You’ll Think I’m Crazy, But You Should Put This in Job Ads

Sep 2, 2014

AIDAThe goal of any job advertisement should be to attract the highest number of responses from qualified applicants. But how exactly do you go about writing a job ad that attracts the top talent?

If you want to generate more applications from top candidates you must include a telephone number in your job advert.

Now I know what you’re thinking; Connie (who has an agenda of course) can’t possibly understand the recruitment industry. Is she seriously suggesting including a contact name and telephone number? Imagine all those nuisance calls from unqualified candidates; it’s enough to raise the blood pressure of any agency owner. I guess than I owe you some form of explanation if I’m going to challenge the conventional wisdom.

Attracting Top Applicants

Attracting applications is simple in principle. You write a compelling ad and provide the appropriate response mechanism for your selected audience.

Both of the aforementioned principles can be achieved if your agency follows the AIDA model. Your advert must grab Attention, stimulate Interest, create Desire, and most importantly generate Action from the reader.

Elements of a Successful Job Ad

Many recruitment agencies have the capability to produce compelling adverts, but they fall desperately short when it comes to the second principle in attracting top candidates.  They fail to provide the appropriate response mechanism. Let’s briefly cover the Attention, Interest and Desire elements of a job ad before focusing in more depth on improving the “Action” element of your job advert.

Grabbing Attention, Generating Interest, and Creating Desire

On a standard job board your opening gambit is the headline; normally this will be a job title. Often there is little scope to change this. You should focus on writing a powerful opening paragraph which is more than just a description of the role. Remember this opening paragraph will often be truncated — make sure you get the key selling points in early.

Interest and desire for the position can be achieved through great copy that appeals to the emotional and logical sides of a jobseeker. Typical motivations for candidates to change jobs include:

  • More money
  • Career advancement
  • Learning new skills
  • Greater prestige
  • Improved happiness

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Generally speaking, recruitment agencies get the first three parts of the AIDA model right. It’s the action stage where most job advertisements fall short.

A typical ad might ask a consumer to complete an action like visit a store, phone an order line, or visit a company’s website to make a purchase. Job ads in contrast are selling a position. Instead of a purchase you are asking for a different kind of action; you’re asking candidates to part with an arguably more precious commodity, their time.

Completing application forms, tailoring CVs, and writing personalized cover letters are all time-consuming activities. An applicant will only complete these desired actions if the incentive to do so is strong enough.

How can a telephone number increase applications?

Candidates are far more likely to apply: Quality candidates will want to ask plenty of questions about the role to qualify their own suitability and interest. If you fail to provide a contact name and number for queries, you will inadvertently create a barrier to quality candidates.

Candidates are wary: experienced professionals are increasingly wary of bogus job ad. A quick conversation with a recruitment consultant can be enough to alleviate these concerns and stimulate an application.

Instils confidence: There’s nothing worse for a candidate then spending hours crafting an application only to find that the advertised position has been filled or is no longer available. I have known people not to apply for a position unless they have had an actual conversation with the recruiter because of negative past experiences.

People sell better than words: I’ll wager that the majority of recruitment consultants are far better at selling a role over the phone than they are with the written word. Recruitment professionals are by and large salespeople, not marketers.


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