Looking to attract top sales talent? Your advertising sales jobs ad is your first impression, so it’s essential to make it count. To attract top candidates, write your ad like a dating profile, not a job description. Be clear about what you want in an ideal candidate, and avoid misleading language. According to a CareerBuilder survey, half of new hires quit within six months!
Make sure your ad grabs attention with a catchy headline and focuses on the benefits of the role. Remember, “Give ’em A.I.R.” – Attention, Interest, and Recall.
To help illustrate my point, many years ago, when Ben Lambert started Eastdil Secured (at the time, Eastdil Realty), he needed a sales rep who could focus exclusively on growing their business. He approached his ad agency and was very clear about what he wanted. “I want ONE person to read the ad, understand what we’re looking for, and apply for the job. Someone who understands I want them to concentrate on selling and building, not on administering and fussing.” (Or words to that effect.)
The agency took him literally and remembered an old expression from the Vietnam era: “When You’re Up to Your Ass in Alligators, It’s Difficult to Remember Your Initial Objective Was to Drain the Swamp.”
The art director cutely illustrated an executive wrestling alligators. To their delight, Ben approved the ad. It ran. He told the agency that three people responded…and he hired all of them!
13 Expert Tips for Writing Effective Advertising Sales Job Postings
Tip #1: Make Your Job Description Real
- Rather than writing that you want candidates with “excellent communications skills,” describe specific needs for your salespeople. For example, you might write, “Our successful salespeople must be able to give a dazzling 30-minute presentation to C-suite level executives.”
Tip #2: Use Conventional Job Titles
- Some businesses consider it trendy to give salespeople an edgy job title such as “chief growth hacker.” Managers may think a catchy job title helps them “build their brand.” But no one’s out there searching for that job title.
You will miss many potential candidates if you do not conventionally describe your job. Second, if you hire a salesperson whose title is “chief growth hacker,” will your customers know what that means? Remember, if the title is nonsensical, people may interpret it differently.
Tip #3: Appeal to the Few, not the Many
- You only want to attract candidates with the “right stuff” for your team. New sales hires must mesh with your company’s DNA and culture. For example, if your sales organization is highly decentralized, don’t look for salespeople who need structure to thrive. Conversely, if your company requires everyone to follow established processes, don’t seek mavericks who prefer to wing it. Know your culture to determine who will be a natural fit. Also, in your sales job postings, discuss the general vibe of working for your company. Talk about your company’s values, opportunities for professional development, career path, benefits, and other details that set you apart.
Tip #4: Write a Goldilocks Description
- Not too long. Not too short. Just the length that will make the job straightforward. Don’t just list your company’s standard corporate job description.
A study by ERA Recruiting looked at 400,000 job seekers and their responses to job postings of different lengths. They found that the sweet spot to encourage clicks seems greater than 2,000 characters (about 250 words) and less than 10,000 characters (about 2,000 words.)
You can use these numbers as a guide. For writing a job ad, pay more attention to the quality of the message than the quantity. Place your most vital points at the top of a long post to encourage the click-to-apply. If you write your best message at the end of a 3,000-word post, most readers won’t see it.
Tip #5: Show a Range of Compensation and Benefits
- Many employers would prefer to list the compensation of a job opening. Some hiring managers believe that by not listing compensation, they have the upper hand in negotiations. Others don’t want their staff to know how much they pay salespeople. The challenge from a job seeker’s perspective is the time involved in the process. Candidates do not want to spend hours completing online applications only to discover the job’s compensation is unacceptably low.
Zip Recruiter suggests four options for listing sales compensation in job descriptions.
You can list:
- A lower compensation to attract only applicants that are interested in the job
- The highest possible amount (with the phrase, up to) to capture a broader range of applicants
- A range to get a little leeway in making a final offer (We recommend this approach.)
- No compensation, which gives you the most negotiating power but does not attract as many applicants
Tip #6: Don’t Lose the Message
- To get maximum exposure for a job posting, you must make it “findable.” This means you need to consider search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. A top success factor in SEO is selecting the correct keyword phrases. Selecting the ideal keywords increases the likelihood that your postings will perform well on the job boards. But don’t fall in love with SEO at the expense of the ad. Include the keywords most relevant to your sales job opening. What keywords do sales job seekers use when they search for your type of sales job? Make the keywords in your sales job postings as specific as possible. For example, don’t use a generic term like “sales associate” if you sell IT services. Here, you might use the keyword “IT services sales associate.”
You can list ideal keywords by using online tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner. Your team can also have a keyword brainstorming session. Other ways to make your job posting specific and relevant are to include:
- Geographic keywords (Financial Sales Executive to lead Denver Office)
- Company, brand, or product terms related to the job
- Industry terms (does your industry use specific phrases or acronyms)
- Alternate job titles (review your keyword research and see if folks search using other phrases)
Finally, even when using keywords, write your final job description for human readers, as too many keywords can make the description unreadable.
Tip #7: Make Response Deadlines Reasonable
- Give applicants adequate time to respond to a posting. If you need all applicants to submit responses by Sept 1, don’t start your online postings on August 30. Your postings must have time to gain traction. Just don’t go to the other extreme. You do want to create a sense of urgency. If your job opening closes on Sept 1, don’t start promoting it in May.
Tip #8: No Mistakes
- While GenZ candidates won’t care about misspellings and typos, show your own professionalism. Check and double-check your sales job postings. Ensure the critical information (emails, phone numbers, and website links) is correct. Have your best typo tiger comb through the job posting to spot grammatical errors. Send a test email to the link in the ad; if there’s a phone number, dial it and make sure it goes to the correct voice message.
Tip #9: Develop a Plan to Promote the Job Opening
- “If I build it, they will come” works in the movies, but it’s not so good in real life. You must develop a plan to promote your postings through many channels, not just job boards. Post to a variety of social media channels, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and your own career page. Even some trade groups will publish job openings. In addition, modify and repost your ad weekly so it keeps posting to the top of the job board.
Tip #10: Describe Your Candidate Selection Process
- Don’t leave applicants in the dark. Outline your hiring process and the time it typically takes for you to make a selection. If all applicants must take an assessment before an interview, tell them. At each step, describe the next step. If applicants don’t make the cut at a stage, let them know you will not consider them for this opening.
Tip #11: Consider the Mobile Audience
- If you are advertising for new salespeople, especially Millennials, they will review your job postings on their cell phones. Some may even want to apply for the job on their phone. Ensure your website, or any third-party recruiting platform you use, is ready for viewing on a mobile device. Not sure? Whip out your cell phone and review the website’s ease of use on your phone.
Tip #12: Be Honest About the Job and Your Company
- You need to be honest about your company’s position in the marketplace. You must also be real about the job’s opportunity, circumstances, and environment.
If you are not a “top-tier company,” don’t say that in the ad. For example, if you sell data science platforms and Gartner does not identify you as among the leaders, don’t say you are the market leader. Applicants will quickly check your positioning in places like Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report to see how your company ranks in the market.
Tip #13: Monitor Social Media
- Recruiting is no longer a one-way street. ALL corporate communication is no longer a one-way street. Anything you post anywhere on the Web will prompt a comment or two. Tune into those comments and adjust your ad accordingly.
Ask proven employees to tap their social network. Your staff can share your job openings through their LinkedIn updates, Twitter Feeds, and Facebook profiles.
In a similar vein, be honest about the job. If your job is an entry-level sales position, don’t call it a sales management job. If you expect applicants to make cold calls 40% of the time, do not say applicants must make some cold calls. Spell out the actual requirement.
Seventy percent of employees say the realities of their new job differ from the expectations set during the hiring process. Research shows higher job satisfaction and less turnover when salespeople know what they are getting into. Even if the job has many negatives, the hired person will be more satisfied because you set and managed their expectations about the downside.
As a real-world example, we did a project for a large national remodeling chain a few years ago. The company was advertising job openings for trade people to do installations. The company wanted to avoid trade people; they wanted salespeople who could sell remodeling. They expected these individuals to make cold calls, take measurements, design recommendations, and sell the final job. Every single respondent to their ad was not suitable for the job.
Putting it all together, creating job ads is not rocket science, but you need to structure them properly to get the best results.
A well-crafted job ad includes a catchy headline, accurate information about the job and company, and appeals to specific candidates. Ensure your job description is comprehensive by including keywords, mentioning compensation and benefits in clear terms, and making response times reasonable.
To help promote better visibility online, use online tools such as email services and social media networks. Lastly, don’t forget to be honest during the candidate selection process on how you are reviewing potential hires. With these tips in mind, you can easily ensure that your business has an effective hiring strategy that attracts top talent for the long-term success of your organization.
So why wait? Give your business a Big Swift Kick with a proven path to optimized sales today!