Write a job ad to attract your ideal candidate

A solid team of outstanding staff is essential if your practice is to function and grow. But finding the right staff is one of the biggest challenges in any business. So where to begin? It starts simply with a great job ad.

Any job ad will get you resumes. But a great job ad will attract quality resumes from worthy candidates, cutting down on administration time and saving your firm money.

The challenge of change

The recruitment game is becoming increasingly competitive in the accounting industry. The power is shifting toward candidates, with some firms struggling to compete for talent with the practices that are perceived as young and modern. So it’s more vital than ever that you revisit your strategy and start fresh with your ad copy.

To land the best and brightest you have to prove why they should work for your firm. Which means we’ll need to go into a little Marketing 101. Remember, a job ad is still an ad for your practice.

Gather the data

Start fresh with your data collection. Gather the job description (if there is one, otherwise writing this may need to be the first step) and a description of the firm. Don’t take an old ad (or someone else’s ad) and think you can just change a few words — but DO have a look at job ads from the competition. Pay attention to what you like and dislike, and then make sure your ad is better! It doesn’t have to offer more, but should be more compelling to read.

Make them excited!

To catch the attention of the candidate, emphasize the benefits of the role. So many ads lean too much on technical specs and applicant requirements. These are important, but one of your main goals should be to get people excited about the idea of working for you.

You must also have an idea of who your ideal candidate is, and think about how you can appeal to them. If you’ve already got a perfect worker and dream each night of cloning them, ask Mr/Ms Perfect what they love about working in the firm, and make sure the things those things are relayed in the ad!

Language & formatting

Don’t start at the start! The headline should actually be the last thing you write. So we’ll get to that later.

Usually you are going to be filling one position, so write for one person, not the masses. And don’t be afraid to make it personal. You should use subheadings and bullet points to make your ad scannable, avoid unnecessary words and write in an active sentence structure. Keep it friendly and professional, but avoid recruitment buzzwords! Applicants find too much jargon annoying, confusing and even intimidating.

Now we can get to your headline. Treat job ad headlines like email subject lines. Marketers who use email will tell you how important the subject line is, as it’s their only tool to get someone to click on their message — or in your case to expand your job ad! You’ll want to differentiate it if you can, but remember you also want it to show up in search results, so it can’t be too obscure.

Finally, read it aloud (to yourself, a colleague, whoever will listen!) and never forget to run a spellcheck!

Time for action

If you’ve inspired a candidate to apply, you’ll want to make the process uncomplicated so they don’t get frustrated. Some employers are taking the emphasis off resumes, at least for the initial contact, and accepting online profiles like a personal website or LinkedIn profile in their place. If communication is important to the role, consider only allowing phone calls in place of resumes.

Before you post the ad, make sure you have a system set up so that applicants get an answer. You want them to remember their application experience with your firm positively, even if they don’t end up with you.

With this advice you shouldn’t need it, but all the same — good luck finding your next team member!

To compare the challenges your firm is facing acquiring, training and retaining staff with accounting practices from around the world, download The talent challenge: insights from Karbon’s 2017 talent survey.