Technology and the numbers game is destroying creativity of thought.

While browsing Twitter recently I noticed an organisation that was offering an all in recruitment advertising service for less than £200 (about $335), so I got in touch. Not because I have any jobs to advertise, but because I was curious. Here's what they told me:

"We will write your advert ensuring it is fully key worded to show up in the relevant searches. We will then post your vacancy to 30+ job boards i.e. Jobsite, CV Library, Career Builder, Fish4Jobs, My Job Group & Trinity Mirror. We also include specialist, industry specific, regional and local job boards which are related to the role and location. We will monitor your advert throughout the full 28 days and give you free access to our applicant tracking system where you can manage all applications as soon as they apply"

A couple of things immediately sprang to mind. Firstly, How? How could they offer such a service so inexpensively? Surely if I approached the job boards they mentioned independently I'd pay at least what they are quoting for all of the above, just to put one job on one board? Secondly, the phrase "we will write your advert ensuring it is fully key worded to show up in the relevant searches" - is that what recruitment has come to? Loading your job ad with repetition so that it shows up in relevant searches?

I’ve been saying for a long while now that technology is destroying creativity. So many recruiters it seems, are under the impression that as long as you cut & paste a job description and fire it out to as many job boards as you can afford, that success is guaranteed. They then scratch their heads when the response they get in terms of quality is poor.

It also annoys me when I hear people saying that Facebook is the place to find people – after all it has over a billion members. Either that or Linkedin for similar reasons. It’s not about numbers. Never has been. It’s about targeting and attraction. When I worked at recruitment advertising agencies with a mix of direct employers and recruitment consltancies, we worried about two things. First, getting the message right i.e. putting out advertising with some kind of allure that not only got seen by the right people, but also those who maybe even weren’t actively looking for a job but were sufficiently intrigued by what the advertiser had to say that they felt compelled to apply (in fact those were the people we most wanted to reach). Second, and this was just as important, if not more so than the first – identifying the right media i.e. targeting very carefully where we advertised rather than firing it off scattergun style into several random publications.

If the modern day adage that the more people the reach the more likely you are to find the right person is true (and it’s not by the way) we would simply have put every job advertisement in the newspaper with the largest circulation. That would mean we’d have advertised in the UK in The Sun and the Daily Mirror and nowhere else. But, guess what? Those two newspapers spent years trying to build up successful recruitment sections but by and large failed because the make up of their readership was such that it just didn’t reach the right people. It was fine if you wanted a security guard or maybe seasonal sales staff, but anything else, forget it.

Current thinking amongst many in recruitment, however seems to be all about the numbers and the technology. And is it any wonder when you get offers like the one above knocking about? Buy it as cheap as possible and fire it out to as many job boards as you can. But, even if that approach made sense, how many of the ‘authors’ of those ads that are fired out to numerous job boards sit down and think to themselves “would I apply to this ad, or am I just going through the motions?" How many take the time to consider what would inspire them to respond to someone else’s ad?

People are human beings with emotions. Every buying decision in life is an emotive one. A house, a car, a holiday. Even which brand of beer or ice cream you favour has probably been influenced by advertising. So why not jobs?

Why did so many people kill the allure and the targeting and suddenly rely on a warped numbers game, a quick cut & paste, a few keywords and a few clicks of a button? It's clear to me that technology and the numbers game is destroying creativity of thought.

Views: 81

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

Comment by Keith Halperin on June 3, 2014 at 8:12pm

Thanks,  Alasdair.

"Technology and the numbers game is destroying creativity of thought."., ..and about time,  too.                 Creativity is BAD for recruiters- it'll get you fired.                                                                                                     We just need to know how to "move the meat/make the numbers," suck up to the boss,  and "all's right in God's Kingdom".

Cheers for Beers,

Keith

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