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Adding Pizzazz to Ads

Adding Pizzazz to Ads

Cream-of-the-crop candidates don’t have the same needs as most candidates looking for work. These top performers don’t just want another job; they want better jobs. But most job ads are written towards candidates who need a job. These ads are overstuffed with skills, duties and responsibilities, and are often negative in tone. They simply do not inspire the best to apply.

The telltale sign you’ve fallen victim to this ad writing habit? Too many unqualified candidates — and not enough of the top candidates — respond to your ads.

One common way to classify candidates is determining whether they’re active or passive. Active candidates are aggressively looking for another job, and passive candidates are gainfully employed but open to exploring new career opportunities when they are presented. But I prefer a different classification system: great and not great. Some mistakenly assume that all passive candidates are great and all active candidates are not great, but you’ll find some of each in both groups.

The best a recruiter can hope for is a great active candidate responding to an ad. But posting a typical ad won’t attract this person. You need a compelling ad that incorporates the motivating factors for top candidates, who accept jobs based on what they’ll be learning, doing and becoming. It’s not just the job that’s important — it’s the opportunity to grow on the job. Great ads need to capture this. The focus should be on the future, not the past. Skills and experiences don’t mean everything; activities need to be emphasized. Combine this with a great title to get readers’ attention, and you have a winning job ad.

This ad we recently used for a customer service rep is a good example. The title, “Win This Customer Service Rep Position,” was seen and read by everyone. The copy began like this: “Raffle being held tomorrow. Just send your resume to apply. We hope you win this exciting opportunity to work with our clients, who desperately need your help guiding them through our online learning center. If you can work with ACT, are comfortable online and like to juggle lots of balls, you’ll win more than just another job.”

Think about the tone of the text you just read: humorous, positive, forward-looking and motivating. Ads like this not only get the attention of active job seekers, but they will also attract a few of the top passive candidates who are just browsing after a tough day. After all, virtually everyone is open to a situation that’s clearly superior to his current one. If you can convey that opportunity in your advertising, you’ll be making great strides towards dramatically reducing your cost and time to hire, without reducing your standards.

Regardless of your sourcing medium — advertising, career fairs, referral and network programs, Web mining, calling potential candidates, etc. — it’s the attraction piece that’s most important. You need to interest a top candidate enough that he is willing to endure the subsequent interview and assessment process. Advertising and sourcing programs need to offer more than just another job. They need to offer a better job.