Fast Track Recruitment

“How do I get someone to read my job ads?”

Posted by Mitch on 27th January 2017

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I sometimes see job ads where the recruiter is at least trying to sell the job. But sometimes it just looks plain ugly. More on this at the end.

One of the many ways of getting your ad noticed and then read, is to ask the reader a question.

Typically these would be questions that relate to the needs or issues of interest or concern to the target audience. Off the top of my head, something like:

“Hit every target and still haven’t been promoted?”

It feeds into many people’s need to be challenged and to do more. Or it might simply feed into a readers need for status. I don’t know, because I made that line up without having an actual job brief.

It’s the first step in the copywriting sales process; getting noticed.

If people don’t notice the ad (because it reads like all the others) then everything else is academic.

I recently had a conversation with a recruiter friend.

The kind of friend that would never come on one of your training courses because they expect to learn everything for free, on account of the fact you’ve gotten pissed together once or twice.

He sent me a couple of his job ads, which he was proud of, and to be fair, they were quite well written. He’d even dropped in a few big words to pander to what was an intelligent target audience.

He was shocked when I told him his ads were average. But not as shocked when I told him why his ads were average.

Here’s a brief summary of that conversation:

Him: “So why are they only average?”

Me: “Because almost the entire advert is only talking about the hiring company and what they’re expecting ‘the successful candidate’ to bring.”

Him: “And?”

Me: “And the only people who might apply are people who are currently unemployed. In other words, desperate. How many unemployed desperate candidates are there in your sector right now?”

Him: “Err….”

Me: “Exactly. None. What your job ads need to do is to tell people why their lives might be improved by working for that company.”

Him (excitedly): “They do! Look at the last paragraph.”

And there, right at the end was a short paragraph with the heading ‘What We Offer’ and which had enough potential to turn his average job ad in to a great job ad.

Me: “But if you’re not connecting to the needs/wants of the candidate right from the start, how many are going to read down to the last of 7 paragraphs?”

Him: * silence *

Me: “You see what I mean now?”

Him: “It’s always the simplest and most obvious things that blow your mind! Thanks Mitch.”

Me: “There are plenty of other things you need to do to improve your ads by the way…”

But it was too late. He had a new toy to play with and no amount of brow-beating or guilt trips was going to get him into one of my copywriting courses.

Questioning is one of the most common and easiest tactics to encourage more people to explore your job ad.

Unless that is, you’re the kind of recruiter who is stupid enough to only really care about what they want, but devious enough to want to try to pretend they care about what the candidates want.

Here’s an example of the opening five lines of a job advert from an internal recruiter working for a recruitment agency, which by the way, is quite possibly the worst job in recruitment.

What he’s trying to do is sell the job by trying to present what he wants, using the questioning technique:

“Are you sick and tired of being micro managed at work?”

“Tired of having pointless meetings about meetings?”

“Want to get on and sell, sell, sell?”

“Want to run your desk as you see fit?”

“Want to earn unrivalled commission?”

This is a turd being repackaged as Nutella.

Here’s the same 5 sentences rewritten slightly to reveal what he’s really saying:

1. Want a job that has no manager?

2. Want to never have a meeting about a meeting? Of course, nobody does that shit, especially recruiters.

3. Want to be on the phone all day?

4. Want a job that has no manager? What, I already said that? Sorry.

5. Want to earn more money than you’ve ever earned before because you’ll be on the phone, working alone, all day every day?

His ad only got viewed 7 times, which in the big scheme of things is a positive result.

Comments

By Mark Stephens on Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Good article Mitch. I wrote on exactly this topic last year, explaining some of the psychology behind why asking a question has the potential to generate more engagement and interest.

I am informed that it’s all about moving the reader from a passive state of mind.

Most candidates apparently look at job ads using the right-hand side of the brain (this is the creative side of the brain and is the default setting for us most of the time) and a question that engages them can switch them over to the left-hand side of the brain (answering a questions requires us to tap into memory), which subsequently engages them more in what you are saying.

Your story nicely highlights how many advertisers are blissfully unaware of the mistakes being made.


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