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How to Get the Best Results from Your Recruitment Advertising

If you want to get the best out of your recruitment advertising you need to look at the way your ads are crafted. It’s not the Job Boards such as Seek and Indeed that are the problem. It’s the content they are working with. So, how do you craft great ads that result in a great hire?

Bernadette Eichner
Bernadette Eichner
Young woman shouts thgrough megaphone

Job advertising and promotion is an essential part of recruiting the best person for your team and the number of jobs on Seek right now across Australia are testament to the fact that a lot of companies are using advertising as a way of attracting new employees. At the time of writing 257,704 jobs are being advertised across Australia on alone.

That’s a lot of hiring managers and recruiters who think it’s an appropriate source of candidates.

Yet too often we hear “Seek is useless” or “the job boards are useless” when employers are trying to understand why they’ve had a poor response to their job advertising. Or when they’ve made a bad hire. But are the job boards really to blame?

It’s not the job boards that are the problem. It’s your ad writing.

So many job ads we see are, quite frankly, as boring as a brick wall!

Most of them go on ad nauseum about the history of the company, or have a long list of banal responsibilities, or write in such a bland way that potential applicants disengage within seconds. Very few carry logos or images of any kind. And let’s not even talk about the ones that just copy and paste the job description!

When you combine poor writing skills with buying the cheapest ad possible, you are pretty much guaranteed of a poor response – in any market, let alone the tight one we’re in now.

We’ve had consistent success with our ad response, attracting great candidates for our clients and making placements with applicants sourced from our advertising campaigns. All this means a quicker hiring time for our clients and a hire that stays and does well. (One of the huge advantages of using a professional recruiter of course!)

In our recent blog about the candidate market in Australia in 2022 we shared what candidates are looking for in their next role and the importance of the Employer Value Proposition (EVP). How you present your brand in your recruitment process and how you attract the type of people you want in your advertising campaigns is essential if you want to hire well, and quickly.

So, we thought we’d share some of the secrets with you!

Quality Job Advertising is an investment in your brand

Most companies don’t think twice about spending time or money on effective marketing strategies to sell their products. Many outsource this important function to external experts. It shouldn’t be any different for recruitment. The purpose of job advertising is to attract the right people to your company. And isn’t that the most important investment of all?

If you don’t want to outsource the task to a professional recruiter, here’s what you should keep in mind before you even start writing:

  • How does your brand appear on the job boards? Professional? Successful?
  • Be clear about exactly what you are recruiting for and keep the list of responsibilities to a maximum of 7 key ones – forget about honest, well organised and anything else you can’t deeuce from a paper application
  • Don’t use boring job titles
  • If it’s not a Manager role, don’t use the word!
  • Think about why anyone would want to work for you?
  • What can you offer that is appealing?
  • What can you offer that’s different?

Look to marketing psychology principles

If you want to craft great recruitment ads, turn to marketing psychology and understand how the psychological sequence a purchaser goes through to buy something is no different to what an applicant goes through when considering whether to apply for a job or not.

The AIDA model is just one of a number of hierarchy of effects models, which imply that consumers move through a series of steps or stages when they make purchase decisions. These models are linear, sequential models built on an assumption that consumers move through a series of cognitive (thinking) and affective (feeling) stages culminating in a behavioural (doing e.g. purchase or trial) stage.

Hierarchical models have dominated advertising theory for over 100 years and the AIDA model is one of the most widely applied.

What is AIDA and how do you apply it?

The AIDA model is an applied stimulus-response model – that is, advertising operates as a stimulus and the purchase decision is a response. So, in recruitment advertising, your ad is the stimulus and an application is the response. But how does it work? As consumers (or job applicants) move through the hierarchy of effects they pass through both a cognitive (or thinking) processing stage and an affective (or feeling) processing stage before any action (behaviour) occurs.

Chart of generalised hierarchy of effects sequence, as used in advertising and promotion.
By BronHiggs – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

AIDA takes your customer/job applicant on that journey in 4 stages – Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action (AIDA).

During these four stages, your ad copy will ideally attract attention to your brand, generate interest in the job, stimulate a desire to be in the job, and spur action to apply for it.

How can you use the AIDA model for ad copy?

Remember, with all advertising you are writing for the reader, not yourself. Recruitment advertising is no different.

A – Attention

The first thing a potential applicant sees needs to grab their attention to prompt them to open your ad and read more.

The Job Title is critical here. While being descriptive of the role, a job title that is too generic will result in a bunch of unsuitable applications. If it’s too boring, it won’t attract the self-motivated, energetic type of person you are looking for. And if it is an outdated job title, people will perceive a boring, conservative employer who isn’t ‘on trend’. Our biggest tip – if the role is not a management role (in that people report to it), then try to stay away from using the word ‘Manager’ in the job title. You substantially increase the risk of over-qualified people applying and deterring those with enough skills and experience to be successful.

A great logo and/or image is the next consideration. Imagery captures people’s attention much more quickly than text.

Then choose a standout ad rather than a cheaper ‘classic’ ad that doesn’t give you the opportunity to use images.

If you are using a job board that enables you to identify three key selling points and write a short description as a teaser to the more detailed ad, then don’t waste the opportunity!

Forget about your company’s history and profile and the skills and experience you need for a moment, and think about what would be attractive to the type of person you’re wanting to target? (Our recent blog about the candidate market in Australia in 2022 gives you some tips about what is floating candidate boats right now).

Anything that appeals to a potential applicant is what you need to stay focussed on in this first stage.

I – Interest

You’ve got their attention and they’ve clicked on your ad to read more. Now you need to get and keep their interest.

Explain your company in a succinct and dynamic way – one paragraph is best, and stay away from jargon or long academic-style sentences.

For example:

We are a market leader in the telecommunications industry, providing a range of cutting-edge technology solutions to a variety of businesses across Australia. We are fortunate enough to call many of the country’s Tier 1, blue-chip firms as clients.

Is more active and enticing than:

We were established in 1992 providing telephone systems to medium sized businesses in New South Wales. Our founder was a highly respected member of the industry who thought companies deserved better than they were getting from the major providers. We started with a small team and are proud of what we have achieved from such humble beginnings. Since then we have expanded to include a range of technology solutions. With over 25 years of experience in providing professional services that increase productivity, competitiveness and cost savings, we are uniquely positioned to help businesses realise these benefits. Our success is founded on professionalism, integrity and exceptional client service, and we pride ourselves on delivering solutions of the highest standard tailored to your technology needs. Regardless of the industry your business operates in, we guarantee technology solutions tailored to suit your specific requirements.

Then you may wish to share why the job is available.

For example:

Due to the increased reliance on superior technology solutions around the globe our client base has grown and we need to increase our team to maintain the quality of service we are recognised for.

By this stage, you have hopefully got the interest of the type of person you are looking for – someone who probably has some industry experience and is looking to join a successful, growing firm with an envied client base.

Now it’s time to give some information about the job. Resist the urge to just cut and paste the job description! Ideally, you don’t want any more than 7 dot points, so decide what the most important ones are. Things like ‘assist others as required’ or ‘maintain a neat working environment’ are not job responsibilities – they are behavioural KPIs.

Next, you need to say what you are looking for in the ideal candidate. Remember, this is your opportunity to ask for the specific skills and experience you need. Again, keep the list as short as you can.

Stay away from things like honest and trustworthy, well organised, good attention to detail, etc. – these are qualities that everyone thinks they have (even when they haven’t) and you can’t assess them from a written application. You can ‘test’ for these things in a well structured behavioural interview if the person ticks all the skills and experience boxes.

D – Desire

So now we have grabbed someone’s attention and we have hopefully kept their interest. By now, they should be saying to themselves “I could do this job and it sounds great”.

We have started to inject a feeling of desire into our reader. Now it’s time to close the deal to get them to take the final step of applying.

The most important question people are subconsciously asking themselves through this process is “what’s in it for me”?

Here’s your chance to ramp up their desire with a heading like ‘What’s in it for you’ and list the benefits of working for you, remembering what we know about the market. Things like:

  • Salary – preferably what the salary range actually is – we know applicants respond well to that and it saves you time if you’re not interviewing people who want way more than you can afford
  • Hybrid work pattern available
  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Modern, well-equipped offices
  • 5 mins walk from train station

A – Action

You’ve now taken your potential applicant on a journey that has made them think and feel – if they are excited about the sound of the company, if they tick most of the boxes on the skills and experience required and if the benefits appeal to them, they will act. And in the case of recruitment advertising, that is to apply for the job.

Great ad copy gets great results

Writing great recruitment ad copy doesn’t need to be a stressful experience but you are well advised to invest some time in the process. After all, you’re ‘buying’ something that will be an integral part of your future success.

Be clear about what you’re looking for and what you can offer and then write to attract that person. Get their Attention, generate and maintain their Interest, and build their Desire to take Action.

You’ll be surprised at how quickly you start seeing a flow of suitable applications.

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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