What's in it for Me? Create a Sense of Urgency in Your Ad Text to Appeal to Your Ideal Candidates

by Toby Marshall - Date: 2008-09-11 - Word Count: 688 Share This!


Your vacancy is the best opportunity out there for a candidate in this field, right?

While your ad headline is critical to attracting candidates to read further, does your ad text support it in urging your ideal future employees to apply for this great chance immediately? More and more, individuals are looking for what's in it for them. Your ad text needs to get across what you need while also keeping a strong sense of WIIFM. This is a very fine balance but must be achieved for your ads to be effective.

You have 5-8 bullet points in which to do all of this, so you have to keep it brief. Think about what you are really looking for in a candidate.

Your bullet points should cover key responsibilities, essential and perhaps desired skills and experience and personal attributes, such as flexible approach and team working.

Use words that will either attract those you want or repel those you don't. Do not waffle - lots of white space is needed so that the key points can be seen easily by your prime candidates.

One great way to think about this is to picture the perfect applicant in your head and compose the ad as if you were writing it for that person.

Ask yourself these questions when considering your ideal candidate and composing your ad:

- Does the person really need a set number of years of experience in a role, or would talented fast-trackers also be suitable?

- Which attributes are essential and which are desired? For example, you can teach a person how to use a computer programme, but you often can't teach them how to be flexible.

- How specific am I going to be about the needs of the role? (the more specific you are, the more targeted your applicants will probably be).

You may well want to consider getting someone other than an HR person to write your ad. The copy will in many cases be more captivating.

What's in it for me? (or, your Unique Selling Point)

The cold, hard facts are that each person you are appealing to with your ad wants to know what's in it for them. What makes your company / position better or more worthwhile for them than the 20 other advertised in the same place? In the same way that you must have a unique selling point for your company products, you have to have the same for your potential employees. Ask yourself some questions:

- Is your company award-winning, or are you an industry leader?

- Are you developing exciting or innovative new products / services?

- Will the employee get the chance to travel?

- Are there career development opportunities?

- Is the company employee-oriented?

- What are the company values? How do these differ from your competitors?

- Does your company demonstrate corporate and/or environmental responsibility? (This is being found to be of increasing importance).

- Is your location convenient?

- Can you offer flexible working hours?

Work in some of the most appealing company attributes for your desired applicants. These will most likely vary depending on the role you are advertising for.

It has been found that selling salaries is not the best approach. Younger generations in particular appear to have much more interest in company values and a good work-life balance than in high salaries. In fact, studies have shown that training and development ranks the highest in attracting new employees. You could consider including a testimonial, an example of an individual who benefited from the learning opportunities in your organization, to illustrate how appealing your company is.

What you must not do is exaggerate about the job role - this will not build trust with your new employee, and is not likely to enhance your staff retention rates.

Whether online or in print, all ads should finish up with a call to action - the next steps that candidates should take - make this very clear, and detail the documents that interested individuals must supply and where they should send them.

What do I need versus what's in it for me, your great future employee? Get this balance right and you will increase your job ad success.

Related Tags: recruitment advertising, job advertising, strategic recruitment, job ads, recruitment ads

Toby is an active speaker on the international conference circuit. His mission: To give all companies, no matter how few employees they have, the information and expert help they need to do their own recruitment and selection and find great new staff. If you like what you have read so far, you can get more information and resources at www.abacusrecruit.com.au

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