Do Job Adverts Attract and Inform?
We, Company XYZ, are looking for an ABC type person (always looking for that one special person). You need to have 1, 2, 3 qualifications and x years experience, and of course there will be a paragraph or 2 about the job itself. Remuneration will be "market conforming" and secondary benefits will be "good". Its all there as text; the same font, the same look, and if you are lucky, you get a photo.
This formulaic cookie cutter approach to the wording and even look of job ads is typical. Does it excite you? Does it grab your interest and intrigue you? The curious thing is that its an ad, short for advertisement; think of marketing. Where else do you see a big chunk of plain text used in marketing?
How would this advert trigger you, a potential candidate, to look into this company? Just because the pay is supposedly good? Nowadays pay isn't the only motivator especially under the younger generations, who are much more mobile in the workforce to begin with and tend to collect Portfolio CV's. The position title or company may spark interest of course. The “attractiveness” is most likely in some statement in the job ad: pay, benefits, duties, job location. Its unlikely due to the visual appeal of the ad!
Unemployment figures are low at the moment, and companies can struggle to find the right people, so why is it that your basic job advert is still nothing more than an ad in a newspaper, albeit a digital one? By the way, it was the same back in 2009 when unemployment was much higher. In fact, look back 20 years and you see that job ads essentially haven’t changed.
Perhaps this type of advertising is fine and works well. Remember what people say; don’t fix something that isn’t broken. But finding the right person can still be difficult and the growth of recruitment agencies indicates that companies need and are willing to pay for help.
Looking at Seek job adverts for example, it seems that the majority of companies have given up managing the hiring process themselves and invested in recruitment companies to do it for them. That doesn’t seem to have changed the look and content of job ads much though.
From a customers perspective, namely potential candidates, are current job ads giving them adequate information to make an effective decision on the job suitability? Should they apply or should they ignore? The typical ad doesn't seem to give them that information and nor does the much referred job description. So where are they supposed to get that information from? The assumption is that its all out there if the candidate is keen to find out; and doesn’t mind snooping around a bit, or a lot. But why should a candidate spend the time and effort to find extra information? Maybe they are desperate for a job or more likely, they wont bother with the effort.
If the information readily available appears unappealing and vague, it is likely to lead to inaccurate assumptions about the business, the job, and the people working there. That will either turn the right people off or the wrong people on. Bad news for HR, the company in question and the candidates.
So can job ads be both attractive and informative? We will discuss this in the next article.