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How Not to Write a Job Ad

Although job advertising boards are no longer the most reliable source of finding top talent there are still gold nuggets to be found but it all depends on how your advert stands out against the hundred other ads of your competitors or recruitment companies that are looking to get the attention of the same type of candidate.

Today we came across one advert that is written by a small consulting firm and we thought this would be a good opportunity to provide some pointers on how a badly written advert won’t attract candidates and may also damage your reputation.

Some of the statements on this advert read:

We only hire the best” ………”we care for our people so they voted us to be one of the best places to work ……

These cliché statements go on and on through the advert and the fact is that, this is one of the many companies that advertise in this way.

When advertising, your brand is perhaps one of the key factors as a selling point. However it is specificity that builds credibility. For example “Who voted you as one of the best places to work?” or, “Everyone wants to hire the best, what makes you any different?”

Some of the main pointers to stay away from in order to enhance the way your adverts are viewed are as following:

  • If your company is not really the best place to work for and you make it up, it would be the easiest way to tell the candidate that you are giving empty promises right off the bat. Candidates are smart enough to pick up on these very quickly;
  • Stay away from cliché words, be specific and to the point;
  • If you are advertising to get white collar corporate candidates, be formal on your advert. Don’t use casual language such as “Oh, and you want a work/life balance and to work with good people...(that's very important!)....”. No candidate will think you are a fun place to work at because your adverts are written in that way;
  • Use different fonts and headings only when needed. If the advert is not structured it is not going to leave a good impression of your company;
  • Don’t use generic language or a combination of skills that have little to do with each other hoping you will manage to find a candidate that has everything. Prioritize the qualities that are important to you and only mention those as requirement.

We will be writing another brief about how to write successful adverts. Please stay tuned.


Why Video Campaigns Can Backfire

It’s hard not to notice that more and more companies are using short-video clips to showcase their environment on seek and youtube in the hope of enticing the top candidates to apply.

I strongly agree that technology can be used to facilitate the process of attracting top-talent however if not done properly the results can be less than impressive both short-term and long-term. If companies can’t get it right, they are far better off to stay away.

As an example I recently viewed a short-clip on seek for a company that was trying to provide a picture of what it is like to work there. A professional IT company had portrayed it’s employees like a drunken rock-band with a day job and the advert was supposed to attract a senior executive who managed C-level clients. The question is would a polished, well-paid senior executive apply for that role after seeing the video?

Here is how a video campaign can work against a company:

Too much information too soon

When attracting good employees, you need to first ascertain if their personality will fit in. By displaying everything about your company you are answering a number of cultural questions for the candidate that should have otherwise been answered by the candidate in the interview.

False Picture

Short-videos cannot portray the entire picture. What if a candidate does not like certain aspects of your company that are shown in the video but will absolutely love other factors that are not displayed in the video? Perhaps they could have rang you or met you in person for a longer conversation?


Vidoes such as the one mentioned earlier, display very young people who love to eat and drink and perhaps enjoy a karaoke session. Does it really fit to attract a well-polished middle-aged executive? Are they trying to indirectly say we only hire young people that like to party? These are the questions that will be running through the candidate’s mind.

Impressions will last a long time

Companies constantly change the way they conduct themselves internally and externally. Once you put up a video out there, unless if you are prepared to constantly change the video and ensure your audience sees your changes, you have established an impression. This impression will then be very hard to erase from the minds of potential candidates who would have otherwise applied in months or years ahead. They will remember the little video they watched.


It is fantastic to have a flashy video to attract good people. The most important question is can you commit to it or are you going to overpromise and under-deliver? It is not uncommon for good candidates who ring us and tell us they were promised many things that never happened and are now looking to make a move.

If a picture is worth a thousand words imagine how valuable a good video-clip can be. It can create a fancy impression of your company in the prospective candidates mind. It can almost make them day-dream about the job. However if a hyped up candidate joins the company and realizes those flashy videos have little or nothing to do with the real work you will soon find yourself back in square one.

The golden rule of corporate videos is, if you can’t get it right, stick to the basics. You will be far better off and have saved yourself some unnecessary cost in the process.