Job Ads

Tyler Fisher
Tyler Fisher, PHR
There are endless ways to recruit applicants, and it can be challenging to decide which methods will result in the great hires you are looking for. Ads can be an effective tool, but how do you know where and how to advertise, and how much to spend? Read on to start understanding this complex topic.

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What Are Job Advertisements?

Job advertisements are a recruiting tool used to create awareness of a job opening and ultimately attract job applications.

Job Ads vs Job Postings vs Job Descriptions

Job ads are paid advertisements used when you need to stretch or increase your recruiting efforts. We’ll focus on them in this article.

A job posting is the recruiting tool you use to describe your open role externally. It is how you tell the world you are hiring. You typically list a job posting before running job ads. Usually you publish your job posting via your careers webpage and free hiring boards on the internet, such as Indeed.com or Glassdoor.com.

Both job postings and job ads describe the job, but don’t confuse them with the job description. A job description is an internal document created by the Human Resources team to outline a given role and state its duties, responsibilities, and requirements. It is an internal reference used as a complete description of responsibilities, expectations, and where it reports in the org chart. It is for internal use and reference, and is  separate from your external job postings and job ads.

When It Makes Sense to Advertise a Job Opening

The first and most basic step to take when you are hiring is to post your job opening. In many situations, that job posting alone will not be enough to get the hire. Here are a few examples where it makes sense to run job ads.

  • When your job posting is not getting enough traffic (applications) to make enough hires.
  • When your job posting is not attracting applicants with the necessary qualifications to make a qualified hire.
  • When you want to reach a specific targeted audience.
  • When you have an accelerated timeline or deadline in which to make a hire.

What to Include in a Job Ad

Depending on what type of job you are filling, these elements may be presented differently, but they will all still be included.

1. A Hook

The first element of a job ad is the hook. The hook catches the intended audience’s attention and motivates them to continue reading. The hook can provide information, but it doesn’t have to. It doesn’t even have to be related; it just needs to grab and hold the reader’s attention.

It could be a specific benefit, like flexible hours or competitive pay. On some ads, it could be a graphic or a picture. Many times, it’s a catchy tagline that makes the intended audience want to read on.

Here is a creative example of an effective hook that utilizes an image:

2. A Description

The description is drawn from the information in the job description. However, internal Human Resources job descriptions are not written with an external audience in mind, and they are not written to be interesting. The description in a job ad is written specifically to captivate and inspire.

Include enough information to help the reader get an accurate idea of the role, but not so much that they lose interest.

3. What the Successful Applicant Will Bring

This helps the reader decide if they have the skills, attributes, passion, and motivation required by the job. You may see a heading like Who You Are in many job postings.

This also helps the reader understand if the job is something they want to do. A reader may be experienced in what you are looking for but have something else in mind for their next role.

In this section, you attract people who are actively looking to do exactly what is involved in your open role.

4. What Successful Applicants Will Have

This is similar to the What you will bring section, but it focuses more on qualifications. The “what you will have” section gives the reader the information to assess whether they are qualified for the role or not.

Your goal in this section is to find qualified candidates while remaining as inclusive as possible in order to build a diverse pipeline of applicants. As much as possible, avoid disqualifying people who may actually be qualified for the role.

A word of caution about listing qualifications: take care not to have an adverse effect on traditionally marginalized groups, such as women, people of color, and people with disabilities. Statistics show that women are less likely than men to apply for a role if they do not meet all of the listed job requirements. 

Depending on the type of advertisement you are running, this section may vary in length. If you are running a sponsored job post where a reader will have time to sit down and read, you will include more information, but if you are running a billboard ad, this section will be a few words at the most. In most cases, length corresponds to cost.

5. A Call to Action

Your job ad needs to move the reader to do something. To achieve the end result—that they apply for a role if they are qualified and if you have targeted the right audience—your call to action may be more nuanced. It may direct them to click on a link, follow your company on social media, send in a resume, or share a referral. Whatever the call to action is, this is the summation of your job ad. Everything builds towards the action you want them to take.

The call to action needs to be strong and clear. It should also be simple; the more complex it is, the less people will follow through.

Different Types of Job Ads to Consider

There are many different types of job ads, and this is where you get to be creative.

Many factors influence where you run your ad. Here are some common factors to consider:

  • What outcome are you looking for?
  • Who are you trying to engage?
    • Niche candidates
    • Entry-level candidates
    • Very targeted experience or qualifications
    • An audience primarily found online
    • An audience primarily found on a specific social media platform
    • An audience primarily found offline
  • How many applicants do you hope to reach?

1. Display Advertisements

These are the ads you see on websites—sometimes in the margins, or at the top of the page. They are sometimes called banner ads. One of the advantages of display ads is they are found on non-job websites, so they are seen by people during routine day-to-day web browsing.

Typically, display ads are geo-targeted to specific areas relevant to the job ad. With geo-targeting, you are able to get your job ad in front of someone even while they are out and about or on a mobile device.

Display ads automatically adjust for either desktop or mobile devices, which makes them very versatile.

Display ads are often hyperlinked, so the call to action is easy; just a click or a tap takes the user straight to your careers webpage to apply for the job.

When you run a display ad through an online vendor, one thing to be aware of is that you will likely not not have any control over what website your ad displays on; it could be displaying anywhere.

Display ads have to be very creative because they are usually an image or very short video with very little text. Effective display ads require a high degree of expertise in online marketing, and are not for beginners. In order to make sure your banner ad complies with your company’s brand, voice, and policies, you will likely need to partner with your creative team, if you have one, and let them create the content.

Note: If you are an HR team of one, with no creative team to partner with, you may want to invest some time in online graphic design tutorials before attempting to create banner ad content on your own.

The price of a banner ad is similar to the price of any other ad: it’s flexible. Your spend can vary greatly depending on your overall budget and the amount of reach you want your ad to have.

2. Featured Ad

Featured ads are paid ads that appear in a featured section on a job-posting website.This can be an inexpensive way to get more visibility on a high-priority role.

A downside to featured ads is that they are featured generally, not targeted. You are paying to have the listing featured to a very broad audience with no understanding of how much of that traffic will be relevant.

While feature ads are good for boosting visibility, they do not yield targeted results.

3. Sponsored Ads

Sponsored ads make up the bulk of most job ad campaigns. The biggest advantage of sponsored job ads is reach. When setting up a sponsored job ad, you partner with a rep at the job board as well as your marketing team to make your ad SEO optimized. This means your ads will get priority in the search algorithm, so when people search for keywords, your job will be closer to the top of the search results, making it more likely to be clicked on.

Next, decide on a budget. Sponsored job ads can be used on small budgets, but even small- to mid-sized businesses can find themselves investing tens of thousands of dollars every month on sponsored job ads. They are used when you need to significantly grow your application base, and are often used by companies that are in high growth mode.

Sponsored job ads are usually set up on a pay-per-click model, which benefits you because if people aren’t clicking on your ad, you don’t pay.

Sponsored ads are used heavily on social media. If you modify your job posting for a social media post, you can pay based on the amount of reach you want to have to get your content boosted in the algorithm, making it more likely to appear in someone’s feed. Social media sponsored ads usually use a pay-per-click budget structure. The cost of posting sponsored job ads on social media varies tremendously; you could spend as little as $50 or literally thousands, depending on how far you need your ad to reach.

4. Targeted Ads

Targeted ads are among the most effective types of online ads, and focus on helping you reach a specific demographic. This type of ad has lower reach and less volume, but will be more on target.

When setting up targeted ads, you must determine what demographics and locations it will target. For instance, you may target people with a specific job title or people within a specific industry. With this type of targeting you can ensure that your marketing dollars are going straight to the people you want to engage with.

Depending what job board or website you post on, your targeted ad may show up as a recommended or personalized invitation to apply. One of the differences between sponsored and targeted ads is that a targeted ad will show up as an ad in an ad space, and sponsored ads usually show up mixed in with organic (regular, unpaid) content.

The majority of targeted ads are set up on monthly contracts. Cost can vary from $1,000 and up; depending on the size of project you are running, you may be spending tens of thousands of dollars per month. Similarly, these ads can run as small single-channel ads or run as large multi-channel (running across different sites, apps, or operating systems) ads that draw in hundreds of applications a week.

5. Video Ads

As video content and ads in general permeate farther into places like social media,video ads are becoming more common on YouTube, Spotify, and other popular online venues where large, diverse audiences of people gather.

Video ads require a high level of expertise to create. If you are not experienced in creating professional video content, you will need to partner either with your internal marketing and creative teams or hire an outside agency to help you create marketable video content.

Some specific social media sites are the exception to this rule. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram have audiences that relate to and engage with organic content (content produced by creators at no cost, like posting a video you took with your phone). Even though some social media sites have audiences that engage with organic content, it still takes a level of expertise to create effective organic content.

When budgeting for video ads, make sure to budget in the cost of creating the ad as well as running it. Even though there can be a  steep cost to video ads, videos are extremely effective in engaging audiences’ attention and getting audiences to engage by acting on a call to action.

Video ads are extremely effective because they communicate at a genuine and personal level that people identify with more easily than text-only ads.

6. Offline Ads

When you need to get creative, reach niche audiences, or try a different avenue to break into audiences you are not fully reaching online, you may consider offline ads.

Offline ads are growing less popular with the availability and effectiveness of online ads. However, with competitive labor markets, companies are re-exploring offline ads in hopes of getting an edge over their competition.

Here are a few examples of offline ads to research that may help you in your talent marketing campaigns.

  • Local ads
  • Billboards
  • Radio ads
  • TV ads
  • Newspaper ads
  • Flyers
  • Building banners
  • Yard signs
  • Mailers
  • Email lists
  • Local sponsorships
  • Event sponsorships
  • Customer remarketing
  • Brand-wrapped vehicles
  • Business cards
  • Coupons (if you cross-traffic customers with candidates)
  • Hosting events such as meet and greets, networking events, happy hours, etc.
  • Employee referral programs
  • And more

Examples of Effective Job Ads

Here are a few examples of effective job ads.

Example 1: Sponsored Ad on Indeed.com

Company: BabbyCubby

This ad is a straightforward, typical online ad. It labels the sections we have talked about, while they have used different titles. Indeed makes the call to action easy because it has an “apply here” button.

Who You Are & What You Do

Inspiring, driven, and dedicated. Our Social Media Specialist is a key player in our marketing team. You are responsible for parts of our Instagram platform, with a huge emphasis on stories. You are accountable for creating world-class experiences for our customers, so they can shop like they were standing in our store. Your fire for life, family, and lifting others drives you to be excellent in your position, helping enrich our customers and the lives of our team members. You love to hustle. You are passionate about baby gear, and love learning the ins and outs of each product, while sharing that knowledge with your team. You turn problems into opportunities with your positive, can-do attitude and problem-solving skills.

Who We Are

We are a team with vision, purpose, and passion. We have an intense desire to grow, and we continually push ourselves and each other to improve. We are passionate and positive. We solve problems, work hard, and care about each other. We are driven to give our best each day because the work we do matters.

Why It Matters

Shopping for children is overwhelming. We believe that being a parent should create excitement and wonder, not fear. At The Baby Cubby, we simplify shopping and help parents find products they love and trust so they can more fully enjoy the journey of parenthood. We believe that being a parent is the hardest and most important job in the world. We believe parents should be honored, thanked, and appreciated. We come to work each day to enrich others’ lives.

We need team members who…

  • Are trustworthy
  • Are willing to work hard
  • Strive to maintain a positive attitude
  • Are self-motivated
  • Will set & achieve goals
  • Take responsibility and ownership of their job
  • Hold themselves accountable for their actions
  • Take initiative
  • Love to learn new things and can learn quickly
  • Are willing to help where needed

Some Things You’ll Be Doing

  • Create and post Instagram stories
  • Engage with other brands/influencers
  • Analyze insights from Instagram to gain better engagement
  • Source images
  • Help with coordinating Instagram-specific projects
  • Use statistics, insights, and research to create a better Instagram strategy

Required Skills:

  • Social media experience especially Instagram
  • Wonderful grammar usage and professional writing skills
  • Instagram lover
  • Able to roll with the punches
  • Analytical
  • Proficient in using the computer
  • Loves being creative
  • Can create and match the aesthetic of our feed
  • Good with a camera – loves photography

Desired skills: 

  • Photoshop experience (or SparkPost)
  • Graphic design experience
  • Photography experience
  • Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel experience for managing calendars

Schedule/Expected Hours: 

This is a full-time position at our office in Lehi, UT. In addition, you will post Instagram stories from home during the evenings and on Saturday.

Example 2: Display Ad Featured on Various Websites

Company: MailChimp

This is a very creative online ad from MailChimp that in a few short words effectively demonstrates all of the essential elements of a job ad.

  • Hook: this ad targets college students, and hooks them by using a pop culture reference to the movie Napoleon Dynamite.
  • Description: “We’d love to meet you.”
  • What they will bring: It uses the phrase “award-winning,” which communicates that MailChimp is looking for the best of the best.
  • What they will have: It simply gives the job title: “Support Team.” From that, the reader will know to some degree what skills they need to bring.
  • Call to action: This ad is for a specific hiring event and contains the date, time, and location.

Example 3: Display Ad

Company: McDonalds

McDonalds hooks the reader with what it does best: a picture of their food. It makes it clear that they will not need to bring any skills, which also gives insight into the culture, which values training and development. They are using the word wanted as a call to action because the word “wanted” implies and communicates urgency.

Example 4: Sponsored Ad on a Niche Job Board

Company: Qualtrics

This is another online job ad that includes many of the elements of a job description. It labels what the candidate will bring and what they will have. It strikes a balance between what the candidate will need and what they will gain from the opportunity.

The Qualtrics XM Platform is a system of action that helps businesses to attract customers who stay longer and buy more, to engage and empower employees to do the best work of their lives, to develop breakthrough products people love, and to build a brand people can’t imagine living without.

Joining Qualtrics means becoming part of a team bold enough to chase breakthrough experiences – like building a technology that will be a force for good. A team committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion because of a conviction that every voice holds value, with a vision for representation that matches the world around us and inclusion that far exceeds it. You could belong to a team whose values center on transparency, being all in, having customer obsession, acting as one team, and operating with scrappiness. All so you can do the best work of your career.

We believe every interaction is an opportunity. Are we yours?

The Challenge

The People Analytics team leverages People data to inform and provide insight to decision-makers at the company. On this team, the Technology Manager for People systems is responsible for making all key decisions for technical issues related to the People organization.

A Day In The Life

  • Owns the full tech roadmap for People including how all the systems connect and engage with one another
  • Ensures consistent data structure across all systems so data can be analyzed/reported on across the entire lifecycle
  • Owns the partnership with procurement and decisions around renewal and new technology needs
  • Partners with the Systems team on integrations/feature updates/etc.
  • Ensures we meet all compliance requirements for our people systems/data
  • Understands all downstream impacts for new tech/updates and ensures a smooth roll out of new tech
  • Provide focus to a high performing team and outstanding customer service to internal clients and partners
  • Advise cross function people teams (i.e. HRBPs, People Analytics, Total Rewards, Learning & Development, Talent Acquisition) on data structure and operational improvements to unlock productivity
  • Partner with Systems and other cross functional HR and business teams to participate in roadmapping our internal systems strategy and implementation
  • Collaborate on implementation of new systems/processes to further streamline and automate HR business process
  • Evaluate current HR processes to identify areas for improvement through technical solutions
  • Oversee the rollout of systems optimizations projects in our portfolio
  • Partner with people analytics team to update our HR systems to capture streamlined employee data
  • Collaborate on change management for the development of training and documentation for system use and maintenance.
  • Serves as lead representative and liaison between HR, Information Services, external vendors, and other stakeholders for HR database design and implementation projects.
  • SuccessFactors – HRIS
  • Collaborate with SuccessFactors owner and module technical owners technical to prioritize innovation options and critical issues/enhancements
  • Executes and manage functional processes based on corporate guidelines and compliance
  • Performs basic tasks by functional / module area to address process, form, content & workflow changes
  • Attends release review meetings (x-suite and by module)
  • Works with HRIS to prioritize opt in and opt out functionality

Required Skills & Qualifications

  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and technical support skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Familiarity with human resource policies and procedures to ensure the HRIS meets organizational needs and goals.
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office, Google Suite or related software.
  • Ability to keep information confidential.
  • Thorough understanding of human resource database construction.
  • Preferred – Experience with SuccessFactors
  • Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, Human Resources Management, Business Administration, or related field required.

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Questions You’ve Asked Us About Job Ads

How do I know if my job ad was successful?
The best way to know if your job ad was successful is to specifically define how you will define success up front, and there is no one single way to do that. Depending on your goal and methodl, you might measure the number of hires, applications, job ad views, job ad clicks, etc. it generates.
How much should I spend on a job ad?
Some companies spend as little as $100 total and some spend tens of thousands a month. It’s all about understanding your cost per hire goal, which should be set in collaboration with executive leadership and will determine your hiring budget. From there, you can determine how much of your hiring budget should be spent on advertising.
Tyler Fisher
Tyler Fisher, PHR

Tyler empowers Talent Acquisition professionals, HR business leaders, and key stake holders to develop and execute talent management strategies. He is igniting the talent acquisition process through: team building, accurate time to fill forecasting, driving creative talent sourcing, and fine-tuning recruiting team effectiveness.

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