Job boards Aren't Dying (but a lot of advertisers are doing their best to help kill them off)

I sometimes think people are thinking far too hard and becoming much too confused about the whole recruitment process and how to attract applicants.

Job boards to me are the ideal and only place I would look for jobs. Why? Because it is so bloody simple. I register and set up some search terms so that when a job is posted that matches my criteria I get an email alert telling me about it. It's then down to me to see if what the advertiser has to say woos me or not.

Sadly though, what has happened since online job posting emerged and has since grown into the monster it is today (no pun or promotion intended) is that people have focused less on creativity of message and more about how many boards their buck will buy them.

Accordingly, probably 85% of all online job posts are bland, boring affairs with no appeal, no sell and, in many cases, littered with grammatical errors. Is it any wonder then that the advertiser moans about job boards being on their last legs? The advertisers themselves are the architects of that way of thinking because they post rubbish and get a rubbish response.

The solution, to me at least, is simple. Craft a message that will appeal to the reader, then carefully target the boards you need to be seen on rather than fire the message out scattergun style to every board and via every aggregator under the sun. The quality people who inhabit those boards will have set up job alerts. They won’t be spending their days trawling every job board for every vacancy that includes the search terms that are applicable to them. But, they WILL warm to a vacancy that they have been made aware of that speaks their language and makes their passive approach to recruitment suddenly a proactive one.

In short, creativity of message and careful targeting is key. It's also something that the vast majority have lost sight of, instead believing that if your badly constructed job ad reaches a billion people, then surely at least a few of them will be interested. Yes, possibly, but not the right quality of people. Recruitment is no different to buying a house or choosing a holiday or car. The person making that decision has to be wooed, has to feel there is some kind of allure in the property/destination/vehicle. Job ads these days are, by and large the prefab/caravan park/jalopy of the advertising world - but you, the advertiser, have made it that way.

Job boards aren't dying. The art of knowing how to attract people through creativity with words is. Don't believe me? Just look at a typical job board and the cut & pasted dross that's on there. Most of it would never have made it into print as editorial quality control wouldn't have allowed the ad to cheapen the reputation of the publisher. On that point, the job board that introduces quality control in terms of content, ahead of the need to just make money by accepting any old copy, will maybe lose out on quantity, but be streets ahead in terms of quality. I don't expect that to happen anytime soon though.

Views: 278

Tags: ads, advertising, boards, candidates, creativity, job, recruiting, recruitment, seekers

Comment by Keith Halperin on June 19, 2014 at 3:00pm

Thanks, Alasdair.

1) I believe most job seekers are in the situation of applying to every position they think they could get (and many they can't), s and aren't in a position to pick and choose based on a boring JD.

2) What percentage of applicants to a given board-posted position ends up getting hired for that position?

3)I've seen a suggestion (wish I'd come up with it) that after recruiters gets all the details of the JD, we turn it over to the professional wordsmiths in Marketing to make interesting.

Keep Blogging,

Keith

Comment by Alasdair Murray on June 20, 2014 at 5:22am

You should definitely do number 3. It's partly what I do for a living (wordsmithing, not recruiting)

Comment by Keith Halperin on June 20, 2014 at 3:37pm
Thanks, Alasdair. Spread the word!

Cheers,
Keith
Comment by Ken Forrester on June 23, 2014 at 7:12am

Alasdair, You may have a good point, but I would definitely like to see an example of what you consider a quality job advertisement.  And what is the psychology behind  how a quality job ad will motivate the "A" players to apply?

Comment by Alasdair Murray on June 23, 2014 at 7:22am

Hi Ken. See my website for some examples of copy that sells http://www.alasdairmurraycopy.com/print--online-copy.html . Obviously with recruiters having to advertise 'blind' it's more challenging, but I think there is a big difference between just going through the motions of listing duties and the skill sets and experience required and writing copy that has some kind of allure and makes even the passive browser sit up and take note. This one I wrote for a tv station for example. I've taken out the name of the company, but it still sounds interesting. So may ads these days say "the successful applicant", "the ideal applicant" etc., rather than talk about you and what you could be doing if you grab this opportunity.  Think about other forms of advertising - cars, vacations, beer, anything really. It is designed to appeal to people's emotions rather than just state fact. And there are few things more emotive that making the decision to move jobs. Here's that ad:

Stimulating debate. Increasing viewing. Protecting a reputation. Our Press & Publicity team isn’t short of challenges to rise to. And, when it comes to managing corporate communications across the whole spectrum of our activities, it’s you they’ll turn to. Whether it’s devising a PR strategy for a new online initiative, managing an issue or risk or organising a speaking event, your flair for corporate PR will have every chance to shine. You may already work in TV. Perhaps your expertise has been honed within a large organisation or working on a well-known brand. You might even be a journalist who wants to experience life on the other side of the fence. What is for sure is that you’re focused, flexible and creative, know how to connect with people at all levels and have a good working knowledge of the media industry. Oh and we’ll also be looking for a strong news sense, excellent media contacts and, above all, an innate ability to deliver PR strategies that will enhance people’s perceptions of our brand.

Comment by Derdiver on June 25, 2014 at 5:30pm

Such an awesome post! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

Comment by Alasdair Murray on June 26, 2014 at 10:50am

You're welcome.

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