ComplianceOctober 29, 2020

How do you publicize a job opening?

There are various ways to let the world know that you're hiring, including advertising in newspapers and online, in trade journals and depending on your budget, on the radio or television.

When you're running a business, it's almost inevitable that at some point you will need to hire your first employee or add to your existing workforce. If you've made the decision that you need to hire someone and determined what you need done by the person in that position, it's time to publicize your job opening.

Advertising is one way to let people know about your job opening and the choice for the majority of employers.

Also personal recruiting and using outside services are alternatives that may work for your business. Some situations might favor one method over another.

Advertising medium choices

Advertising is the most popular way to get the word out about your job. There is a variety of print and electronic media where you can advertise your job opening.

Some of the most commonly used methods are:

  • newspapers
  • trade journals
  • television and radio
  • online posting

Choosing a medium is the first step in the process because once you've selected a medium, you can write a job advertisement that works best with the medium you have chosen. Writing the job ad correctly will help increase your chance of getting the right person for the job.

Newspapers. A classified ad taken out in a newspaper is still one of the most common ways to advertise a job opening.

Classifieds have some major advantages:

  • It's the traditional place people looking for work look.
  • I is a relatively low-cost method considering the number of people newspapers reach.

To maintain goodwill for your business, you may wish to answer all replies, even if you just use a simple form letter. Two things can ease this burden:

  • Use well-written ads that discourage clearly unqualified persons from applying.
  • Use "blind ads."

A blind ad does not identify the name of the company seeking employees, but instead lists an anonymous post office box to which job seekers can send their resumes.

Blind ads are popular with employers because:

  • They can save money because they don't have to answer each applicant.
  • They can avoid having to deal with those candidates who are rejected.
  • They can maintain a lower profile if they want to replace an existing employee or when they are not contemplating promoting a current employee into a position.

Blind ads do have drawbacks. Two primary drawbacks of a blind ad are:

  • Job seekers may end up answering ads from their present employer (probably not a problem if your business is very small).
  • Blind ads generate fewer responses because people are suspicious of any employer that won't put its name in print.


Advise current employees ahead of time that the ad is being run. It can prevent the embarrassment of employees answering their own employer's blind ad!

You may decide that rather than run a regular classified ad, you'll buy a larger block of space on the classified pages and run an attractive display ad.

Also, taking into account the audience you're aiming for, consider these other sections of the paper that may target the person that you think might have an interest in your job, and where you may want to place a display ad:

  • business pages
  • general news
  • sports
  • fashion


Because a display ad must compete with other display ads, particularly in the classified section, the ad must be well-designed and distinctive. Attractive and eye-catching ads can be expensive! The bigger the ad is, the more it will cost, and keep in mind that the price goes up if you include some art, such as a logo or a graphic.

Trade journals. Professional and trade journals are good places to advertise when you are looking for a professional or technical employee with special skills or backgrounds.

The cost per reader for advertising in these journals is relatively high but, overall, the total cost of the ad is generally fairly low. You should balance the need to reach a specialized audience with the need to keep advertising costs at a reasonable level.

One problem with advertising in this medium can be the slow feedback time. Because these publications are often published monthly or quarterly, they may not be a good place to advertise for a position that needs to be filled in a hurry. However, more and more journals are online now, lessening this problem in some circumstances.

Television and radio ads. Using television or radio to publicize your job opening can be quite effective to help you stand apart from the crowd. However, like anything else, there are downsides to this type of advertising.

Television is an effective medium for getting a message to a huge number of people, but, as a recruiting tool, network advertising has significant drawbacks:

  • It is expensive (the cost-per-viewer is the lowest of any medium, but the overall cost of production and airtime is high).
  • It is more effective at selling name recognition than specific information (detailed job information is better communicated by print).
  • It cannot easily be targeted to specific audiences, such as people looking for work.

Work smart

Cable TV and some public access channels offer television classifieds. These tend to be far more reasonably priced than a traditional 1 1/2 minute commercial. Some job services, such as temporary agencies and state job services, are also using television as a medium. If you want to stick with a network channel, you could be looking at sky-high costs.

Radio advertising has some advantages over television advertising:

  • It is much cheaper than television.
  • It can be more selective in the audience that your ad will reach.

Like television, radio's usefulness tends to be limited to those times when an employer needs to hire a large number of people in a short span of time. One nice thing about radio advertising is that many people listen in their cars, which makes them, to some degree, a captive audience. However, among tried and true recruiting methods, radio is not a top choice.

Online posting of job openings

Online job posting has become an increasingly popular method for employers to fill their hiring needs. Many employers use online recruiting sites to advertise their jobs on the Internet.

Another method of using online job ads is when businesses with websites use their websites to notify people of any employment opportunities that may be available.

There are numerous advantages to online recruiting including:

  • broader audiences than local newspapers
  • quicker response time (most people will respond electronically unless you specify otherwise)
  • potentially shorter hiring time

Due to the growth of online access, any job posting that you place there will reach more people than possibly any other medium you use.

In addition to the major national recruiting that occurs online, you might also try posting a notice on some local forums where people with skills for your position might be located.

Work smart

Some online job search sites will suggest that you have several ads using different words that people will search on when they use the database. Keep this in mind as you compose your ad. Think like a person searching for the job. If the title of your job doesn't really reflect what the job entails and if the key search terms are not included in the job description, the right people may not find it.

You can also post jobs in places where you know people with the skills you're looking for tend to read. Sometimes people looking for work in a certain industry will look for online areas geared to that specific industry or subject matter. For certain professions, this may be the best way to reach your target audience.

Resume databases. Employers aren't the only ones posting information about jobs online. There are many resume databases for people searching for specific employment. If you have a position that requires specific skills, or if you just want to see more resumes, this is a good place to look.

The databases can contain thousands of resumes and are usually indexed by job categories, industries, and geographical regions. Be aware that there may be a charge to look at these databases.

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