Recycled Job Ads Are Not Marketing Tools

By Cindy Schwartz


As a recruitment consultant, I refrain as much as possible from using solely a skill based job description to advertise on job boards. Most descriptions are generally void of KPI’s, details about culture, fit or growth. Candidates are scanning job boards such as to ascertain what’s in for them. One click can make or break a candidate’s decision to pursue your firm.


We are relying on job descriptions to act on our behalf as a marketing tool to attract candidates despite the fact that they make little attempt to actually engage with the intended candidate. If we are to leverage brand engagement to attract and retain top talent, we need to post job ads that require an active effort on the part of the employer to compel individuals to consider their firm over the dozens of others posting online.


The job description lies at the foundation of the recruitment process and having a concrete understanding of what is truly required beyond skills is paramount to creating a powerful job ad that will link you to your ideal audience.


The measure of a successful hire is one that can perform effectively once on the job. It’s imperative to define clear deliverables before we advertise; otherwise it will likely attract unqualified applicants. To entice highly competent prospects you can establish a list of desired KPI’s by gathering data on past individuals who have successfully met their targets.


In tandem, by interviewing on accomplishments, rather than just skills to measure past success only candidates that actually possess the expertise to deliver will be considered. This takes the guesswork and potential biases out of the equation.


Job descriptions are frequently written by either someone who has never actually done the job, by someone who does not know how this role affects the organization at large, or by someone with no training on how to effectively use marketing as part of a recruitment strategy.


What if those people brought together their individual expertise to collaborate on the task?


Phase one is where we identify our optimal candidate first based on skills, in addition to KPI’s; this will bring us to craft a description around those initial elements. The players who would most effectively perform this task could be;


The hiring manager:

Their role: They determine objectives and KPI’s to predict success.

  • From a KPI standpoint what background, skillset, education and personality traits did previous incumbents have that made them successful? 
  • What skills are negotiable and which are essential?
  • What is their management style? Do they need someone autonomous or an executor that than they can closely manage?
  • What is their 12-month plan for this role?
  • What projects will the person be working on?
  • What is the ideal personality that considers the dynamic of the existing team?


The person leaving the job (or previous incumbent): 

Their role: They report on daily realities and skills required to do the job.

  • What skills and accomplishments did they need on day 1 when they were hired, versus what did they learn on the job to be fully functional?
  • Talk about what a typical day. Paint a picture of all the skills used.
  • What is the team like? What is the dynamic of the individuals?
  • What support did they require from their manager?
  • Are the KPI’s attainable?


Once we have zeroed in on what this exemplary hire would look like, phase two would require the collaborative effort of Human Resources and Marketing to craft a job ad that is targeted for the right cultural fit, and that supports the employer brand.


Human Resources:

Their role: Infuse the company’s core values, or mission statement, as it connects to the overall organization.

  • From a fit standpoint, what characteristics did the last incumbents possess that did not jive with the company’s culture?
  • If it works to their advantage, why is the role open? Was the person promoted? If so showcase the growth opportunities in the company.
  • What are the perks of working there? Do you offer flex time or working from home? Anything beyond group insurance could be worthy of highlighting.
  • How does the success of this person affect others? Be clear on their organizational impact so you can ensure accountability to the KPI’s on a larger scale.




Their role: Oversee the writing of the posting and ensures that it speaks to the company’s branding efforts.

  • Advertise to your target audience in a language where they feel connected and want to be an ambassador of that brand.


Resumes are rarely a precise match to descriptions and realistically it is rare to find a candidate that has everything that you are looking for.

The investment that you make at the beginning of the process is paramount and will save you time and money in the long run. The ultimate goal is to have candidates approach you directly based on your reputation of matching your job ads to your employers brand strategy.