Attracting and advertising for suitable applicants
How you decide to attract the best applicants depends on the job, your budget (eg for advertising or recruitment agencies) and how much time you have.
You advertise so that the greatest number of people suited to your job vacancy will apply for the job. This means advertising in the right places, and making sure your advertisement will attract their attention. Think about this group of people and where they are likely to be going and what media they are likely to be reading, or listening to, when you’re choosing where to advertise.
When you’ve decided where to advertise, you need to decide what your advertisement will look like/sound like. You need to hook the reader/listener in, and then keep their focus by having clear and relevant information about the job so suitable people can see it as a good opportunity. Put in enough information to spark interest and curiosity, but not too much as this will make the advertisement harder to read.
You can look at other employers’ job advertisements for similar jobs to get some ideas, but you might want to take a different approach or stress unique aspects of the job or of you as an employer as your point of difference. You need to make sure that the information you include is accurate, don’t oversell or undersell the job as you will mislead and won’t get the most suitable applicants.
If you, as an employer, are a known and popular brand, this in itself may be enough to provide the ‘hook’.
Content of the advertisement
Make sure your advertisement is clear, easy to read for your target audience, focuses on the job and job requirements, and is interesting. You must make sure that your advertisement doesn’t reflect unlawful discrimination.
Include information on:
- Where the job is in larger cities, you may want to be more specific, eg don’t just say ‘Auckland’ if the job is in Takapuna, say ‘North Shore’.
- If you have flexibility on location, this will expand your applicant pool, so make sure you say so.
- Job title and outline of work
- Give the job title, main purpose, challenges, and duties of the job. The job title must accurately reflect the level of the job. Don’t make the job title ‘manager X’ if there is no management, people, or processes etc involved, as this would be misleading; you will not attract the right applicants to the job if the job title is misleading.
- The whole job description is not required in the advertisement, applicants will get this later; include just enough to outline the sort of job it is and the sort of person you’re looking for.
- Skills and experience
- Outline the skills and experience needed to do the job.
- If there are qualifications required put these in so you don’t waste people’s time applying if they don’t have the qualifications needed.
- Briefly outline any advantages your organisation has/say why they would enjoy working in this organisation. Sometimes you won’t want to reveal the name of your organisation in the advertisement, so will advertise ‘blind’. This can be effective if you are not a popular employer, because it may lead to people who would not otherwise apply to you, ringing up to find out who you are and you then have the opportunity to talk to them about the job.
- If you are using a recruitment agency, make sure that they are not over-promoting their own brand with a huge logo, at the expense of your own brand. You could ask them to reduce the size of their branding or to contribute to the advertising cost.
- Contact information
- Include the relevant contact information so the applicant can contact you if they are interested in the job; this could be the telephone number, email, link to apply online, or physical address.
- Make sure that whatever contact method you use, you are responsive, that is, someone is available to take the calls, check the emails, or pick up the mail, etc.
Tips for advertisements
- Keep the advert concise. Give the text some space, this will attract the eye and will help you write more efficiently. You often are paying per character or size of the advertisement, so make sure that every word you include counts and is essential.
- Use bullet points and short sentences and paragraphs.
- Don’t put words in capitals, they won’t have a shape and will be harder to read.
- Use ‘you’ and ‘your’ in the advertisement; this will involve the audience and help them imagine themselves in the job.
- Stress what is unique. You must try to emphasize what makes your job and organisation special. People want to work for special employers.
- Put in the challenges of the job, which may put off lazy applicants.
You are responsible for making sure advertisements don’t mislead or discriminate.
- Through existing employees - is there someone ready for a promotion or a new role? First advertise the role internally to find out.
- If the job is in a specialised area, you may already know of the people who can do this type of work. You can approach them directly, but make sure you don’t encourage/ induce them to break any current employment agreement provisions (eg notice period requirements, confidentiality, restraint of trade etc.)
- Engaging a recruitment agency – this can be costly, but will reduce the amount of time you spend on the process. Agencies can help you clarify your needs, pay levels, experience needed, and market availability.
- Using Work and Income’s free recruiting service matching qualified people to jobs. Ask if you are entitled to their financial assistance for employers to help with wages and training. Call 0800 778 008.
- Hiring an apprentice and training them to do the job. You will have to invest time into training an apprentice, but you can train them to do the job the way you want it done.
- Advertising on industry websites and social media or searching online applicant databases.
- Advertising in newspapers. They can advise on circulation numbers and reaching target audiences.
- Advertising on radio or local television channels.
- Targeted advertising in industry journals, magazines and websites.
- Contacting a relevant Industry Training Organisation (ITO).
- Developing a relationship with local education providers by eg providing work experience opportunities for students.
- Developing relationships with local community groups.
- If you are thinking of recruiting overseas, visit Immigration New Zealand (external link) for visa information.
Additional legislative or workplace policy requirements
Private sector employers do not have to advertise a vacancy unless they have a specific requirement in employment agreements or workplace policies. Some workplace employment agreements or policies state that the employer has to advertise internally before externally, or will give preference to employees who have recently been made redundant.
Many employers in the public sector are required by the State Sector Act 1988 to notify a vacancy to make sure that suitably qualified applicants are aware of the vacancy, and they must then appoint the applicant best suited to the position.