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DIY Recruitment – Writing a Job Ad to Get the Talent You Want

The measure of a great job ad isn’t in the number of applications that swamp your Inbox – it’s the quality of the applications you receive that matters. You don’t want to waste precious time and energy wading through unsuitable applicants.

Bernadette Eichner
Bernadette Eichner
Attracting talent

Managing your own recruitment may be a preferred option for your business as you recover from the year that was 2020. The perception is that it saves time and money and allows you total control over the process. But we know that getting your recruitment right isn’t as easy as it sounds.

So we thought we’d help.

Welcome to our DIY Recruitment series, where we as professional recruiters will share what we know to make your life easier.

In past blogs, we’ve already talked about the steps to a successful recruitment outcome, how to effectively shortlist candidates and best practice interviewing but all this has to start with a solid candidate sourcing campaign. For most of you that will be advertising on job boards.

Writing a successful job ad is an art. It’s not as easy as just throwing something up and hoping it will attract people.

Rule number one of any marketing campaign (and that’s what job ads are) is for the reader to be able to answer one question – What’s in it for me? Commonly known as WIFM.

Here’s our tips on how to get the best result from your campaign.

Before you start writing ad copy, you need to answer some questions of your own

Candidates browse job boards. It’s not like the old days where they have a strategic approach to job hunting and sit with a notepad and pen at the ready. It’s scrolling behaviour. That means your ad has to ‘pop’ if you want them to stop and read further.

Before you write anything, make sure you can confidently answer the following questions:

  • What do we do?
  • Why would someone want to work for us?
  • What do we offer that is unique?
  • What skills and experience are we looking for?
  • Why do we need that skill set and experience?
  • What type of personality works best in our business?

Knowing what you are selling and why is the first step to writing great ad copy!

Remember you are writing for the reader – it’s all about WIFM (What’s in it for me)

Too often we see ad copy that is just plain boring because people spend too much time writing about stuff that doesn’t matter! Remember, you are writing for the reader, not yourself! Rule number one of any marketing Your ad copy needs to give people an impression of how exciting and interesting it would be to work there.

Writing about the history of the company, having a long list of minor responsibilities and asking for things like “good attention to detail” are just wasting precious space.

Boring ad copy will attract boring candidates. Simple as that! Write to appeal to the type of candidate you want to attract.

Break your ad copy into easily digestible sections

You want people to be able to make a quick decision about whether they are interested in the job or not.

Essentially, the WIFM information they want is:

  • What does the company do and what is special about it?
  • What would they be doing in the job?
  • What skills and experience do they have that would match what you are wanting?
  • What are the benefits – career progression, money, perks?

Use proven marketing psychology to craft your ad

Marketing psychology gives us the best framework for ad writing. Known as AIDA, it goes like this:

Attention – you have less than 5 seconds to get someone’s attention. Make it count!

Interest – then build their interest in what you’re offering – why would they want to work for you?

Desire – that interest must then translate into a desire to act – i.e. apply for the job!

Action – Applying for the job comes from the person loving the sound of it.

1. Attention

This is all about making someone stop scrolling and read further.

  • Have a Job Title that pops and clearly says what you are looking for – e.g. Digital Marketing Guru needed rather than Marketing Officer or Marketing Executive (boring!)
  • Make sure your three selling points and short description are answering the WIFM questions for candidates. Things like free parking, fast-growing company, blue-chip firm, Australia’s leading provider of [whatever you’re selling], partnership potential, uncapped commission, company car etc. are all incentives for someone to click through to your ad.
  • Make your ad visually appealing – a great cover image and logo is a good starting point – people will engage immediately with something that looks interesting or fun.

2. Interest

This is the bit where you want to keep the reader engaged – answer the who you are and what is the job questions.

Who are you and why would someone want to work there?

This starts with your first paragraph, usually titled About Us, About the Company, About your New Employer or something similar. But be bold and try other titles like:

  • Our fast growing company needs you!
  • Be part of the next big thing in [whatever your industry is]

This is where you describe your business in a way that will appeal to a job seeker. Your ‘elevator pitch’, if you like. Keep it to two short-ish paragraphs and write as if you are speaking.

For example, if we were looking to recruit a new Consultant, our pitch would be along the lines of…

“We’re a boutique recruitment firm with a difference. Backed by 30 years’ industry experience and offering the market a unique recruitment methodology and client experience not seen anywhere else, our Consultants can’t imagine working anywhere else. For a start, we don’t have a high street office that you have to suit up for every day. Our technology enables you to work from anywhere, while enhancing the client and candidate experience! Our clients range from start-ups to blue chip companies and most of our business comes from referrals, so no cold calling!”

What we’ve done here in a single paragraph is appeal to the things that we know recruiters would find interesting and enjoyable – not having to traipse into an office every day, not having to cold call, suggesting we do things differently, having great technology to improve their client experiences, having a great learning and mentoring environment with an experienced team.

What’s the job?

This is where you briefly describe the role and the key areas of responsibility. Make it short, snappy, interesting and tinged with some excitement to peak the reader’s interest.

And stay away from a long list of boring responsibilities like “assist others when required”! Keep your dot points to around 5 and focus on the main parts of the role.

Let’s use our Digital Marketing Guru job as an example. You want to make the job sound varied, exciting and an important part of a team. You might list things like:

  • Contribute to the development of our digital marketing strategy
  • Manage the social media content
  • Partner with the wider marketing team to ensure alignment of the marketing plan
  • Collaborate with our brand consultant to ensure continuity of brand across all digital media platforms
  • Work closely with the website designer to effectively integrate digital platforms with the company website activity

3. Desire

So, now you’ve piqued their interest in your business and the opportunity on offer, it’s time to ramp up the emotion and really get your desired candidate fired up to throw their hat in the ring.

This is where you let them know what you’re looking for – you want them if they tick just a few of the boxes, they’ll apply!

Again, keep your list short and focus just on the essential things you need like skills and experience. And be realistic and keep your options open – don’t ask for 10 years experience if someone with 5 years experience is all you need.

A good telephone screen will give you the chance to explore the other things the candidate offers.

4. Action

You’re at the pointy end of the business now. Time to ‘close the sale’ and let them know what you’re offering.

A few dot points about salary, employee benefits and career opportunities will do it. And then close it all off with something like “Opportunities like this don’t come along every day, so apply now!”

A great ad won’t get you hundreds of candidates, just the few you want!

The measure of a great job ad isn’t in the number of applications that swamp your Inbox – it’s the quality of the applications you receive that matters. You don’t want to waste precious time and energy wading through unsuitable applicants. You want to get straight to the ones that matter.

If you’re clear about what you are looking for and why, then seek to understand the type of candidate you want, you can then craft the ad that will attract that person.

Professional recruitment and fair pricing? Yes, it‘s possible!

At Just Right People Recruitment we‘ll give you the flexibility to choose between three different pricing models. And we guarantee each one will deliver a high-quality recruitment outcome tailored to your job, your budget and your specific needs. Now, that’s fair!

Learn more…

Bernadette Eichner
Bernadette Eichner

Bernadette Eichner, Cofounder and CEO of Just Right People, is a recruitment industry entrepreneur and thought leader in Australia, totally committed to improving the recruiter experience for clients and candidates alike. Her secret to life is to “just do the next thing that needs to be done”.

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