Writing an Effective Job Ad

Feb. 1, 2014
How to write a job advertisement that attracts top talent

It’s no secret that young, talented students graduating from technical school collision programs are in high demand, says Sharon McCrary, collision graduate employment advisor at the Universal Technical Institute’s (UTI) Houston campus. Those students have a plethora of available jobs they can choose to apply for, and of course, want to position themselves with companies that can offer fruitful careers. 

But shops don’t always do a great job of selling themselves in job advertisements, says McCrary, who looks at shop job advertisements every day to help entry-level UTI collision graduates find employment. Shop owners tend to do a good job of including the basic general requirements of the job, but overlook addressing the various factors that make their business attractive to work for.

“We have career fairs, and shop employers always come to me asking how they can attract good help,” she says. In many situations, shops already offer several things that can attract great employees, they just don’t always effectively communicate those items to job seekers to entice them to apply.

That’s why shop owners need to think about the quality of their job advertisements, says Jeff Herman, CEO of TopTech Finder. Quality job advertisements should sell candidates on your organization and open position in a way that encourages them to apply.

“The more effort you put into writing an interesting, descriptive and colorful job posting, the better chance you’ll have to find the technician you’re looking for. It puts you in a much more competitive situation to generate several quality candidates,” he says. “It shows you care about the hire, you’re a good businessperson, and you’re running a successful operation.”

Writing a great job advertisement requires four general components—the basics of the job, an illustration of your culture, description of business differentiators, and a sales pitch on why your shop is the best place to work. Here are several tips to help you write job advertisements that are sure to be appealing and attractive to industry job seekers.

Tip #1: Include the standard nuts and bolts.

There is a basic set of information that every job advertisement should include. People searching for jobs typically look for certain general information to verify whether it fits their personal needs and abilities. Job advertisements that lack the following details tend to get skipped over:

Job Title: The job title is the first thing that people typically look at, Herman says. And the title of certain positions can make a difference on the appeal of the job. The collision industry tends to have fairly standard titles for shop positions, so owners should get more creative with job titles to catch attention.

For example, instead of simply calling a position “Technician,” you might consider calling it “Collision Specialist” or “Body Repair Expert.” Just don’t be misleading by making the position sound like something it’s not.

Skills: Specify the exact type of technician you need, whether that’s body, diagnostic, paint or detail. Herman advises to list the primary skillset needed for the position, and mention the types of tools and equipment candidates will be required to operate.

Experience/Qualifications: List any requirements you have in place for minimum levels of education, training, certification, or professional years of experience, McCrary says.

“Shop owners should have some flexibility with those requirements,” Herman says. “Think hard about the experience you need in your shop because you could be passing up on some quality candidates by setting the bar too high.”

Pay: Explain exactly how employees are paid—whether you use a commision, flat-rate, hourly, salary or team-pay plan. Herman also recommends mentioning how your overall compensation package compares to what other shops offer in the market. Let people know if your compensation is higher than the market average to add context to the value of your pay scale.

Work Hours: Highlight whether the position is full time, part time, permanent, seasonal, or temporary to prevent confusion. Explain the typical hours and days of the week that will be required. Herman suggests mentioning whether you offer any flexible hours or workdays to add appeal.

Background Check: Briefly mention any drug testing or background checks you require. Many people automatically exclude themselves from consideration when they know you perform certain assessments, which saves time and money in the hiring process.

Tip #2: Illustrate your culture

New hires can have tremendous impact on the culture of your business, either negative or positive. So make sure to include specific personality characteristics you’re looking for in applicants, and explain your core business philosophies. Listing those traits helps find candidates who will perpetuate your ideal culture, and automatically weed out those who will not.

“It’s attractive for candidates to work for business owners who know what they stand for,” Herman says. “That’s helpful to show who you are as a business. It allows technicians to decide for themselves whether their personality could mesh with your culture.”

Tip #3: Highlight your differentiators

This is where the sales process begins to entice candidates to learn more about you. Make a list of all the things associated with the specific job that make the position interesting and appealing compared to others. A few tips:

Benefits: Not every shop offers a benefits package, which McCrary says can be an enormous differentiator between your job posting and others. Detail all of the benefits the employee will qualify for, including medical, dental, vision, disability and retirement.

Days Off: Most job candidates also want to have a clear understanding upfront regarding work expectations and their ability to maintain balance between work and life, she adds. Outline what you offer in terms of days off work—holidays, vacation days, sick days, and number of paid-time-off (PTO) days.

Training: Explain whether you provide financial assistance or tuition reimbursement for employees to continue their education through additional training or certification programs. McCrary says that’s especially important if you’re looking for younger, entry-level technicians.

Tool Allowance: Entry-level technicians have expensive tools to purchase to get started, and collision school graduates aren’t always able to afford everything they need right off the bat, McCrary says. Detail any tool incentive programs you offer to help make those purchases or offset the cost of the investment.

Ownership Structure: Explain whether you’re a family-owned or corporate-owned shop. There are positive benefits to each business structure, so mention the value that your type of business offers, Herman suggests. For example, family-owned shops might focus messages on their personal, close-knit feel. Meanwhile, corporate-owned shops might focus on how they can offer stronger benefits packages or career opportunities due to the size of the business.

Tip #4: Make It Appealing

“Everybody wants to work at a place they think is interesting and fun,” Herman says. “So you need to include a narrative that convinces candidates about your ability to provide that.”

This is the most important component of the job advertisement. This is where shop owners have the ability to create a strong sales pitch as to why their shop will offer better job satisfaction compared to other locations. Here are a few concepts to touch on:

Work Mix: Many technicians are “car guys,” Herman says. They like working on cool vehicle designs and get excited about certain types of cars, which can be a strong selling point.

So explain what type of business you run, and what kinds of cars technicians will have opportunities to repair. For example, say you specialize in European cars, high-end luxury models, or hybrid vehicles. List all of the exotic cars you’ve repaired in your shop to generate excitement.

Financial Strength: Everybody wants to have job security. They want to know they’re working at a business that will be around for the long haul, and that also offers opportunities for career advancement. Let job candidates know how long you’ve been in operation, the average monthly car count, and any growth you’ve achieved in recent history.

Employee Recognition: Job candidates want to feel like they will be needed and wanted once they start the position, and that the employer will recognize their efforts, McCrary says. Briefly explain whether you do anything out of the ordinary to take care of your employees, and highlight any special events such as employee appreciation days.

Tool Investments: Herman says technicians are drawn to facilities that have the latest and greatest tools and equipment. Highlight all of the various types of equipment that your facility is outfitted with, including diagnostic tools, frame equipment, lifts, paint technology, paint lines, and eco-friendly equipment.

“Technicians like working with neat tools,” he says. “If you’ve invested in new technologies, you have an advantage over other shops with outdated facilities.”