Why are job ads so boring?

businessman-asleep-at-computerI really feel sorry for job seekers.

Let me just be clear here.  How monotonous must it be to repeatedly read advertising copy that bleats on about yet another “fantastic opportunity to join a dynamic blue chip organisation” it’s all a bit trite really isn’t it?

Why has this or something equally mundane become the routine opening gambit of a business’ online candidate attraction strategy?

Remember AIDA?  (Attention, Interest, Decision, Action) The simple principle of marketing that recognises the hierarchy of effects in a person’s decision making process to buy or commit to something.  For recruiters, this exists in how we advertise but few really take the opportunity to grasp the concept of making advertising interesting to the candidate and engage with them.

If there’s no attention, how can there be action?

Moreover, the same recruiters will constantly complain that their response to advertising is not as good as it should be (or words to that effect).  Is it any wonder?!

Sorry (I’m not really) but Recruiters really need to change the record here and talk to candidates in a language they understand, (or don’t) and be different to engage with their target market.

Thinking outside the box has worked for me when advertising for technical IT people using Binary, Hexadecimal and Morse code and even got some national coverage with my random Yoda ad (which I though was a wind up when Kris Gilmartin first called me)

You can check out my take on this for yourself and let me know what you think, good or bad, I can take it.  But in the meantime, what’s wrong with jazzing it up a little and making the job seeker’s job search a little less robotic?

NB. Before anyone says it…I know, it’s a real shame I can’t employ the same ‘interesting principles’ to this blog…(beat you to it)


8 thoughts on “Why are job ads so boring?

  1. Your examples are amusing. But you could have shown them on this page (abbreviated perhaps) and explained your logic. I see the idea is interesting but I didn’t fully understand them.

    Also, you found one gimmick that you use repeatedly for the same kind of job. What about other kinds of jobs? To prove it can be done you have to show me.

    1. Hi Animal,

      I had originally tried to share the adverts on separate pages but there’s so much code it wasn’t practical, did the links work ok?

      Gimmick? Perhaps, but when an IT professional within the target market first sees the ad, they will more than likely have a natural curiosity to decode it and respond, so the candidate engagement with our brand is great.

      My aim here is to convey a level of empathy for the candidate and an understanding of what they want to achieve before packaging it up in a way that’s different to anyone else; so the candidate can clearly see, right at the outset that we differ from the competition.

      As for doing it for other sectors, of course it can be done. I’m not the guy to solve all recruitment advertising problems but with a little thought and creativity, why couldn’t we advertise differently? Perhaps not in code but at least let’s get away from the “auto-pilot ads” we often see today.

      Possibly a [sub]topic of conversation on your show somewhere down the line?


  2. Reblogged this on Recruitment Utopia and commented:
    About time someone came out and said this without pulling any punches. Well written, supported and informative and a must read for any recruiter (external / internal) or professional writing job adverts. This isn’t exclusive to recruiters, just check out some FTSE100 career pages for example.

  3. Hi Shaun, I entirely agree with all of your sentiments. Although I personally have seriously tried to differentiate when writing adverts and have often used actual blogging formats to spread the word and to subliminally post a job. I once wrote a article about blog titled ‘Not everyone wants to work for Apple, Facebook and Google do they?’. Towards the end I broke away from the main thread and wrote about a company that could very possibly be the Apple of the future and the opportunity to be in at the start and really make a name and some serious equity. It worked brilliantly and I had a significant number of positive comments.

    The best thing however was the fact that it suddenly created a significant spike in traffic to my clients website which was spotted by their IT people in Chicago. Great kudos and something they considered added value and really appreciated as an indirect benefit which complimented their own branding.

    Although I’m not sure I would have shared your thoughts really. The fact that the vast majority of recruiters lack any creativity, innovation or ability to differentiate is what makes the ones that can so attractive ; 0

    1. Hey Darren,

      Congratulations on the results of being different!

      I take your point on board regarding the lack of creativity, a fair point well made and in fact I made a similar point recently that the harder recruitment gets, the easier it will become for those who excel to differentiate.

      Point of the story? Stop moaning and clean up!

      Final point and a question if I may? How do you view the role of advertising in the future of recruitment?


      1. Hi Shaun,

        Wow what a question. In fact such a great question I am going to write a blog on it later this week. I will fire it across your bow for an initial preview. I don’t write as skillfully or as creatively as you, but tend to write quite forcefully.

        Thanks for the idea. I have some pretty radical thoughts on this subject.


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