28 Feb 2015

Darth Vader Job Ads...

I've been in recruitment for a long time so it stands to reason that I've been writing job adverts for a long time too.  I used to be of the opinion that it didn't really matter what went into the advert - job hunters would search for a job title, a location and a salary and then if the role sounded vaguely suitable, they'd apply for it.    The onset of online job applications has radically changed the world of recruitment and in fact, I think job hunters are too trigger happy when it comes to firing off job applications - but that is another blog.

I do think though, that writing a good job advert is a skill and shows that we're taking the role of recruiter seriously.  I read an article recently which talked about the way that companies drive away candidates and future employees with destructive recruitment practices.  One of them  was the use of 'Darth Vader' job adverts.  'The selected candidate will have blah blah'.   Many many job adverts from recruiters have this sort of tone to them but I try to inject a little bit more personality. After all, it's the chemistry and fit that usually match someone up to a company and a role as much as their skills and experience.

The other point is that if a recruitment agency is advertising for a candidate, whilst they would say they are recruiting for a specific business, they are often writing generic adverts to attract candidates to their database - that's an advert that has a lot of blah and not very much specific information.  Recruiters often worry too that too much information is handing leads on a plate to their competitors.  I'm not joking!  Some recruiters scour their competitors websites to try to work out what companies they are working for and they'll then get on the phone to chase.   A good recruiter doesn't have time for that and is too busy trying to fill their existing briefs to shark around and worry what the competition is doing.

Anyway, I digress. When writing an advert for a new role, I generally start off with a bit of info about the company, then talk about the role, then talk about other salient points.  I don't write war and peace - that's the purpose of  a job description.  However, the purpose of the advert is to attract the right profile of candidate and to then get them excited about the role.  I had a role recently which was a client services position to work in an agency on a fashion sector account.  I had an unprecedented response.  Had I utilised the same advert with no sector information or said it was to work on a global IT distributor....I think the response would have been very different!  So it's proof that job hunters do read the spec'.  I also think that if you see an advert online that stands out - it's worth getting on the phone to chat through the role with the recruiter.

Recruitment has changed as an industry with email and text.  No-one wants to talk anymore!  In defence of job hunters, it's not easy in a busy office to be talking about jobs with your friendly recruiter.  If I do get a call in response to a job advert, I can be pretty sure that the candidate is keen and motivated - and that's a great starting point for a conversation.  Equally, when I get emails saying 'Dear Sarah' (My name is Fiona...), it's pretty evident that the cut and paste job application process is in full swing - not such a good start.

So there are a few messages in here.  For recruiters, it's to make sure job adverts are enticing and real and for job hunters to take time to apply for relevant roles with personalised cover emails/letters. You may just find that the response rate increases radically - for both parties!