Why job advertising should be done with your Marketing hat on

When writing a job ad, most people concentrate on the job part and forget about the advertising bit.  Katherine Connolly of Keeping HR Simple explains how writing a top job advertisement needs you to put your Marketing hat on.

If you’ve been following the series of articles on recruiting for small businesses, you’ll find yourself the proud owner of a well-written and well-thought out job description and person specification.  So, now what?  Exactly how do you go about advertising your role to the masses and getting the right people to apply? 

Change your hat

First, take your Manager’s hat off and put your Marketing hat on.  Anyone running a small business will know what I mean – lots of different roles and you can really only wear one hat at a time.  You may have been wearing your Manager’s hat while writing the job analysis, job description and person specification but if you keep that hat on while writing the job advert, you’ll be making a big mistake.

You need to remember that you’re not just advertising a vacancy in your business.  In fact, the vacancy is almost an excuse to tell people about your business, the products/services you offer and how great an employer you are!  If you’re not approaching your recruitment advertising from that perspective then you’re missing a trick.

Attention please!

As with all advertising, the mnemonic “AIDA” (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action) is worth remembering.  How do you get the attention of the right people?  Forgive me for stating the obvious, but the headline you use is key.  Going back to my previous example of a company looking for a receptionist, you could use the headline “Receptionist Wanted”.  Perfectly functional and acceptable.  But, if you want the best receptionist possible to join your team, you need something a bit special.  How about an attention-grabbing headline like “Are you the world’s best receptionist?” or “Would you like to be in charge of our company’s first impressions?”.  The “receptionist wanted” headline works fine but it just doesn’t make you stand out from the crowd and it certainly doesn’t get you the attention you deserve.

Make it interesting

Ok, so you’ve got a great attention-grabbing headline.  Now you need to back that up with something interesting.  Go back to your carefully written job description.  Think like your perfect receptionist.  What would be most interesting to him/her?  Pick out the best bits and put them together to make the first paragraph of your advert.  You may even want to include the challenging part of the role.  It might read something like this:

“Are you the world’s best receptionist?

If the answer’s yes, we need you!  Help us to maintain our excellent reputation for customer service by answering all our incoming calls and looking after our visitors when they arrive..  First impressions count and you’ll be responsible for making sure that we make a cracking first impression on everyone we deal with.   We confess – our reception desk is in a bit of a mess but, as the best receptionist in the world, you’ll relish that challenge and want to get it ship shape as soon as possible!”

Form an orderly queue

Then you want to create desire – you want the best receptionist in the world to really want to work for your company.  You want people queuing up to work for you, so how?  Tell them what they can become if they work with you.  The very best employees will not be interested in what they can get – they will want to know what they can become.  Here’s where the career progression part comes in:

“In return for all your hard work, you’ll have the chance to join an elite team who will value your unique contribution to keeping us organised.  You’ll have the opportunity to develop the role and really make it your own – running the office is just one option!”

A is for Action

The final part of the mnemonic is A for Action.  After reading this, your perfect receptionist will have CV in hand and be raring to go.  You don’t need to persuade them to take action but you do need to tell them how to get in touch so make sure you include your contact details!

The receptionist role is just an example but you should be able to see how this applies to any vacancy you may want to advertise.  If you’re worried about inadvertently including any potentially discriminating language, see my other article here on age discrimination in job advertising.

Next week: new ideas and innovation in recruitment – you’re only limited by your imagination!

This is the fourth of a series of articles designed to help small businesses with their recruitment strategies and processes, Katherine Connolly, MD of Keeping HR Simple, looks at how writing job descriptions and person specifications can benefit both the prospective employee and the company.

If you like what you’ve read so far and want to chat to us about recruiting in your own business, just get in touch – www.keepinghrsimple.co.uk/contact-us

Be the change that you want to see. Step into your leadership.