To kick off our series of recruitment marketing tips and advice articles for recruitment and HR professionals, we focus on writing job ads. It’s an easy one to start with. Whether you’re advertising jobs online, in newspapers or in your windows, it’s easy to forget just how many jobs there are currently being advertised in the Australian recruitment market. In a word, millions. Yours needs to stand out from the crowd in order to attract the very best talent for your clients or your company. Mastering basic copywriting skills is simple but also quickly forgotten by recruiters in favour of time saving and performing more glamorous tasks. The result is of course poorly written job ads, lower response rates, lower application quality and in turn less candidates for your jobs. Aside from the lower responses, would your branding department be happy listing the company logo next to what you have produced? It is also a corporate image exercise. Would a professional candidate want to work for a company who releases job ads with spelling and grammar mistakes? Don’t think so. To ensure you receive the very best bang for your advertising buck and continue to receive quality candidates, here are our top tips.
A lot of people are looking for jobs, so most job ads often get at least a couple of responses. But for a recruitment agency or HR department that needs to find the right people for all its clients or departments, one or two applicant responses simply will not be enough to provide a decent shortlist of potential recruits. In order to increase the likelihood of finding the best quality responses to a job ad, the ad itself has to generate as many responses as possible.
In order to improve the quality and effectiveness of job ads, measurable by the number of responses it receives, the most important thing is to improve a job ad’s ability to attract attention. If a job ad fails to attract attention, it will fail, period. If a job ad does catch attention, then there’s a 50/50 chance that the candidate who noticed is the right one. So, in job advertising, that first moment, that attention-grabbing moment, is everything.
So how can an ad’s ability to attract attention be improved?
For recruitment agencies or HR professionals, advertising a job is not unlike marketing a product or service. Hence, the same advertising rules apply. A bland and boring job ad will not only attract just a few responses, but will also fail to attract the best candidates. Candidates of quality will most likely also be attracted to ads that exert more effort to grab attention and to elicit interest.
A lot of job ads these days simply inform potential applicants that there are job vacancies, but these are far from the right way of creating effective, attention-grabbing job ads. A job ad has to do more than just inform; it has to engage, to pique interest, and to hold on to an audience for an extended period of time or until the attention finally turns to action.
Highlight the unique benefits of the job
Think about how products and services are advertised. Don’t companies highlight their best features? It should be the same concept for advertising a job vacancy. A job ad has to have a list of the possible benefits that applicants will enjoy in the event that they get hired. So aside from listing down the obvious, such as the job post and some background about the company, a recruitment ad also has to list down some extra perks, which may include but are not limited to:
- The prestige of working in a successful company
- The strategic location of an office or business
- Travel benefits
- Medical benefits
- Continuous training
- Holiday schedule
- Flexible hours
- Great salary
These are just some of the examples an effective, attention-grabbing job ad should include. A job ad can also focus only on one or a couple of major benefits, which will serve as the ultimate attention grabber. Usually, the best benefits to push forward are high salary levels, additional benefits and details of progression.
Put two job ads side by side, one with just the company information and the job vacancy, and the other listing down the sample benefits shown above. Which ad will applicants probably choose to apply to?
Be just a call away
The most effective job ads that get the most responses have one thing in common; they have active contact information included. Providing contact information for candidates is a good way of converting attention into actual applications, and this will, in turn, improve the responses that the ad gets. The easier it is for a candidate to get in touch, the more likely they will do. Rather than simply listing your website address, include your phone number, email address, mobile number (home number even) and demonstrate you will be waiting for their call. Make sure, however, that applicants receive a prompt response from any of the contact details placed on the ad.
Most job applicants often have additional questions that are crucial to their decision-making process, so it helps if they are able to get the answers they need with a single call. If telephone numbers or mobile numbers cannot be disclosed, an e-mail address would be sufficient, as long as applicants can expect a prompt reply. Keep in mind, however, that many applicants don’t usually bother making an inquiry through e-mail since e-mail will not give them the response they need instantly, so a phone number is still more preferable. Adding a personal name rather than ‘HR Department’ will also create a personal touch and invite the candidate to get in contact.
Use the right media
As with advertising a product or service, the right media platform used for job ads matters greatly. Where job ads are positioned will have an immense effect on the number of responses it will receive. For example, if the ad is targeting the younger segment of the market, it should use media platforms that this segment is exposed to regularly, such as the Internet, social networking sites, magazines and social newspapers, college or university hiring sites, online message boards etc. If an ad, on the other hand, is targeting the older, more professional demographics, more conventional media platforms such as professional industry organisations, executive job boards and newspapers, depending on your budget of course.
There you have it, the basic skills to create attention-grabbing job ads and receive the very best return for your recruitment advertising budget. A little extra time and care taken to write and advertise your vacancies will result in much higher returns in terms of candidate quality and numbers. Get to it!