Attracting great talent is a challenge. your ad is the first step in the communication process designed to meet that challenge. The goal of your ad is to attract qualified interest  communicate the nature of the position quickly and clearly and to direct a response process and mechanism. Keep in mind that a large percentage of the candi- dates you want to attract are already well settled so your ad needs to be descriptive  but attractive enough to appeal to these other- wise passive candidates.

The ad should follow the classic formula:

•   Attention

•   Interest

•   Desire

•   Action


Generally the headline – usually the job title itself – will attract the immediate attention of the appropriate candidates.  Be sure to write out the full title of the position. Do not abbreviate. Be specific so a candidate will look at the job description further and know what to expect.

The first paragraph is critical. It needs to grab the attention of ap- propriate candidates and spark a call to action. Include your job description. your ad will gain the interest from those who meet your requirements.

At the same time  you don’t want to discourage potentially strong candidates with long lists of requirements that may not be truly es- sential. Often an ad can list so many requirements as to be restric- tive. perhaps a viable candidate sees the ad but does not meet every requirement and is therefore discouraged from submitting a resume.

Before drafting the ad  consider those aspects that are absolutely required for the position and those that are on your wish list. Is an MBA essential or simply desired? Once you have established a list of definitive requirements  prioritize in order of importance and list them accordingly.

To further engage the reader, use the second person so the appro- priate candidates can picture themselves in your position: “you will report to…”  “you will be required to…” Generally use language that the reader uses, using bullet points and short paragraphs. Keep it simple.

Create desire by relating the job’s appeal and rewards. Briefly relate what makes your company appealing or why it is a good place to work. Let the candidate know what’s in it for him. Branding should be present but not overpowering.

The call to action should clearly direct the candidate how and where to submit a resume. Again, keep it simple and easy to follow.

Design of the ad should focus on clarity of text. The layout should convey a professional image and be easy to follow.

Finally, be sure to place your ad where it will likely catch the at- tention of your target audience. The electronic age has shifted job search efforts to online forums. General listings aggregators such as Career Builder Monster and Hot Jobs readily come to mind. In addition  more specialized job search engines also are available.