Are your recruitment ads falling short?

Reaching people where they live, work and play is imperative if you want your message to cut through, says one industry head.

Are your recruitment ads falling short?

Traditional recruitment ads are all too easily lost in the clutter – that’s the warning from one industry head who says HR could learn a lot from leading consumer brands.

“Reaching people where they live, work and play is imperative if you want your message to cut through,” says Joanna Baker, group general manager of ad agency Big Splash.

According to Baker, top brands and their innovative marketing teams have several effective strategies for standing out from the crowd – one of the most important, she says, is determining who their target audience is and the best way to reach them.

“You’ll see companies trying to stand out by placing their message in multiple media: from Facebook, to billboards, on radio and beyond,” says Baker. “Progressive HR teams are starting to think of their recruitment advertising strategy in the same way,” she adds.

But “Who do we want to attract?” and “Where are they looking?” aren’t the only questions marketers ask themselves when attempting to reach their audience – and Baker says HR professionals should go further too.

Here, Baker – an experienced marketer in the B2B space – has several tips adapted from consumer marketing which could help HR teams get the best out of their advertising spend in 2017.

1. Define your target audience

“There are five generations of jobseekers in the workforce at present and how they go about finding jobs is vastly different” says Baker.

“A one-size-fits-all approach is going to deliver you mediocre results at best, no results at worst,” she continues. “If you first understand who your target audience is, you can start to build an advertising campaign that is going to reach those people where they love, work and play.”

2. Post ads where your target audience will find them

Once HR has defined its target audience or jobseeker demographic, posting ads where they’re most likely to look is a basic but undeniably effective next step, says Baker.

“To state to obvious, baby boomers are less likely to be found on Instagram or Snapchat,” she says. “By comparison, GenZ aren’t often looking for jobs in newspapers.”

3. Job ads should excite and entice. Not bore people to tears.

“If your adverts read like a job description, listing bullet point after bullet point of criteria needed, stop it. Seriously,” says Baker. “Your job ad is just that – an ad – it should motivate someone to apply.”

4. Open channels for communication

The 30-question application form and “if they are interested enough they will apply” attitude has had its time but now it’s dead, claims Baker.

Research suggests up to 71 per cent of adults are open to new career opportunities, whether they are in a job or not – a compelling advert that finds them and makes it easy to start a conversation will pay dividends, says Baker.

5. Appearance is everything

The average person comes into contact with over 4,000 advertisements every day so getting yours to stand out could take some real work.

Baker suggests engaging a designer to create templates that appeal to your target audience while ensuring visual appeal and emotional impact are both included.

“People are drawn to bright sparkly things,” she says. “If your job ad is visually dull and lacks emotional content, it will be skipped over.”


Big Splash has recently published a report detailing which media delivered candidates to their clients in 2016.  Download it here.


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