• Stephen Flanagan

Don’t bother posting your job ad if it’s like this

Irishjobs.ie, one of the largest job portals in Ireland, has been telling the Irish Independent that September is the second most popular month for people seeking jobs, after January. So now would be a good time to advertise any upcoming vacancies you have.

However, if your job ad is anything like the 90% of job ads I see on Irishjobs and all the other job boards, careers pages and LinkedIn, you’re wasting your time posting it. That is if you’re trying to attract top talent.

It won’t work!

Here’s why.

This is what a typical job ad reads like to any potential candidate. Does it look familiar? If your job ad reads like this, how can you expect anyone who ISN’T desperate for a job, to apply?

Still not sure? Here’s another analogy.

This image below is what Chanel No.5 would look like, if you sprayed a drop onto a surface. It's one of the most iconic and best-selling perfumes of all time. In 2008 The Telegraph said a bottle was sold every 55 seconds. Do you not recognise it? That’s because it’s not in its beautiful packaging with the timeless branding. You’re looking at the product stripped back to what it basically is - a blob of smelly liquid. Do you think they’d have sold as many millions of bottles if it was presented like this?

Of course not, it’s the perfect example of the power of branding. Superbly designed bottle, a beautiful film star endorsing it and that French ‘je ne sais quoi’.

Your job ad may not be as lifeless as the blob above (at least I hope not), but are you using the power of branding, specifically, employer branding, to sell your company? You don’t have to be Google or Guinness or Accenture, to attract people to your company. Every organisation has its own unique culture and environment that makes people want to work there. If you haven’t figured yours out, I can help. But in the interim, you can at least tell your prospective candidates why you are a successful company and why it would be great for them to work there.

This is the EuroMillions lottery. Literally.

Imagine if this was how it was advertised. Would you be buying a ticket this week? Of course you wouldn’t. That’s why they sell you a dream. In fact, the strap line these days is actually #ShareTheDream. You could buy your own exotic island and invite all your friends to come and stay and have a great time.

The marketing department for EuroMillions is like every other marketing department in the world; they know they have to sell the WIIFM. Giving people the details of what buying a lottery ticket actually does, won’t sell lottery tickets. So what makes you think just listing details about a job will sell it? Of course, you have to inform your potential candidates about the job, but that should be information that is valuable and not just a list for the sake of it.

As an exercise, to support my point, I’m pretending I’m a successful accountant and I’m looking for a job. I go to Irishjobs.ie, search for accountant jobs, click on the first one I find and look at the first bullet point of the ad, under the subtitle ‘RESPONSIBILITIES’.

“Perform and manage the day to day accounting function”

Wow! I’m glad you told me that, I thought I was going to be changing spark plugs in this job. Sarcasm aside, what value do I get out of that information? How about the next line?

“Responsible for all accounts receivable function” (Yes, that is a grammar error in the ad as well.)

Or the next?

“Responsible for all invoices & Credit Notes” (not sure why credit and notes are spelt with capital letters)

Or the next?

“Process VAT Returns”

I could go on. There are 19 RESPONSIBILITIES listed in bullet points!

Oh and then there’s a list of REQUIREMENTS, (all 14 of them) like “Take pride in your work” and “Strong numerical skills”. How many accountants, no make that, human beings, would read this ad and say ‘Darn it, they want someone who takes pride in their work and is good with numbers. That’s not me, so I better not apply.’

And then we reach the end of the ad.

Imagine a top-notch accountant who is looking for a change of job. They are not desperate to move, they have plenty of time to pick what’s right for them, to consider what companies are going to do for them (WIIFM). What’s the challenge in the job? What’s the work environment like? Is there any future training and development? What are the benefits on offer?

Are these not the type of things we all look for in a job? So why wouldn’t you give this information to the candidates you want to attract to your job? Are you selling the job to them? Are you selling the company’s employer brand? Or are you just giving a long list of responsibilities and requirements?

If it’s the latter, don’t bother posting that job ad.. It's a waste of time.

Need some tips on how to write a good job ad? Check out my blog post Top 10 tips to attract the best candidates to your job ad. Or if you’re time-strapped, I offer an inexpensive, fast-turnaround service to write compelling and persuasive job ads and advise on placement. Get in touch by emailing stephen@talentattract.ie or calling 085 803 1199.

#Jobadwriting #Jobadvertising #Employerbrand #Tipstohelprecruittoptalent #Recruitmentmarketing

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