“Men wanted for Hazardous Journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”
This legendary, or some would say mythical, advert written by Ernst Shackleton, in preparation for his 1914 Trans Antarctic Expedition, may or may not have been published, but what it does show, in those short 25 words, is that the type of person required is accurately portrayed.
My colleague Alex recently wrote a blog Get their attention – image is everything in recruitment advertising, but what's the point if they're put off by poorly written copy.
Has the art of copy writing died?
Has the internet resulted in poor adverts?
Would YOU apply to a job description?
When running copywriting training course, this is one of the first questions I ask. If the answer is no, this begs the question, why publish the advert?
- Does the job description tell me what it’s really like to work here?
- Does it tell me about the type of person who would fit in? Or more importantly if you work for a big brand, the type of person who wouldn’t fit in?
It may have been tongue in cheek, but in the mid nineties the Volvo T5 was challenging for the British Touring Car Championship. Their target audience wanted sports car performance, but also needed to carry 2.4 kids and all their luggage which is depicted in the advert on the right.
To carry on the car anology, would you buy a new car based on the obvious technical specification?
- 2.0 litre Diesel Engine
- 4 wheels
- 4 Seats
- Steering wheel
- 5 Gears
Or would you buy it based on the performance, the levels of comfort, the fuel efficiency, the fact that it has 3 years servicing included.
The job spec tells you the duties and responsibilities of the role, but advertising that a newly qualified chartered accountant will be responsible for producing monthly and annual accounts is akin to stating that a car has four wheels.
What makes a good recruitment advert?
When writing a good recruitment advert, in my experience the most successful adverts are those which convey a picture of what the working environment is really like, what the team is like and what sort of person would fit in. What would really attract the right person, but also what would help people self select and ask themselves the question, "Is this me?".
Internal recruiters immediately have access to all this information, through the hiring manager and the existing team. Develop profiles of people within job families and job roles, not just in terms of their technical skills, but also what interests them about the business and why they want to work there.
Identifying the shape of a business' talent is a key part of successful business, yet rarely does this filter through to recruitment marketing. In the same way that recruiters are looking for inviduals that stand out from the crowd, your advert needs to do the same.
- Don't be boring – job specs are boring
- Get to the point, don't make someone scroll and scroll and scroll
- Describe what the profile of a successful candidate will look like
- What are the benefits, not just the company benefits, but the added free benefits, such as free parking, fee bus to rail station, close to Motorway junction or close to a supermarket.
- Let your adverts tell a story – we all like stories.
What about you?
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