When I Saw Your Ad

Posted by on November 2, 2009

Getting Better Results with Your Classified Ads

“Your ad spoke to me.  I knew I was the right person for the job.

For a recent job opening at our radio stations we ran an ad on the radio and in the local newspaper that attracted 101 applications in five days. When narrowed down to fifteen for interviews, that was the most common comment.

The key to attracting the right people is how you write the employment ads. Are they written about the job or about the person that you are hoping to attract? We did an informal survey of recent classified ads and found 96% of them were about the job.  An ad stands out from the clutter and generates lots of interest when the ad is about them, not about the job you’re trying to fill.

Here’s the ad we ran:

Are you dependable and resourceful?  Do you have lots of energy, intuition, and initiative?  Are you persnickety for detail? Do you dress well, and have good computer skills?   CJCS/MIX FM is looking for a receptionist and traffic manager.  Not sure what that is, call us and we’ll explain.  We’re looking for a special someone who can greet people in person and on the phone with energy, and with a smile.  It’s a friendly work place, and if you have a sweet tooth, there are always lots of treats.  If you have what it takes call us 555-1234.

Let’s deconstruct what we did, so you can do it too in your next job search ad.

We wrote the ad to match the tone of the person we were seeking by using references to energy, well dressed, smile and friendly. By inference, we also defined ourselves and our workplace. We had so many people say that they would “love” to work with us, that it was almost embarrassing. Almost.

We asked questions to get people saying yes, that’s me. You’ll notice we asked the same thing three times…resourceful, intuition and initiative. Guess what we prize in our staff members? You’ll notice we didn’t explain the job, nor give the address or email contact. That was so the applicants had to show some initiative and figure out how to best apply for the job.

We didn’t want wallflowers, so we asked them to phone us. That showed a willingness to converse on the phone, which is part of the job as receptionist. If they are afraid to talk on the phone we’re not interested. It also gave our staff an opportunity to assess the applications. Our staff’s first impressions and observations are vitally important to the hiring process.

How many job ads have you seen looking for a “detail oriented” person? Ho hum. Boring. “Persnickety for detail” sure made them notice and hopefully smile too.

When you have a job opening that you need to fill, you can choose from 6 or 7 losers who view your job as a dead end time filler or you can choose from 100 applicants energized by the thought of working for you?

It’s more work for you, sifting through the resumes and interviewing, but the results are always more satisfying…and you’ll often find people for future job vacancies too. If you want to attract boring people, write classified ads about the job. But if you want to attract wonder workers, write about the person you want to attract and be persnickety in how you do it.

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