Computer says 'no'. Or, why technology is destroying creativity

Browsing Twitter recently I came across a pretty senior level role for a prominent UK organisation. Nothing unusual there. But, upon reading through the job advertisement it soon became apparent that no thought whatsoever had gone into its make-up. Indeed, this job post was over 200 lines long and consisted purely of dull cut and pasted content taken straight from a job description.

I decided to ask the advertiser why, as a leading light in their field, they saw fit to post such a cold, dull, boring, verbose and totally unappealing piece of text and suggested that it would be the equivalent of a leading vehicle breakdown recovery service driving around in a 20 year old jalopy.

Their response? "Our current CMS doesn't give us much flexibility with internal job ads".

So there you have it folks. The next time you see a soulless piece of copy purporting to be a job advertisement when in fact it has no allure or creativity about it, you'll know why - technology simply wouldn't let them be original or creative! Or maybe they simply chose not to put any thought into the message they were putting out. But, should that be the case? Or should advertisers perhaps start reclaiming the higher ground from technology and think more about how they actually address their target audience, as they used to before the cut, paste and click age came along? After all, whether you want to sell the most cars or holidays or attract the best people, you surely need to have some kind of 'sell' going on, not just state the cold dull facts, don't you?

Views: 305

Comment by Jerry Albright on January 17, 2011 at 10:30am

The world has changed. 


In my early days we would sit down with a piece of paper and "write the story" as my boss called it.  What's the company all about?  What exciting things would someone want to hear about?  Why would a qualified candidate consider looking into this?  Where are the advancement opportunities?  If we didn't know the complete picture - we had better not even THINK ABOUT talking to anyone about it.


Now so many are caught up in thinking they need to tweet or "update" their jobs.  Can't really get to deep with 140 characters.  Or even 120 characters since you're praying your network will RT it for you.


So what do we have now?  A nonstop stream of 15 word job ads.  Quite lame.  No consideration for the why/who/what.  Just a list of buzzwords crammed into a 2 sentence shout.


Failure will eat those who can't see beyond this.

Comment by FREYJA P. on January 18, 2011 at 12:33pm
Thank you Alasdair and Jerry! I am currently having a new website designed and have been watching current trends and thinking - has it really come to this? Do I really have to trash many of my core belief systems about our business? I believe in staying current but don't want to jump on every bandwagon that rolls through town, but was wondering if I had to. Thanks again for being to there to say "ain't necessarily so".
Comment by Alasdair Murray on January 18, 2011 at 1:03pm

To me it is just common sense, or a lack of it on the part of some recruiters/employers. I mean come on, your most valuable asset is your people and yet here was someone admitting that they couldn;t be creative, they couldn't sell the virtues of the organisation and the role properly because their content management system wouldn't let them? I won't tell you what my actual words were upon discovering this. Suffice to say 'unbelievable' was one of them :-)  Seriously, come on folks, sell the role, tell me how great it is to work there and what I'll be getting involved in when I join. Make me want to apply, not move on to the next dull and boring job description.


Now, for your delectation, here is a blog within a blog. A guide I wrote about how to approach the subject of writing recruitment advertisement copy. If just one person reads it and takes heed there will be one less awful job out there in web land - and that can only be a good thing, can't it?


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