There's one question that almost every recruiter and hiring manager has asked themselves: What's the difference between a job advert and a job description? The answer might seem obvious–one is for marketing, and the other is for clarifying internal roles. But the truth is that there's much more to know about these two essential documents. In this article, we'll explore what a job advert and a job description are, their key differences, why it matters which document comes first, plus tips on how to write both. What Is a Job Advert? You may have heard of job adverts and job descriptions – but what’s the difference? It's essential to understand the distinction between these two documents in order to ensure your recruitment search is successful. Let's start with the basics – what is a job advert? Job adverts are used to advertise open positions on platforms like LinkedIn or other job boards. A job advert or advertisement is a concise overview of the role you are trying to fill. They should be succinct and include a maximum of two paragraphs containing key information about the vacancy; think salary range, company overview, brief description of the role and company benefits. This is what candidates look at when deciding if they want to apply for the position. The goal is to attract potential candidates that align with your company culture and values. It pays off to put effort into designing an eye-catching job advert that stands out from competitors – as it can be one of the factors that will help you find the perfect fit for your team.
A successful job advert needs to be inviting. It should be written in a way that the reader can really feel and imagine themselves in that role.
What Is a Job Description? At its most basic, a job description is an outline of the responsibilities, tasks and potentially also expectations associated with a particular job. It's written in direct language and typically outlines the skills/competencies needed to perform a job and the duties that come with it. The goal of a job description is to provide clarity around the overall role and ensure that both the employer and employee have an understanding of what will be expected of them. A successful job description should include these key components:
Essential duties and responsibilities
Qualifications required (education, experience)
Competencies or preferred skills
Physical job requirements
An employer will use this information to determine who is best suited for the role. For potential employees, it's a great way to find out if you are qualified for a position before applying. Why It’s Important to Differentiate Between the Two As a hiring manager, it’s important to distinguish between job adverts and job descriptions. Knowing the difference can help you attract the right talent and ensure that you’re hiring the best person for the job. The job advert is essentially a hook to peak interest and grab attention. It needs to 'sell' the opportunity. Think of it as a marketing tool. The job description is a document required for HR and contract purposes that outline what the job is. The two are very different. If you are copying and pasting your job description and making it your job advert, you will highly likely find that you are not attracting the talent that you had hoped. I recently hosted a training workshop for managers and I gave them a selection of 4 job adverts and ask them to pick which they would apply for. There was mixed choice betweeen number 1 and 2 but no-one selected number 3. The reason being that number 3 was just a copy and paste of a job description and didn't give any information about what the role and company are truly like.
The best part of this experiment is that job advert 3 was their own company advert and nobody selected it.
Making the Most of these Recruitment Tools These two recruitment tools work hand-in-hand, but require different approaches. A job advert should be more of a marketing document that sets out the key points about the role that will attract the right candidates for your organization. It should clearly explain why the role exists and why it adds value to the company culture—you want to make sure that candidates understand what’s great about joining your team. A job description, on the other hand, should focus on the specific tasks and requirements of the role. While it should be clear enough that a candidate can understand what they’d be doing in the role, it doesn’t need to grab their attention quite as much as a job advert; after all, they’re already interested and have applied by the time they received the job description. Ensuring you have both a job advert and job description is an integral part of successful hiring and recruiting. By investing time into these documents you stand a much greater chance of finding suitable talent for your organization—and when used in tandem one another, their true value will shine through
Conclusion: To sum up, job adverts and job descriptions are two halves of a whole. While a job advert outlines the job in terms of what it is about, a job description goes more in-depth and gives a clear picture of the candidate’s qualifications, experience, and responsibilities. They are both essential in optimizing your recruitment and hiring process, and should be used in tandem to ensure that you attract the best possible candidates for the role. Ultimately, if you want to make the most of your recruiting efforts and secure the best talents for the job, it is critical to understand the differences between job adverts and job descriptions, as well as how to use them effectively. With the right tools and knowledge, you can find the right people for your organisation–now you have a better idea of how to do so. Learn to write job adverts that attract your dream employees by using magnetic messaging that draws them in. Phlox can enhance your skills in this area via a 90 minute strategy session or by booking one of our workshops. Click HERE to learn more.