Are job-seekers hitting snooze on your boring job ads?
Most hiring managers don’t give two hoots about job advertisements when recruiting. Most don’t think to use the humble job ad as a screening tool. Most don’t think about their value and role in reducing high recruitment costs and time-to-fill, or their ability to increase the quality of applicants to a striking employer brand.
Most don’t bother trying to improve an out-dated system, instead sticking to a tried and safe method of copy and paste from stodgy ol’ corporate job descriptions.
But these boring job ads are turning away talent.
Boring job ads fail to connect, and enchant, and entice the right people to apply. Because no one can be bothered reading it properly. No one can be bothered digging through the jargon to find out what kind of employer, workplace, and opportunity this is.
Most people will apply for a role, not because of compelling ad copy that sells your opportunity, but because of familiarity with the role title.
Marketing manager. Admin assistant. Team leader.
So what results?
A mass of ill-suited applications. Time wasted. Opportunities lost.
Some recruitment stats
Glassdoor for Employers compiled a list of compelling HR and recruitment statistics to help change the way we recruit.
On average, each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes. Of these candidates, four to six will be called for an interview and only one will be offered the job. And I imagine most employers don’t leverage strong candidate interest here to nurture a talent pool that aids future recruitment efforts.
More than two-thirds (67%) of employers believe retention rates would be higher if candidates had a clearer picture of what to expect about working at the company before taking the job (AKA realistic job previews).
The average cost to fill position is $4000 (plus onboarding and training and lost productivity from poor hires!).
Your job ads can be used as an applicant screening tool and an effective brand marketing strategy. So, why aren't more employers using ads to their advantage?
The Purpose of Job Ads
Job ads are your greatest opportunity to impress and attract talented job seekers in a competitive hiring market.
Not sure about you – but whenever I’ve searched for opportunities, when faced with a vast ocean of meaningless nonsense, I screen an ad with an intention of ruling it out.
I don’t look at each ad with bright eyes and anticipation of greatness! I’m bored, overwhelmed, and time poor. You get three seconds to impress me, to deem yourself worthy before I flick to the next one.
I’m not unique.
The purpose of your job ad is to be an a-d-v-e-r-t-i-s-e-m-e-n-t for your organisation, for your role, and for your workplace. It is an ad. Ads sell. Job descriptions don’t.
Job descriptions inform, in great and unnecessary detail, the requirements and obligations for a role that in two years’ time will be redundant – such is the pace of technological change.
I’ll bet my second unborn fur-child your go-to job ad ‘strategy’ is to cut and paste a whole heap of verbose, out-of-date bullet points from your internal-facing-PD-that-hasn’t-changed-since-your-organisation-began-twenty-years-ago.
You know, before the Interwebs, Google, and the iPhone changed everything.
What Happens When Your Job Ad Fails
Generally, a poorly crafted job ad attracts either a handful or a road-train full of average candidates with each vacancy. You might be lucky to get a diamond or two if you have brand recognition.
Applicants likely applied because they’re familiar with your consumer brand, or they’re so desperate for any-job-that-isn’t-their-current-job they’re haphazardly applying for any role that’s title is a keyword match for their career.
Not to burst your bubble, but this ‘I’ll take anything I can get’ attitude is not an accurate indicator of values fit or performance.
So your job ad is a powerful weapon in your recruitment marketing arsenal to help you stand out so you can attract and hire the right people the first time.
A few ways you can sex up your job ad copy and sell your employer brand...
Make it a conversation
Humanise your language and move away from corp-speak. Write in the second-person narrative. Ditch the eye-ball-gauging third-person ‘Corporation X is seeking…’ and write to the person instead, ‘We’re after a…’. We. Our. You.
Write with a distinct employer brand voice
Before you start any sort of recruitment campaign, do the hard work early on and identify your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). What it is you promise employees and what they can expect as part of your brand experience.
It will also encourage you to think about your ideal employee – what sort of personality traits, knowledge, and values should they possess to thrive in your company?
Once you know who you’re trying to attract, you can refine your brand voice and write in a way that communicates your workplace culture and personality in your audience's language. For example;
Are you fun, lively, and inspirational?
Are you all nerdy about numbers?
Are you epic storytellers with a hunger for connection with history?
Lead with your WHY
The rules of employee engagement encourage you to connect each employee with their purpose and personal contribution to the role, the organisation, and community. When people can connect with their role and understand the impact they’re having day-to-day, they become emotionally invested in doing a bang-up job.
Engage employees from the start by highlighting these intrinsic rewards.
Your organisation Why should be the opening statement in your job ad copy.
Your Why becomes their Why.
Emphasise the emotional benefits (What’s in it for me?)
Another benefit to knowing your ideal employee is you know what drives them. When you understand someone’s motivators, you’re better able to sell them emotional benefits in a language that resonates with them.
A younger candidate is presumably driven by developmental opportunities, cultural diversity, work-from-home/ flex, and empowerment to be their best and happiest selves.
For the Gen X, it might be about autonomy and progression opportunities so they can lead confidently.
For a return to work mum, it might be flexibility, trust, personal development, and parental leave benefits so they can negotiate family-friendly office hours and spend more valued time with their new family without sacrificing their career.
Tap into these emotional drivers.
Demonstrate your workplace culture and driving brand values
Who are you, really, who are your people, and how do you help them thrive?
Hint: It’s not about free fruit baskets and ping pong tables.
Your EVP should state your values; it’s up to you to communicate them in your marketing. Focus on the personal attributes and values that align with organisation values instead of a long list of skills and technical proficiencies that can be taught (and learned) within two weeks on-the-job.
For example, a Team Leader / Manager role needs someone with awesome people skills, emotional intelligence, and strong leadership. Is the 15+ years of industry knowledge relevant or unrealistic? And are you sacrificing quality leadership (and potentially future employee engagement) for the sake of acquirable knowledge?
Be straight up
Humans don’t like working hard to find relevant information. Use helpful headings, bullets, and white space to clearly communicate the requirements and expectations.
Include the stuff that matters to your ideal candidate and ditch the stuff that doesn’t add value. You can get to that later.
Break up large chunks of text and aim for 1-3 sentence paragraphs. This is Writing for Web 101. Keep it short. Keep it clear. Keep it simple.
And, PLEASE ditch the meaningless corporate jargon. Get to the point without the pomp.
Over to you!
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when crafting your job ads – you can stick with the similar ad template – Why Us, Why You, Why the Role, Our Brand Promise – Join our crew.
Just sex up the language and rewrite the boring script. Incorporate video. Encourage social connection. Tell a damn good story.
When everybody looks the same, we get tired of looking at each other.
So, cut through the job jargon and start connecting with the right people so you can hire quality talent (and retain them!).
If your job ads have been dealing you up duds and you need help crafting compelling job ad copy that captivates your top talent – get in touch!