How to craft the perfect job ad to attract the top talent

meta: Expand your reach, diversify your talent pool and recruit top talent with these 7 simple behavioural tricks for writing the perfect job ad.

H3: Don't underestimate the power of a first impression, even in your job ads. Your job posting will likely be candidates' first glimpse into life at your company. This is the first step to debias your hiring. Here, we talk you through 7 quick and easy behavioural tricks to expand your reach and encourage a diverse array of applicants to put themselves forward.

<aside> ✅ Checklist of actions 1) Distinguish between 'must have' and 'nice to have' requirements 2) Encourage people to apply even if they don't tick all the boxes 3) Add a sincere commitment to diversity 4) Advertise benefits and perks, especially flexible work 5) Publish the salary range for the role 6) Check your post for gendered language

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1) Set 'must have' vs 'nice to have' requirements

Your job description should give candidates a taste of what they'll be working on, and what an ideal fit looks like. From looking at your list of requirements, candidates should be able to gauge whether or not they'd be a good fit for the role and vice versa.

You'll need to craft the right message so you don't put anyone off from applying before they've crossed the first hurdle.

<aside> 💡 Did you know? Women view job requirements as more rigid than they really are. Men on the other hand tend to be more self-confident, and thus more likely to put themselves forward for stretch roles. Keep things simple and stick to 7 requirements max to attract a more gender-diverse pool of applicants.

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List of requirements

It's important to be detailed in the job description, but also be aware that too many points in the list can appear overwhelming — like you're asking too much.

We prefer to keep things simple in our JDs, using between 5 and 7 relatable and relevant requirements. See our example below 👇

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Essential vs desirable requirements

Did you know that candidates read into this information differently? Research tells us that some view the list of requirements as a rigid set of non-negotiables, whereas others automatically assume they have some wiggle room. And the people who screen themselves out of the running early tend to be women and other minority groups.

The evidence suggests that women feel more comfortable applying only to jobs where they fulfil most of the qualifications to increase their chances of being hired. But this means that women rule themselves out of 'stretch roles' if they don't tick every box, even if they'd be a great match.

To overcome this, split your requirements into 'must haves' and 'nice to haves'. Think critically about what's really necessary for success. Does your junior copywriter really need a master's degree in Marketing? Do your software developers actually need to be proficient in written English? Be crystal clear about things candidates need to know, and which skills they can gain on the job.

Our Fair HQ recommendation: List 5-7 bullet points in your requirements section so as not to overwhelm candidates. ****Be crystal clear about requirements that are 'must haves' and ones that are 'nice to have'. ****

2) Add a note of encouragement

Sometimes, those less-confident candidates might need an extra boost to keep them in the game. Simply add an explicit note of encouragement — it can go a long way.