There are millions of metaphors we can apply to hiring, but one of my favorites is comparing dating to finding a job. With that comparison in mind – let’s all take a second to ask ourselves how do we court a mate? There are lots of answers, but one thing companies need to keep in mind is they have to make themselves attractive to candidates. When you’re courting a candidate you need to pull out all the stops, including creating awesome job ads. These companies got extra creative, and extra clever – and I bet they met the person of their dreams (in hiring terms of course)…
Providing a challenge is a great way to filter serious candidates in a job ad. Microsoft United Kingdom is not the only company to create crazy developer job ads, but they absolutely know how to target the high-demand group. If you provide a challenge only serious candidates will take the initiative. That means your job ad has already done some of the filtering and selection for you. Ta-Da!
Use your companies main source of traffic to advertise open positions. I can see why it would be easy to get stuck in a rut, and only post jobs on careers pages. The reality is you’ll get a lot more traction if you diversify your advertising channels. Refinery29 published an entire blog on their open position. This is brilliant because their readers were already invested in the company, and are expecting exciting news. Imagine their excitement when they come across an article stating they could be the next hire at one of their favorite companies?
Demonstrate the potential for growth. How many times has a candidate asked you, “How can I grow in this position?” I bet you can’t even count. Growth is a hugely important factor in a career decision. The US Navy does an excellent job showing interested candidates limitless opportunity within the Navy. It’s clear their jobs surpass the traditional ideas of what it means to serve.
Having a sense of humor in your job ads is a great way to attract candidates that have one also. This is a particularly important skill set if you’re looking to hire a customer facing position. Dallas Restaurant and Bar wanted a bartender, and bartenders have to deal with all sorts of nonsense (I know, I was one), and with that in mind they made what I like to think is an oxymoron of a job ad. It makes no sense and perfect sense all at once.
Being social is no longer an option. Everyone is online now, which means you need to make sure your recruiting efforts make it there as well. And I am not just talking about a stream of tweets with job descriptions, I’m talking about web advertisements. Bey2Ollak knows a good quote goes a long way, and has major sharing power.
— Bey2ollak – بيقولك (@Bey2ollak) December 14, 2013
Take advantage of the season. Part of having a creative job ad is using external influences to be successful. When it came time for GAP United Kingdom to hire extra employees for the holiday hiring boom they took what I call the “right on time approach.” Your job ads should always be evolving. No one is going to be interested in something that looks the same over and over again. You don’t have to necessarily be hiring seasonal workers to use different months to your advantage; all you need to do is think about how to make your open job the “right job, for right now.”
Make it easy for candidates to see themselves in your job ad. I love Hydro’s job ad because of the feelings of nostalgia it brings up. I was never a little boy, who spent a lot of time engineering paper airplanes, but I know a lot of people who were. I know they’d say to themselves “that was me once.” Imagine a job ad so good; the candidate visualizes himself or herself literally being born for you open jobs. This is exactly what Hydro has accomplished.
Honesty is the best policy. This job ad from the Peace Corps is from 1961. Which is proof they’ve been attracting talent the right way for a long time. Not all jobs are glamorous all the time. If this is the case for your company – find the positive in the “negative” and advertise it. Yes, you need to have a “strong stomach,” but you’re doing something really great for the world. Fair trade? I think so.
Location. Location. Location. You need candidates? Then advertise to them exactly where your ideal candidates are. Lyft shared their job ad for drivers right over a San Francisco Highway. It makes perfect sense doesn’t it? Think about “where the fish are” and cast a wide net in that location. The right location ensures lots of eyes on your job ad, which means a wider talent pool. Plus, in Lyft’s case not everyone who sees it will apply to be a driver, but I bet they’ll get a lot of new passengers as well.
Hyper-Target your job ad, but do it extra creatively. British Advertising Agency, Propaganda, set out to find an advertising writer by using a job ad that references well known advertising copy from multiple famous campaigns. This is clever for lots of obvious reasons. It’s industry specific, meaning a well-trained professional will pick up on all the hints, and of course appreciate the route Propaganda took.
Now, not every company – in fact most companies – won’t have a huge budget and design team to devote to creating extra appealing job ads. But just because you can not create amazing images doesn’t mean the job ad copy itself cannot be eye-catching. The first step is to stop thinking of job ads as job descriptions. Once you’ve done that, treat them with the same oomph as you would a full-fledged marketing campaign. What could be more important than attracting and retaining the talent you need to keep your company going? Nothing. Take your cues from these companies and start courting candidates the right way from the very beginning.