4 Steps to Creating Attention-Grabbing Recruitment Ads

by Lauren Girardin on July 14, 2017

A recruitment ad is so much more than a description of job duties. At its essence, it’s an advertisement that effectively promotes a role at your organization, your workplace culture, and the brand of the organization itself. With your recruitment advertising, you need to grab people’s attention and then not let go.

Human resources may not be an advertising agency, but you can apply some of its techniques. It’s not about trickery or manipulation. You can create an attention-getting recruitment ad without any Mad Men-style sleaze. Here’s how:

1. Know your Audience

Who do you want to apply for the job? The better you know this audience, the more you’ll be able to craft your recruitment ad to appeal to the best qualified candidates. Don’t picture the one perfect employee, which could create an unconscious bias in the minds of the people on your hiring team. Instead, imagine a variety of qualities that top candidates might possess.

Understand this target audience’s perspective and their needs. Think through all the questions they need you to answer in the recruitment ad. Consider not just what they need from a job and from an employer, but also how they want their job to enhance their sense of self-worth and quality of life.

2. Entice Them with a Specific Headline

Your recruitment ad headline will do most of the heavy lifting to grab attention. Avoid exaggeration or deception to get clicks on your recruitment ad. Exclamation points, ALL CAPS, symbols, and emojis do not transform boring into truly exciting!!! Avoid these tawdry tricks and write useful, specific copy that speaks to your target audience.

The headline may be all a job seeker uses to decide whether reading your entire job description is worth their time. Provide specific details that a job seeker is looking for and can understand. While “Manager Level II” may be the actual job title used in your government human resources system, it may not provide information that job seekers need. In cases like this, come up with a useful, specific description of the role, like “Senior Affordable Housing Grants Compliance Manager” or “Head of Marine Wildlife Rehabilitation.”

If there’s room in the recruitment ad headline to add one of the exciting job perks your organization offers, all the better. These perks might include:
• Signing bonus
• Flexible schedule
• Management track
• Remote working opportunity
• Generous paid time off
• Matched retirement savings
• Tuition reimbursement

3. Speak to the Job Seeker

In the body of your recruitment ad, directly address your reader with personal and plain language. Instead of vague phrases like “the ideal candidate” or “a successful applicant,” use the word “you.” Rather than writing your organization’s name over and over (or worse, its acronym), convey a sense of your workplace camaraderie with the word “we.” This humanized conversational tone can make people feel like you wrote the recruitment ad just for them.

Spend more space in the recruitment ad talking about the job seeker and their needs, and less space on the drably formulaic “About the Company” section. Captivate and inspire top candidates by sharing a powerful brand story about your organization. Talk about what your employees enjoy about their workplace, how your organization supports employee aspirations, and the ways your organization motivates employees to be exceptional. You’ll help them imagine how they’ll fit in at your organization.

4. Meet their Needs

Just as organizations use government recruitment software to look for employees with specific qualities, people are on the hunt for a job that fits particular and highly personal criteria. Use phrases and terminology that your target audience is looking for and will recognize. Skip jargon and buzzwords, and opt for clarity. Strike an emotionally authentic tone, but don’t overload your content with overblown adjectives.

Top job candidates need to recognize themselves in your recruitment ad. Forget copy-pasting the internal job description as your organization’s recruitment ad. Go beyond the list of job duties, responsibilities, and qualifications, and talk about why they will enjoy the job and love working at your organization. Help people see the job as something they can imagine themselves doing, hopefully for years to come.
How to Solve Government Recruiting Needs

Lauren Girardin

Lauren Girardin is a marketing and communications consultant, writer, and speaker based in San Francisco. She helps organizations engage their communities and tell their stories. Her website is laurengirardin.com and you can connect with her on Twitter at @girardinl.