but simple reference to making sure your advertisements hit the spot, download my guide, 6 Steps To A Compelling Job Advertisement .

Sam has over a decade of experience in recruitment and HR consulting and has worked in Australia, Europe and the Middle-East. His experience working with some of the world’s largest organisations across a number of industries has given him valuable insight into recruitment and retention best practice. Sam now is Business Development Manager at Schrole where he works to get the right people in schools.