More than ever we are in a war for great talent. In our experience, only about 2-3% of applicants are the right fit, making volume of candidates a high priority. Here’s how you can up your job ad game.
The first challenge of hiring is compelling candidates to apply for your roles. Job ads must be looked at in the same light as standard customer-marketing; designed for a specific targeted audience that sells solutions to very real problems.
We’ve heard time and time again how “there just aren’t that many great staff.” And although this may be true – have you ever considered how many terrible companies there are out there? If you’re clever, you can leverage this fact and use the right messaging that will draw candidates to you like a magnet.
This means the first intention has to be attracting as many applicants to you as possible – your first target should be a minimum of 50+ candidates so you have a couple of choices. I know this can be challenging for specific role types, especially specialist or scarce roles, but there are ways you can increase your applicants by 2-3x.
Step One: Find out exactly what your ideal candidate wants
You know, in job advertising you really are selling yourself to your ideal candidate. What do you have to offer them that is better than your competitors? What do your ideal candidates really want?
- Survey your existing staff and ask them specifically what they are attracted to in a role. You can include motivations like pay, self-development, flexibility, autonomy, etc. List them all out and ask your staff to rank them in importance from 1 – 10. This should give you an idea of what is important to them.
- Do a job search for the title you are hiring for on the ad platforms you use. Look through what other jobs are out there and determine exactly what your competitors are offering their applicants. Take note of titles, benefits they are showcasing, and any key selling points they are using.
- Conduct some market research in your field on what is happening with the hiring market. What are staff demanding? What are they expecting?
Step Two: Write interesting job ad titles that make you stand out like a sore thumb
Be creative with ad titles so you gain as much interest as possible. Come up with new ways to describe the role in a way that makes people click. Here are some (real) examples:
“Associate Advisor role with great career path opportunities”
“Amazing Account Manager for IT firm”
“Joinery Supervisor – tough role”
“Client Services Manager for growing financial firm”
“Amazing bookkeeper needed”
“E-Commerce Manager In Training”
“Account Manager – mum returning to work”
Notice how they’re showcasing what candidates want? “Growing firm..” “Career opportunities..” This is why the first step is so vital – so you are showcasing what candidates really want.
Look, even if they’re cheesy – who cares! Don’t get too significant about this – all you want is for them to click on it as this is the first hurdle. These types of ad titles are miles away from the boring, standard “account manager” type ads. If you wanted to be really out there you could simply call it something like “Click Me” to see what happens.
Step Three: Post multiple ads across multiple categories
One of our best kept secrets is writing multiple ads that go in different categories. Cross-placing ads can up your applicants by 100%.
The idea is you create different archetypes of people who could be successful in this role. A junior you could train up, an experienced person who can start straight away, someone with parallel qualifications in a completely different field you could convince to transfer over, etc.
Each archetype is a new opportunity for you to place an ad in a different category. If you know your role could be done by two types of people – promote two jobs ads written specifically for them in the categories they would be looking in. Here are some examples:
- For a HR Manager in a medium construction company, we advertised in Retail Management as we theorised that retail managers are tough, able to handle a lot of randomity, and involved in HR duties.
- For an online tutor we posted ads in performing arts for those who have worked with kids.
- For an E-commerce manager we posted in marketing, sales and management.
Step Four: Structure the ad so they cannot stop reading
Most job ads are dry. They are the same as all others, talk about all the lovely things the candidate will get, how they must be reliable and professional, on and on.
Change it up by writing something they can’t stop reading by speaking to what is REAL. Paint a real picture that is honest:
- Talk TO the your ideal candidate directly with impactful intros that compel them to keep reading. Real example: “You are so good at account management that you don’t need to look for a job for the rest of your life…. But you have been wondering if there is an agency that could offer you a more diverse, challenging and engaging portfolio of clients for you to manage…”
- Highlight the challenges not the benefits (truly productive staff love a challenge). Real example: “This is a new department and one that requires you to be thrown in the deep end. It is so important and you will be taking off a huge workload from the Ops Manager who is currently so beyond capacity that work is being dropped…”
- Use the research you’ve done to speak to their needs. Real example: “You want to be a part of a team where your opinion matters. Where it is not hierarchical and where they (genuinely) value your work life balance….”