For hiring managers, writing job ads can be a pain. For job seekers, reading these ads can be a bore.
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Part of the problem is that everyone is using the same generic templates. After a while, every job ad you come across starts to look the same: basic company description, job responsibilities, requirements, etc.
But it doesn't have to be the way. Your job descriptions can leave lasting impressions on job seekers and engage top talent. All you have to do is make the change from writing job ads that describe the role to writing job ads that really sell the role.
Here are nine tips for writing job ads that really pop, with a particular focus on job ads for sales roles:
1. Define Your Sales Job
Before you can hire your perfect fit, you need to define what, exactly, they're fitting. That means you have to first define the sales job you are trying to fill. Are you looking for an entry-level business development rep? An account manager? A vice president of sales?
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Go deeper than the title and break down the specifics of the role. Who will they be selling to? What will their territory be? Are there quotas? What's the commission structure? Every tiny detail needs to be ironed out.
2. Understand Your Selling Environment
To determine the characteristics a salesperson will need to succeed in your company, you must first understand the sales environment and selling approach your team has. Start by taking a look at the average deal size and sales cycle. Do you have more of a transitional or strategic sales approach? Do you consider your sales reps "hunters" or "farmers"? Understanding your sales team will help you better select candidates who will thrive on the team.
3. Build a Flexible Candidate Persona
A word of caution: Do not get hung up on unrealistic expectations. More often than not, hiring managers are looking for perfectly ideal candidates who check all the boxes on the new hire wish list. The reality is that such candidates rarely come around.
Instead, focus on the skills and personality traits of your current team members. Who are your top salespeople? What qualities set them apart? Look for candidates who are similar to your top performers – and leave a little wiggle room. They don't have to be exact replicas.
4. Craft a Compelling Job Title
Titles like "inside sales rep," "account executive," and "sales manager" are common, and unless you have a big recruitment advertising budget, there's no guarantee that your role will stand out from all the other, similar roles on the job board.
In order to attract the right audience, consider making the title more unique. Are you in the media advertising space? Consider a job title like "digital media inside sales rep." Are you in IT consulting? Try "account executive – IT consulting." These titles give candidates an idea of the industry you're operating in, allowing for a more targeted approach.
Feel free to skip buzzwords like "ninja," "hacker," "unicorn," etc. They're overused and don't yield any worthwhile results.
5. Add a Company Narrative
Take time during the ad to talk about what the company is, what it does, and who it is looking for. Your company narrative should be short and to the point, no more than three sentences. The company narrative should focus on answering the job seeker's most important question: "Why should I want work for your company?" Talking about culture, leadership, growth, awards/recognition, and other exciting aspects of the organization is a great way to get prospective candidates interested.
6. Give Plenty of Details
The job may be difficult, and it's okay to be honest about that in the ad, but on the whole, you want to focus on the positive and exciting aspects of the role.
Use bullet points to organize this information. You don't need to list every responsibility under the sun, but you want to give the job seeker a solid understanding of what they can expect in the role. Make sure you include:
- Day-to-day responsibilities
- How salespeople get their leads in your company (hunting, cold-calling, inbound marketing, etc.)
- The team they will work with and the person to whom they will report
- The kinds of customers they will sell to
- Territories they will manage
- Details on the team they will manage, if applicable
- How you plan to help them reach their goals
- Technologies and software they will utilize
7. Be Realistic With Your Requirements
In the requirements section of your ad, focus on qualifications for the role, rather than inflexible ideal criteria. You want to be selective, but not so selective that you drive perfectly good talent away with impossible demands.
Consider whether the candidate needs:
- a degree;
- a minimum number of years spent in sales roles;
- experience in a specific industry or selling a specific type of product or service;
- experience selling to a similar audience;
- relevant certifications;
- or experience using a certain technology.
8. Highlight the Perks and Benefits
When it comes to attracting, engaging, and retaining top sales talent, company perks and benefits matter. Include these in your job ad, with a particular focus on things like:
- Health and dental insurance
- 401(k) with company match
- Flexible work options
- Time off to volunteer
- Tuition reimbursement
- Commuting discounts
- Maternity and paternity leave
9. Talk Money
Money may not be everything, but it is something – and for most salespeople, the financial piece is a pretty important factor. If you want to attract qualified sales candidates, you'll need to talk salary.
If you're hesitant to share an exact salary in the ad, consider posting a range. That way, you can advertise monetary benefits without painting yourself into a corner.
The next time you need to make a sales hire, skip the template. Instead, use these nine tips to optimize your job ad and start attracting the right talent to your company.
Chelsey Canavan is the marketing manager at Treeline, Inc.