Not too long ago, my company was approached by a client who wanted our help with a technical professional search. Our client provided us with the following job ad:
"C#.Net, ASP.Net, and MS SQL. Experience with ASP.Net a plus. Bachelors in Computer Science required. Experience with large database experience a plus. Excellent technical and non-technical communication skills required."
Have you ever looked at the list of ingredients on the side of a cereal box? It looks like this:
"High fructose corn syrup, calcium carbonate, malt flavoring, artificial flavor, ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate (vitamin C), niacinamide. To maintain quality, BHT has been added to the packaging."
See the similarities? Can you imagine a marketing campaign where Kellogg's tries to sell cereal with a one-page ad of ingredients? Pass me the oatmeal!
To write the most affective job ad, you need to perform a thorough job analysis, which is time consuming. Lou Adler is the master of job analysis and performance profiles, but I want to focus on the minimal effort for the greatest yield. I'll show you how to quickly take your list of ingredients, apply some basic marketing principles, increase your response rate, and increase the quality of your applicants. Your ad will help filter and recruit for you, decreasing time spent on junk resumes, increasing speed-to-fill openings, and maximizing your return on ad dollars.
The key to marketing is to know your audience and to get them to do what you want. The purpose of the job ad is not to tell the world how great your company is, or to demand a set of skills; it's to sell, sell, sell! You are selling your opportunity in a saturated and competitive market. This is an ad, so let's apply some age-old marketing principles and allow the ad to work for us. Focus on two things: 1) stressing benefits; and 2) a call to action.
You need to make it about them — not about you. Job ads tend to focus on what you need, not what they gain; that doesn't work in a tight labor market. You need to stand out amongst the crowd and penetrate deep within their minds.
Call to Action
Always keep your audience and what motivates them in mind. You want them to pick up the phone and call you today. Spark their imagination so that they are excited to learn more.
Once you revamp your job ads, candidates will be more interested now that they have a clear picture of what the challenges and opportunities are. Rather than reading the side panel of a cereal box, they'll feel they're reading about a potential new and thrilling life. Lastly, they'll be motivated to act, and you'll make it easy for them regardless of where they are or when they see your ad!
- Mo Edjlali
Mo Edjlali (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the CEO and founder of TalentFamily, a Microsoft niche recruiting and staffing firm and the president of the DC International Association of Microsoft Partners. He has a diverse background leading CRM and one-to-one marketing initiatives at a variety of organizations, including Accenture, Fair Isaac, Home Shopping Network, USPS, Commerce Bank, UNC Charlotte, and a number of start-ups. Mo Edjlali has a degree in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech.
Article as first appeared on www.erexchange.com