It was October 27, 2018. I opened up SEEK to start a job search and entered in the following search string:

Excellent OR Fantastic OR Amazing OR Fabulous
All Sectors
All Australia

I found 81,156 jobs. Put another way, that’s 81,156 people bullshitting you – or at least trying to. One job ad even had “amazing”, “fantastic” and “excellent” in the first three bullet points, which I think was an internet best ever.

We think that most job advertisements are up there with the biggest cons of all time; right from the get-go they often set up false expectations for job seekers (BS 101 in our books).
So, what can be done about this? Let’s take a look.

First impressions last

A job ad is often the first time you'll have ever heard of, or communicated with, a business. If the ad is full of grand promises, your relationship might start with cheap lies and laziness. Rock bottom retention rates are hardly a surprise when life in the pod is not so fabulous, after all.

Retention is a dirty word

Reading the ads, it seems insanely difficult for any candidate to cut through the noise, or to even try to understand why they should join the business. With this level of ad copy, you'd be forgiven for giving up and just sticking it out in your current role as a protest! This isn’t the kind of retention we were looking for – the irony is not lost on us, believe me.

It’s a competitive market

You don't have to look far to find the complaints about recruitment, such as low response rates, no feedback, or poor quality of applicants. It's hardly a surprise considering the caliber of job ads out there. Unless you just want to talk active job seekers, you need a compelling reason for the candidate to read your ad, engage with you and ultimately consider working with you - instead of your competitor.

Formula should only be for babies

Job adverts these days typically follow a formula: it starts with false promises and fake adjectives, followed by a shopping list of demands (the must have's and must have not's). When the battle hardened – but resilient – readers have made it to the end of the ad, some are inspired to apply – but many are not.  After a while, the formula tends to discourage, rather than entice candidates to step forward (we don’t blame you, honestly).

The truth is – it’s all marketing!

Recruitment is marketing. To get this part of the experience right, it’s important to treat the reader the way they ought to be treated – like a customer. Flip your job ad on its head and start with what's in it for the candidate. What can they achieve? What career collateral can they gain from spending their forty hours with you instead of their competition? It isn’t a fix all but it's a pretty good start, right?


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