How To Write A Help Wanted Ad

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Table Of Contents

A well-crafted help wanted ad could be the difference between attracting the top talent and watching the best candidates land jobs with other companies. Gone are the days of placing an ad in the local newspaper or placing a sign on your business’s front door. It’s more crucial than ever to use marketing tools like a job ad to attract job seekers.

Keep reading to learn how to write a compelling help wanted ad, what to include, and how to distribute your ad to attract the right people.

If you want to get started right away, our favorite job posting site is ZipRecruiter.

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Job Ad vs Job Description

As you are thinking about writing a help wanted ad, it’s important to note there’s a difference between a job ad and a job description.

Job ads are a marketing tool to attract the best job seekers to apply for open positions in your company. They may contain elements of the job description but often include carefully chosen buzzwords to capture someone’s attention.

A job description is a document that lays out an employee’s specific role and responsibilities within your company. Job descriptions are typically distributed by the human resource department or a manager when an employee is first hired, so they know what’s expected of them.

The Components Of A Job Ad

When creating a job ad, you should always include the following components:

  1. Job title
  2. Company information
  3. Job description
  4. Job duties
  5. Job requirements and preferred qualities
  6. Pay range
  7. Benefits
  8. How to apply

The format of a job ad should be kept simple, so it’s easy for job seekers to read and respond. While most of the components seem basic, it’s within the context of those components where you can craft a compelling help wanted ad to attract more eyes.

What To Do Before Writing Your Job Ad

You may want to jump right into crafting the perfect job ad, but there are some steps to take beforehand to help you during the recruitment process.

Determine Your Ideal Candidate

If you plan to fill your open positions with the right people, you need to know what an ideal candidate should look like. The ideal candidate might look different depending on the specific role within the company. Some roles might have particular education or certification requirements. There could also be characteristics that aren’t essential but are preferred in job candidates. Maybe there are intangible qualities that you’re looking for in employees.

Whatever it is, take time to determine what your ideal candidate looks like. Knowing who your ideal candidate is will help guide you as you write a help wanted ad and identify potential candidates during the hiring process.

Know What You Don’t Want

Just as important as identifying your ideal candidate is determining what you don’t want for your next hire. The last thing you want to do is hire someone who ends up being a poor fit for the position. It’s a waste of time and resources. Knowing the qualities you want to avoid will help narrow down the field so you can identify the right person for the job.

Update The Position Description

Job roles change over time. So do businesses. Look over the current job position description to verify it accurately reflects your company’s current needs. You’ll be better equipped to describe the nuances of the role to job applicants. It also ensures that you and job candidates are on the same page regarding the open position.

7 Steps To Writing A Job Ad

Once you’ve identified what you are (and aren’t) looking for in a job candidate and have an updated job description, it’s time to write a job ad. Here are seven steps to include when writing a job ad.

1. Create a Catchy Job Title 

You want to convey an accurate job title so that it’s searchable on popular online job sites. You also want your job title to stand out. One way to do this is by making sure it appears in bold whenever possible. You may be at the mercy of the job board in terms of formatting.

Do your best to keep the title short and sweet, but you can also inject some personality to help it stand out among the thousands of other job openings online. Provide some context that will draw out suitable candidates.


2. Introduce Your Business 

There’s a good chance that job seekers don’t know your company from a competitor. This is your chance to share what your company is all about. There’s no need to go into great detail here. A short introduction about what your business does and why you are different is enough. What makes your company a great place to work? Use this space to share the answer without exaggerating. Honesty is the best policy.

You should include your business’ location (city and state) and any other details that a job applicant might want to know about the surrounding area.

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3. Describe The Open Position 

Include a brief overview of the open position, including its necessary duties and any other essential information about the position. Keep this section concise and clear. Don’t try to be too clever here. The goal is to give job candidates a quick, scannable guide to the job role and duties. You can opt for a bulleted list to keep it organized and easy-to-read.

You can include other important details like who the employee reports to, any position responsibilities, and whether it’s an entry-level position.

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4. Elaborate on Job Requirements and Preferred Qualities 

In this section, you’ll go into greater details on specific requirements of the job as well as any preferred qualities you’d like in a job candidate.

Your company has a legal obligation not to discriminate against qualified applicants based on their age, ability, gender, race, religion, and military status. Only list requirements that are truly essential to the job role. Mention any certifications or education requirements needed for the job. Always include an Equal Opportunity Employer statement in your job ad.

You can also list the qualities you prefer in a job candidate. Use precise language, so it’s clear these aren’t “required” qualities. Keep in mind this might narrow the field of potential candidates, so only include this if that’s what you want.


5. List the Pay Range

74% of job seekers expect to see salary listed in a job ad. Leaving it out might be enough to keep interested people from clicking on your ad.

Research to find the appropriate compensation in your area for the job role. Include a pay range and make sure it’s competitive. You want to show potential candidates that you understand their value. Listing a pay range gives you some flexibility, allowing you to consider a candidate’s experience and qualifications.

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6. Share Benefits of the Job

If your business offers any benefits, list them here. This includes things like health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, educational benefits, and more. Include anything else that helps your company stand out from your competitors. There’s time later in the recruitment process to go into more detail about what’s offered by your company. You simply want to highlight the best benefits to attract qualified candidates.


7. Include Instructions on How to Apply

If the goal is to get qualified candidates to respond to your inquiry, you need to provide a clear call to action. Yes, this is where you’ll ask for the necessary materials like a cover letter, resume, and references. You also want to clarify what they need to do to apply and the next steps in the hiring process. Create clarity for those interested in the job.

Not everyone who reads your ad is going to be qualified for the specific role. Include a way for them to leave contact information to hear about future opportunities with your company.

Where To Distribute Your Job Ad

After your ad is complete, it's time to cast a wide net to attract potential candidates. Your first stop should be online job sites like ZipRecruiter. There are hundreds of job boards online. Using a site like ZipRecruiter allows you to post the same ad on all of the best job search sites in one click.

Using the internet to post job ads gives you a larger talent pool to pull from. It can also water down the quality of candidates that apply. Don't ignore other avenues like local networking groups, bulletin boards in cafes, and community organizations.

Perhaps the most impactful way to advertise your job opening is through social media. According to Jobvite's Job Seeker Nation Survey, 42% of respondents say they find out about job openings on social media. ZipRecruiter and other job sites let you post your job ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Related: Best Recruiting Platforms

Next Steps

Now that you know how to write a help wanted ad and know where to distribute it, you may want to make sure the rest of your hiring process is ready to go.

To set your business up for success, we recommend implementing software to make your life simpler. Here are some recommendations:

  • HR Software: HR software can help manage employees, onboard new hires, and train staff - all in one place. Many HR software options also handle payroll functions.
  • Applicant Tracking Software: Keep track of all the resumes that come in and everyone that has applied to your job opening - all in one place. Many applicant tracking software also offer filtering options, interview scheduling, the ability to take notes on certain applicants, emailing options to respond to applicants and so much more.
  • Recruitment Software: Make recruiting easier by using recruitment software. Recruiting software allows you to streamline your recruting process and keep everything in one place.
  • Performance Management Software: Performance management helps to guide your workforce to achieve company goals. This type of software allows you to set goals, track progress toward objectives, identify skill gaps, facilitate collaboration and more.
  • CRM Software: CRM software is a central place where businesses can store customer and prospect data, track customer interactions, and more. CRM software allows businesses to manage relationships with customers.
  • Employee Scheduling Software: Employee scheduling software helps businesses create and manage employees' schedules. The goal of these tools is to optimize time scheduling and reduce waste, confusion, and last-minute staffing crunches.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is a help wanted ad?

A help wanted ad is a marketing and recruiting tool to advertise open positions within your company.

Why are want ads used in recruitment?

Companies and recruiters use want ads to attract top-level talent to fill open jobs within their company.

How do I advertise help wanted?

You can advertise your help wanted ad online on hundreds of job boards and job search sites.

How do you write a catchy job ad?

A catch job ad includes all of the essential details about the job role, the company salary range, requirements, and how to apply. It also has compelling, but still honest, reasons for job candidates to consider working for your company.

The Bottom Line

Writing a solid help wanted ad can help your company's culture and bottom line by attracting the right people for open jobs. Help your company find the right talent for available job roles.

ZipRecruiter can help with all of your hiring needs. If you are ready to add to your team, consider listing your job opening on ZipRecruiter!