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Job Adverts vs. Job Descriptions

Marketing your Jobs

Job adverts vs job descriptions is just one of many factors to consider when recruiting. In fact, you may find the whole concept of recruitment a bit of a headache. Suddenly, you need to become an expert at marketing job adverts and handing volumes of applications, not to mention increased skills in interviewing and employment law.

In this article we deal with the following questions with answers that explain:

What is the purpose of a job advert? Job adverts are designed to attract candidates to the role
What is the purpose of a job description? Job descriptions provide a detailed description of the daily duties
What is a good job advert? 5 Main reasons why job descriptions do not make good job adverts


One of the biggest mistakes that many hiring managers and HR professionals make is confusing job adverts vs. job descriptions: job adverts are designed to attract candidates to the role, while job descriptions provide a detailed description of the daily duties. Job adverts are the first point of contact with most applicants, whilst the job description can be introduced at a later date.

Here are 5 reasons why the two are significantly different:

1. Job descriptions are formal documents not reflective of the company voice or culture.

They are practical, informative documents detailing a list of duties, and often very formal. On the other hand, a job advert aims to attract applicants, so as well as informing job seekers of their potential duties, it is must also promote your company and role. A stifled, formal document won’t do this. It certainly will not reflect the tone and culture of your company – a huge selling point for applicants!

2. Job descriptions are subject to change.

If you base your job advert wholly on the job description you need to take into account that duties can change. It may not be reflective of the role over the long term.

3. Job descriptions are not keyworded for searches.

Your job adverts are an essential tool to get your position in front of the right people. Job board websites work by ranking job adverts (just like Google). The better the job advert is keyworded, the more chance it will come top of the list. Job descriptions that aren’t optimised for search engines will not be ranked at the top of job board search results.

4. The actual job description may not best describe the person you are looking for.

Your job description may not describe the person you are looking for. A job description might specify the need for X amount of experience and A, B, C qualifications when in reality the hiring manager is looking for Y experience and only A and B qualifications. Companies have a much better chance of attracting top talent when only the essential requirements are stated at the outset. Listing all the “nice to haves” will put off suitable candidates.

5. Job descriptions are lengthy and dull.

This makes them difficult to read and capture candidates’ interest. Adverts should be short (about 500 words), consistent with your company brand and grab your attention. They should clearly outline the Job Title, Location and Salary. You should follow this with an overview of the Requirements and a brief description of the Company. You can provide more detailed information at a later date, such as during an interview.


If you do not differentiate between job adverts and job description, you may find yourself posting a job description to the job boards which is dull, lengthy and unappealing to candidates. As a result, you will miss out on the best candidates. However, if you can draw out the essential criteria from the description and use this in your advert (whilst retaining a sense of your brand and relevant keywords) your advert will be engaging, interesting, and informative. It will also perform well in searches, ensuring you will have a much better success rate.

More questions…
Why aren’t my job adverts pulling in talent? What is the best job title? Why are job titles important for recruitment adverts? How can I improve the candidate experience?

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When you are looking to fill a job vacancy, a well-crafted advert can often mean the difference between an unsuccessful campaign and one that generates a high number of suitable candidates.

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