The relentless advance of technology's great. Applicant tracking systems, more analytics than you can shake a stick at, the way we can effortlessly keep in touch with each other, and even make ‘friends’ out of strangers. The trouble is, it’s made the job posting process so simple that literally anyone can do it. Indeed, I’m sure, seeing so many awful job ads on a daily basis, that in some agencies a junior member of staff or someone working in a support role is entrusted to post the latest vacancies online.
The result? Dull and turgid job descriptions hastily cut and pasted by someone with no understanding of the client’s actual need. An advertisement that’s littered with spelling mistakes, including inexcusable errors like asking for “a good telephone manor” or stating right at the start of the ad that “our client are looking for…”. There are literally thousands of examples out there for all to see! The question is - why?
When it comes to advertising and marketing, whether it be a website, a TV or radio advertisement or the good old job post, people are driven, first and foremost, by their emotions. Just as you wouldn’t book a holiday at a hotel if the images made it look shabby and the write up was full of spelling mistakes, so good quality potential candidates won't give you more than a few seconds to grab their attention and interest them enough to read on. If all they come across is badly written or cut and pasted copy full of errors, the chances are they’ll soon move on to the next ad. Yes, you’ll still probably get inundated by irrelevant and poor applications and swear that it’s the medium you are using to advertise that’s at fault (“job boards are dying” etc.), but the reality is, if you don’t invest proper time, care and forethought in your communications, you’ll continue to get poor quality response, no matter what medium you use.
Put simply, every time you put a message out there, you're making a statement about your company. You're projecting an image. And, you're being judged - constantly. Not just by potential candidates who are likely to think that if you can’t get the basics right, why should they trust you with their career aspirations. No, it’s far worse than that. I’m talking about potential clients too – and possibly existing ones as well, keen to find out what sort of service they are actually getting for their money.
That's why I suggest that, if you’re not doing it already, you make sure that whenever you’re thinking of advertising, updating your website or sending out an ‘e-mailer’, you take the time to get the message right. Spelling mistakes, bad grammar, typos, and the lack of a cohesive, powerful or convincing message - all of these factors can make the difference between success and failure. I appreciate that some people are just not comfortable writing a job ad. Indeed, I’ve met lots of consultants who put off writing them to the very last minute or see it as so much of a chore that they hand the task over to someone else. But, at the end of the day, good quality candidates are your lifeblood – and they won’t respond to just any old advertisement. Cutting corners will only cut your success rate.
Your recruitment consultancy may well already recognise the importance of clear, consistent and alluring communications. Or maybe you need to take the time do a quick audit and identify the people in your office who have a flair for writing the ads and entrust them to be the champions of your advertising and marketing communications. Either way, in an ever more competitive recruitment marketplace, it pays to remember that first impressions really do count – and there’s a whole online world out there watching. Write what you yourself would want to read.