Recruitment advertising… we’re doing it wrong.

It would seem that advertising is a simple enough concept that has the potential to be understood by the general majority of our society. Make something look appealing enough for people to click through to discover more. Of course there are many more complicated definitions out there, but this is what it comes down to, or at least that’s my view.

And yet we keep blasting our poorly written job descriptions out there, using LinkedIn or Twitter (because that’s social recruiting, right?) and we seem to be shocked that our audience doesn’t find them attractive enough to apply. In fact, we despise applicants as we know most of them will not even be relevant.

Here’s a thought – if you want to attract people to the position you are looking to fill, here’s what you have to do:

  • Really want people to apply. If you don’t it will show in how you’re “encouraging” them to do so. You’ll use automated updates that reveal nothing about the job but instead will invite applicants to go through the selection process on their own. The update below is the best example I could find in my feed, but that’s because I block those who use the “Please see below and apply” line.

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  • Try and understand what your target audience finds appealing. I cannot tell you how many ads for developers in Poland feature a picture of women’s breasts. That’s on Facebook and not LinkedIn, but it doesn’t really change much. If you look at the comments below, developers  don’t really seem to appreciate it. Maybe because, if they were in fact looking for those types of pictures, they would know how to do it themselves? Maybe because some of them could just look down to see a pair… It may seem funny to you, but if your potential candidates find it offensive, you may get all the attention and none of the applications.


  • Try and understand the difference between an ad and a description. Here with a simple example – we all know exactly what Coca-Cola is, right? Or at least it’s safe to assume most of us know. So if Coca-Cola doesn’t advertise with the image on the right, why do we do it? I even took the liberty of preparing a little puzzle – if you can spot the difference, then you probably know what an ad is ;)

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A lot of the activities on the list involve understanding others, or at least trying to. I guess what separates really amazing recruiters from the rest is that they really do understand. It’s OK if it doesn’t come completely naturally and requires some work. But if you don’t even make that effort… well you should try being a candidate for a while. Maybe by applying for a job outside of recruitment. Because being curious is one of the requirements.

Why wasn’t it in the ad back when you applied?

Because just like Coca-Cola being bad for your teeth, it seemed like common knowledge to those writing the ad. I guess that’s on them ;)

Head of Talent @SandpitHQ & networking enthusiast. Love #Krakow, reading & all things recruitment and employer branding

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