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Write It Right: Crafting A Great Job Ad

Not too long ago, writing a job ad for an open position was pretty easy—just list a few short, direct sentences stating what you’re looking for, the primary job duties, and a few benefits and you’d be flooded with resumes.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed all that. The new employee shortage means that prospective hires have more options and so they are focused on making the best choice of an employer. Hospitals must try harder and cast as wide a net as possible to get good applicants. That starts with creating the right ad.

Previously, hospitals could afford to be much more focused on what they needed in a prospective employee in terms of experience, skills, and personality. Now that the job market has changed, your ad needs to center on what you can offer to a prospective employee.

For example, a “traditional” job ad might look like this:

Veterinary Technician Wanted

Awesome Animal Hospital is seeking a competent, experienced veterinary technician. You need to have at least four years of veterinary technician experience, the ability to perform dental prophylaxis and assist in surgery. We prefer a certified technician but will consider confident uncertified techs with enough experience. We require excellence from all employees, and can offer you health care, PTO benefits, and uniform allowances. Send your cover letter and resume to [email protected]

This ad would heavily limit the number of candidates that apply for several reasons:

  • The ad is focused on the practice’s needs and not on why someone would choose to work at the hospital.
  • The ad places a minimum expectation of experience, discouraging people with even slightly less experience from applying.
  • The ad does not reflect hospital culture in any way, which is essential to younger workers.
  • The benefits listed are considered very basic by most employees and are not enticing enough to lure applicants.  
  • The language used in the ad is basic and unfriendly. This can discourage women and minority candidates from applying.

To avoid making those mistakes in your next job ad, consider this:

  • A great tagline/title: The choice to click on a job ad is a mix of curiosity and emotion. Pique both with a great title and tagline that still notes the job title. Make your ad stand out! For example: “Veterinary Technician Wanted: Generous Benefits, Great Work/Life Balance, and 300 Days of Sunshine A Year!”
  • Length: Longer ads are no longer frowned upon. Applicants will skip over short ads in favor of ads that explain what they can expect when working at the hospital. That said, you need to make the ad fast and easy to scan, so when possible you should opt for bullet points instead of long paragraphs of text—especially when listing benefits or job requirements.
  • Language: The language used in the ad should reflect your culture. Are you a fun group that works hard? Add some cute puns! Are you a highly service-oriented practice? Discuss why your team has committed to this and why your clients love it.
  • Gender focus: In today’s culture, the words used in an ad must be as gender neutral as possible. If an ad uses more masculine-coded language with words such as “innovative/ driven/ ambitious/ competent/ fearless/ etc., it will discourage women and minorities from applying.
  • Hospital focus: This one is important! In general, candidates know what is required to be a veterinary technician or receptionist. What is more critical is casting as wide a net as possible—which means putting a big spotlight on why your hospital offers a better employment experience than your competition. Some things you can highlight include:  
    • What does your team love about working there?
    • Does your hospital boast any special certifications or accreditations? List them!
    • What fun activities are in the area?
    • What makes your hospital special (Is it a new building? Do you offer a cool specialty? Do you host fun team events?)
    • What makes your clients special? Are they really compliant? Do they bring a variety of issues for the team to see? Will the cases they bring allow your team to build their skills and understanding of medicine?
  • List your benefits: Benefits are a key reason people choose to work for one company over another. Bullet point the benefits you offer and make the list as long as possible.
    • Don’t offer many benefits? Right now is the perfect time to reconsider the benefits and perks you offer!
  • Salary: Yes, this is acceptable these days. If you have a defined range for salary for the position, feel free to list it. One caveat: If you are paying less than your competing businesses, it will not benefit you to list the salary in the job ad before you have a chance to sell the hospital to candidates.
  • Core Values/ Core Behaviors: If you have a great set of core behaviors or values, feel free to list them. This is especially important if you know that other hospitals in the area don’t focus on these, as culture is so important to employees.
  • Invitation to apply: The decision to apply for a job is purely emotional. You want potential candidates to feel good about clicking that “Apply” button. Create a friendly invitation to apply, not just a “email us your resume and cover letter.” It also helps to mention when they can expect an acknowledgement or reply to their application.
  • Equal Opportunity Statement (EEO): A well-worded EEO statement can help encourage people from all backgrounds, races and socioeconomic circumstances to apply for the position. Ensure your EEO statement doesn’t just say, “We are EEO compliant,” but rather WHY you want a wide variety of candidates and employees. Something similar to this at a minimum: “Awesome Vet is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We’re committed to diversity as well as creating an inclusive environment for all employees. If you need reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know.”

Remember, a job ad is not just an advertisement to get job applications—it’s also a way to solidify your practice brand and reputation as an employer in your community. Putting in time and energy to create an inviting ad that reflects your culture will help increase the candidates for each position you post.