Confused Woman

“Why isn’t anyone applying for my job?” 

If you’ve ever posed this question, your shortage of applicants could have nothing to do with the tight labor market, your recruiting resources, or even the job itself.  Rather, your job ad could be to blame.

Your online job ad – as insignificant as it may seem in the grand scheme of recruiting – can make or break your ability to attract qualified talent. 

I’m sure you already understand the importance of including keywords, a clear call to action, and short, straightforward titles in driving applies. However, there’s more to crafting an effective job ad than filling it with the right phrases (and posting it in the right places). 

If the volume of job postings (32.2 million) promoted across iHire’s platform last year is any indication, recruiting and hiring professionals are busy, to say the least. But that doesn’t give you a free pass to overlook the details when developing your job ad.

Here are three reasons your job ad might be deterring high-quality applicants – and what you can do about it.


You’re not specific where it counts.

Let’s say you’re advertising for an accountant. Everyone knows what an accountant does, so your job ad shouldn’t need to delve into details, right?

Not quite.

Job seekers want to know what their potential new gig will entail.  They want to be able to imagine themselves working for your company.

You could pack in all the relevant keywords you can, but if you don’t specify what day-to-day work will be like or describe your company culture, you’ll lose out on great hires – especially passive job seekers who need a little more of a nudge to apply. 

Question Mark

Instead of crafting your job ad with long lists of requirements and “must-have” qualifications, focus instead on detailing the nature of the position and your company. How will the candidate be able to contribute? What growth opportunities exist? Have you shared your company’s mission and core values? What types of unique employee perks do you offer?

These are the pieces of information that will really resonate with potential applicants. 


You don’t offer a competitive salary.

A few months ago, I spoke with an employer trying to hire a construction site supervisor. They were getting applies, but as soon as the hiring team mentioned the salary, candidates were no longer interested in the position. It turned out that this company was offering a lower pay range than their industry peers hiring for the same type of position.

Listing a specific salary or at least a salary range can incentivize applicants. But if that salary is not up to par with the rest of your industry, you’re going to derail your hiring efforts.

In fact, job seekers deem salary range the most valuable element of a job ad. 

If you choose to include salary information in your ad, do your research first.  What are your competitors offering? If you find that you cannot offer a competitive salary, it’s even more important to include details about your company’s benefits and perks. You may find that a candidate will accept lower pay for a better work/life balance or a rewarding benefits package. 


You don’t put yourself in the candidate’s shoes.

Recently, a client expressed concern about a low response rate for their job ad. It was receiving candidate views on our platform, but once job seekers clicked through to apply via the employer’s website, interest dropped. Our team discovered that the client’s website had a major software defect for mobile traffic. This accounted for 70% of the ad’s traffic. The “apply” button didn’t work, so every candidate received an error message and abandoned the entire process. 

Tap Shoes

The moral of this story is to quality check your application flow.

When you post a job online, walk through the process from a candidate’s point of view. Consider where the applicant might encounter friction. Maybe your ad isn’t mobile-friendly.  Perhaps you have a confusing call to action.

You may also find that your online application process is just too long.  Research shows that employers experience a 50% to 75% drop-off rate when an application takes longer than five minutes to complete.


Final Advice

If you find that your job ads still need a little help, tap your company’s marketing team.

Like any other type of advertisement, your job ad should accurately reflect your company’s mission and workplace culture, and speak to your candidates in your brand voice. Your resident marketing expert(s) can help you capture the right details to win over top talent. This will not only improve the efficacy of your ads, but it’ll strengthen your employer brand to attract qualified candidates. 

Lastly, don’t overthink it. There is no need to fall into paralysis by over-analyzing your posting. Don’t agonize over what information will attract your ideal candidate.

Make a change, measure its impact, and iterate on it until you find a winning formula that draws in top talent every time you hire.  



Jason Hayes is VP of Employer Sales and Customer Success at iHire, a career-oriented platform that connects candidates and employers across 56 industry-focused communities. Since 2006, he has progressed through numerous positions at iHire and kept his finger on the pulse of market changes and trends affecting job seekers as well as hiring professionals. Hayes is instrumental in building and sustaining iHire’s own workplace culture of excellence, innovation, and growth, and serves as a trusted resource for his team as well as iHire’s clients for finding the right talent in this competitive market.