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Reinventing Your Job Ads: How to Make Candidates Care Enough to Click

Recruitment Marketing featured

One of the first lessons you learn in marketing is that no one really cares about your brand.

In fact, most consumers would not care if 74% of brands disappeared from their lives forever.

This makes worrisome reading given the sheer number of dollars that marketing teams plow into brand awareness year in, year out.

Recruiting teams looking to attract great candidates should pay close attention to this - it's safe to say that if a candidate doesn't care about your consumer brand, they're pretty unlikely to care about your talent brand or your job ads.

Want to change this? It's simple. Be different.

Be different

Instead of looking at what companies have always done, ask yourself what your job messaging could (or should) look like. How can you create something that makes a candidate care enough to click?

Often it requires a different approach:

Take a look at Shopify's Director of Product, Brandon Chu's recent Twitter pitch for a new product manager.

There's no list of requirements, no "x years experience" necessary. Candidates get all the information they care about - what differentiates Shopify, the company mission and why the opportunity is worth considering.

This will peak the interest of the best candidates in a way that a standard job ad will not.

Even if you think tweeting is best left to birds, this kind of directness can be replicated in the way you distribute information about your roles.

Being creative, thinking about places where your ideal candidate spends time, and investing time crafting compelling messaging is guaranteed to turn heads. Providing a direct line to the hiring manager doesn't hurt either.

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Shopify 2

Shopify 1

It's not just job promotion that benefits from better copy, every element of recruiting can be improved by this kind of thoughtful, personal approach to messaging.

Take a look at The TalentFinder's co-founder Alan Walker's promotion of a superstar marketing candidate (complete with Dirty Dancing quotes).

In an age of mass InMail, generic templates and subject lines that are designed to trick people into opening their messages, this kind of copywriting stands out (and I'm guessing it was a lot more successful too!)

Alan Walker

Sourcers have long preached the importance of personalization, but the best take it way beyond {FirstName}.

Mike Chuidian, senior sourcer at Sears, takes an innovative approach which gets big results. He uses humor and personality to add color to his recruiting messages.

This works – the results that Mike gets are amazing. Here’s an example of a message that he sent to a group of Growth Hacking candidates (a position that’s fast becoming one of the toughest to fill). There are gems here for anyone prepared to look past the slight blurriness of the image:


Mike makes sure he covers every key detail regarding the role but does it in an entirely novel way.  With the best passive candidates, standing out from the crowd is half the battle – how many other messages do you think these candidates will receive that reference Jedi mind tricks?

Don’t be afraid to blend the personal and the professional. Don’t be afraid to be interesting. Or, in Mike Chuidian’s words, “stop being a boring corporate recruiting robot”! Start by testing a few new approaches and see if your response rate increases – you’ve got nothing to lose.

Wondering if this approach works? Mike got a 97% response rate with his campaign!

Finding your own "purple cow"

This excerpt from Seth Godin's book "The Purple Cow" (one of the best books ever written on marketing) is the perfect way to bring this piece to a close.

"Cows, after you've seen one, or two, or ten, are boring. A Purple Cow, that would be something. Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat out unbelievable.

Every day, consumers come face to face with a lot of boring stuff-a lot of brown cows - but you can bet they won't forget a Purple Cow. And it's not a marketing function that you can slap on to your product or service. Purple Cow is inherent. It's built right in, or it's not there. Period."

Each one of the examples above fits this "purple cow" archetype. Each one is totally different to what candidates are accustomed to, and unforgettable as a result.

Very few companies take this approach to marketing their jobs and employer brand. If you can find your own "purple cow", if you can think of new ways to start conversations and build relationships with top talent, then you should feel confident about your chances of long term recruiting success.

Are you content with doing the same thing as everyone else, or do you want to do something different?

Recruiting Events - The Complete Playbook

Talent teams of every size can find value in this ebook, but it is especially targeted at sophisticated teams who want to leverage the technology and candidate data at their disposal to create highly effective event programs. It contains an exploration of the different types of events and how to best use them, checklists for event set up, project management tips, collaboration, event follow-up, not to mention metrics and best practices for measurement.

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