Recruiting, retaining and supporting General Practitioners (GPs), Nurses and Allied Health Professionals in rural New South Wales, Australia

Writing an effective job ad

Tips for advertisers

The first thing to recognise is that good candidates are in short supply so how are you going to make your ad stand out from the crowd and attract a good applicant?

Second, you need to create an advertisement that is going to attract someone to enquire for more information – don't recreate the job description!

A good job description will also help you design your advert. See RDN's tips for developing a job description.

So how are you going to attract the attention of a job seeker and make your job stand out in pages of results for similar jobs?

Most ad tips recommend you work on an attention-grabbing headline. What is likely to appeal to a prospective employee? Put yourself in their shoes and ask the last successful recruit you hired why they applied for your job and why do they stay? Brainstorm some ideas with others.

Consider the difference between the following job titles:
RN – Community Health
RNs – Imagine working for a community that you feel you belong to.

Another tip is to use questions:

  • Tired of the long commute in the big smoke?
  • Looking for a variety of clinical practice in a rewarding and supportive environment?
  • Want to belong to a friendly and welcoming community in a picturesque setting?

Then this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for…..

The most common errors we see are ads that place all the emphasis on what the candidate must possess or simply don't supply enough information so the chances are an applicant will move on to the next ad.

Remember: from the applicant’s perspective, they are only tuned in to WII FM (What’s In It For Me?). The best ads give reasons why an applicant would want to apply and in turn they tend to generate a better quality of response.

So, reflect on the benefits in your workplace? Are flexible work hours on offer or an extra week’s annual leave or a stable workforce with low turnover? Again, involve your team and get their perspective on what are the positive aspects of your workplace and promote them.

Keep the body content of your ad short, sharp and to the point and cover the nature and scope of the work, what the environment is like - always keeping in mind that you want to create desire in the applicant’s mind that this is the ideal job for them.

Keep the tone conversational and the use of the word 'you' is powerful and engaging. Avoid being formal and using technical jargon.

Be careful with your layout – bullet points are easier to read and break chunks of text up in to ‘bite sized’ pieces. Avoid too many different fonts or graphics or over-use of bold and italics. Above all, check your grammar and spelling errors! Get someone to proofread your ad before you post it.

Remember your engagement with the applicant and your future employee begins with that ad – and ads that look professional, well laid out and inviting have been proven to attract a better quality of applicant. We all know how important first impressions can be.

The RDN website allows you space to upload three photos of your town, logo and/or working environment. Ensure you use good quality images and if you don’t have any suitable images on hand, check with your local tourism organisation or with the RDN Recruitment teams as we have a range of images on file. Think carefully about what you want to convey about your town and choose your images to match that. Remember advertising with RDN is free for rural employers.

It is critical that the contact on the ad is going to be available to speak with prospective applicants – ideally include both an email address and a phone number and the name and position of the contact person. A great ad can be ruined if your first point of contact lets you down by not returning a phone call or by sounding unenthusiastic or abrupt.

Consider what further information you can supply to the applicant once they have applied. It is important to acknowledge the application and, ideally, then send them more information e.g. a link to your local LGA site – many of these have terrific information for newcomers to town. Many of the LHDs also have excellent promotional material you may be able to tap in to.

Finally, bear in mind that with a limited supply of health professionals you are in competition with all the other towns in NSW and throughout Australia. Make the applicant feel wanted and welcomed and you might be pleasantly surprised at your success.

If you'd like to discuss further or if you need assistance, email the Nursing and Allied Health Recruitment team or call 02 4924 8000 and we'll call you back at a time that's convenient for you.