6 reasons your job adverts don’t attract the best candidates…

The key to attracting the best candidates - learn 6 reasons why your job adverts aren’t attracting the best candidates and how you can fix them.

…and 6 ways to fix them!

Finding the best candidates

The amount of applicants you get per job opening is an important metric to track, but increasing this metric doesn’t necessarily guarantee successful recruitment. What matters the most is making sure your job adverts are converting candidates that are the best fit for the position. Your role might attract 100 applicants, but if only a handful of them actually fit the bill, your talent pool will shrink significantly. 

With EU employment at a record high, it’s getting harder to attract the best candidates. But what do we mean by ‘the best’? You shouldn’t expect candidates to fulfill every single requirement (requirements are more of your wish list*), but your aim is to target applicants who DO meet 85% of what you’re looking for.

What you say and how you say it is key to attracting the best candidates. Click across the below pages to learn 6 reasons why your poorly written job adverts aren’t attracting the best candidates and how you can fix them. 

Untitled-design-2Reason 1: The structure is bad

The overall structure of your adverts can make or break a candidate’s application. For example, failing to use subheaders, paragraphs or bullet points make your job adverts look messy and hard to navigate.

Having your advert begin with your ‘About US’ makes it too much about you and not enough about the candidate.


Solution 1: Keep a defined order

  • Outline the responsibilities, requirements, and company benefits – a defined structure will help the flow of your adverts and make them more readable.
  • Avoid starting with the ‘About Us’ – have this nearer the end of the advert. Having an identical About Us section in every one of your job ads risks being considered as duplicate content (so bad for your SEO!)


Reason 2: You’re using poor job titles

Instead of a simple and effective job title that reflects the role (e.g. Call Center Manager), you’re opting for something that’s ‘quirky’ (e.g. Chief Chatter…). You may think this sounds cool, but in reality, it’s not and can be confusing for potential candidates!

(If you’re interested, you can find 50 of the weirdest job titles that have genuinely been found on CVs here.) 

Solution 2: Use clear job titles

  • Job titles are usually the first thing an applicant sees. Use 1 to 3 words and avoid mentioning names of departments, location, symbols and anything about a bonus.
  • Don’t try to be clever – keep them simple and straight to the point.


Reason 3: You’re using the wrong tone of voice

Using 3rd person language (The job requires a lot of technical skills…) significantly impacts your tone. It makes job adverts sound confrontational, a perception you do not want to give off to candidates.

Solution 3: Consider your point of view

  • Write in the 1st/2nd person (‘you’, ‘we’), instead of 3rd person language e.g. ‘You are a good fit if…’
  • Ask questions. They may be rhetorical, but asking questions in your job adverts creates a much more conversational tone. Consider opening your job description with something like “How would you like to help develop software used by 2,000+ customers?”


Reason 4: Your expectations are too high

Although you want to attract the best candidates out there, this doesn’t mean your job adverts should have unreasonable expectations.

Solution 4: Don’t ask for too much

  • Be reasonable in your expectations. Highly skilled candidates will know what skills are relevant for the job at hand.
  • Make sure to only mention the necessary skillset rather than a list of unnecessary demands. You also don’t want to inspire candidates that simply aren’t the best fit.  


Reason 5: There’s little in it for candidates

Failing to include what’s in it for potential candidates and the impact their work will have on the organization is a crucial failing.

Solution 5: Include a benefits section

  • Appeal to candidates’ desire to be part of something bigger – what’s in it for them and what impact will their work have on the organization.
  • Although you may have your key benefits outlined on your career site, it’s still worth highlighting the most important ones in your job advert. These are key selling points and can be a deal maker or breaker for in-demand candidates.


Reason 6: Lack of inclusive wording

The use of specific language in job adverts can discourage people who feel unrepresented from applying to a position. For example, if you’re using gender-coded words such as ‘compete’, ‘dominant’ or ‘rockstar’, you’re going to inevitably put off candidates who don’t identify themselves with that kind of jargon but are a great fit for the job.

Solution 6: Use inclusive wording

  • Use words in your adverts that avoid gender bias and are natural. For example, replace ‘We’re looking for strong people who thrive in a competitive atmosphere’ to ‘We’re looking for exceptional people who are motivated by high goals.’
  • Emphasize your company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by stating that you are ‘an equality opportunity employer’ at the bottom of each job advert.
  • Underline inclusive benefits like parental leave and childcare subsidies.


Remember, attractive job adverts are all about the content. What you say and how you say it is key to attracting the best candidates. The real aim of any job advert should be to attract the best people to apply. It’s about the quality of applicants, not the quantity.

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