Making your vacancy stand out is all about eyeballs – and soap.
With unemployment at 4% and the number of jobseekers per vacancy down to an average of just 0.29 nationally, it’s a buyer’s market for jobs. We’ve spent some time trying to explain how recruiters can learn from consumer marketers, and how candidates are similar to consumers. Good candidates, like consumers in a supermarket, for example, are free to choose from a huge range of goods. So how do you attract the right eyeballs to yours?
Use your imagination
Imagine you are standing in front of a supermarket soap display. If you are anything like me, searching through a range of 30 similar products feels time consuming and annoying. Faced with a huge number of potential jobs, candidates can feel the same.
A clear, accurate label
Buyers look for clear, familiar labels – on job roles as much as soap. So trumpet the title of the role clearly. Don’t be vague.
Roles are often not described in specific terms. A recent internet trawl pulled up an example of a charity looking for ‘support workers’. Nowhere did the vacancy say what this meant in practice. Hands-on carers for people? Staff to work on the phones answering questions from the public?
Use the role title that most candidates use. Your organisation may have internally-used names for some roles but few outsiders understand them, so an ad using your internal term limits your audience. The same goes for terms like ‘ninja’ and ‘guru’. Use the commonly-known name for the role instead.
Imagine you are the candidate, doing an internet search for the job: what terms would you put in the search box?
Our own data shows that jobs with lower stated salaries (£25,000 or under) get more clicks than jobs with salaries in the mid range (between £25,000 and £65,000).
Not sure what the salary should be? Consult our Salary Stats Center.
State briefly what the job is, what the tasks are, and what qualifications and experience are required. Be as specific as possible about the tasks involved.
Avoid gendered language – it can discourage otherwise good candidates. Ads seeking people to ‘manage’ teams appeal more to men, but those asking for someone to ‘develop’ a team attract more women. Asking for someone to ‘lead’ a team attracts a mix of both, according to software from Textio, which analyses job postings,
Don’t include long descriptions of your organisation. Use the short description that comes up on a basic web search.
Imagine fitting the whole vacancy on to a postcard.
Publicise your perks
Onsite bar, free shoulder massages, or permission to bring your dog in? These attract attention, but less unusual ones such as good pension schemes, flexible working, private health insurance, and free parking attract eyeballs too. Shout about them.
Let employees speak for you
People buy from people, so include links to videos of employees talking about what it’s like to work in the role you are advertising. Ensure they describe the role rather than just gushing about the company.
A firm seeking IT recruits recently wrote its job ad in programming code, and GCHQ created a code-cracking puzzle to attract candidates for cyber security jobs – approaches that made news outside the vacancy boards. Think carefully though – job ads that are little more than stunts can go wrong.
Some companies have even tried writing adverts that explicitly state what they’re not looking for. It can be a risky strategy, but if done right you can tap into a potential candidate’s frustration with their own role. Perhaps they are stuck in a heavily process-driven organisation and you want someone who isn’t obsessed with processes! Or vice versa!
Think about how you behave when you are considering a consumer purchase. You want as much information as possible, and you want to find the information in a simple, easy-to-digest manner. On top of that, you have to think about how what you are offering is different to other companies in your industry, or area of the country.