The job offer: a matter of attraction

Didier Dubois and Émilie Pelletier tell us, in their new book called How to Build a Catchy Job Offer, tips and tricks for making your job offer attractive in order to reach not only candidates that are actively searching but also employees that are not motivated to switch jobs.

From an abundance of labour to a shortage

In two decades, the job market has changed dramatically, which has obliged HR departments to adapt their recruitment methods and the content of their job offers. Remember that it was barely 20  years ago that unemployment reached 13%, recruiters made little effort to attract candidates – job offers were limited to reproducing the position – and application management systems were largely developed. Then came the time of shortages (which is likely to continue until 2021, with an unemployment rate of about 5.3%) not noticed immediately by SMEs (who don’t hire very often) and poorly accepted by large companies – required by their reputation – who thought they would be spared by this drop in applications. Recruiters then began to post in all directions, as Didier Dubois and Émilie Pelletier explain, “They received a lot of applications which often did not match the profile sought, hence the growth of placement agencies to unearth candidates who are semi-active (in a job, not completely satisfied and may occasionally seeking a change) or semi-passive (satisfied with their job but may be open to an offer presenting job conditions better then at present).

“The marketing approach: a necessity

Today, the recruiting process has to be integrated with the marketing dimension. The candidate must be attracted, otherwise how is a passive candidate to be attracted who is completely satisfied with their job, not seeking another job and only willing to look at an offer if it doesn’t have any drawbacks…  Segmentation and strategy are now part of the recruiter’s vocabulary. The recruiter must design job offers that will go out and “seasrch”for the candidate that will meet his needs. These needs are group by terms: short term needs related to the salary or proximity of the job, medium term needs deal more with the prestige of the position, teamwork and interesting tasks, and finally the candidate’s long term needs refers to the possibilities for advancement, mobility or even skills development. So to be effective the job offer must attract, inform and motivate the reader and finally invite him to take action.

AIMA, the key to success

Attracting the reader, often adept at skimming, will consist of presenting four essential pieces of information in the job offer: the company identifier (logo, possibly followed by a detail about the field of business (“ABC, construction experts”) or a tag line (“Laframboise & Assoc., Chartered Accountants for 40 years”), the job title which must be specific (“Executive Secretary”, “Sales Secretary”, “Medical Secretary”, “Secretary, Department of Finance”), the slogan summarizing the employer’s brand, which could be a promise, a question, a maxim such as “Your talent will drive the movement forward” (Desjardins) and finally a picture which will be rich in meaning (a close-up evoking the importance of the individual, persons moving referring to the dynamism of the organization, etc.).

Inform the reader, first of all about the company, since you can never assume that the reader knows the organization. The employer can discuss its strategy (growth, global presence, quality services, customer care), proximity of the workplace to the candidate’s home (list branches, mention public transit, main roads or even nearby services such as the cleaner, shops, etc.) and finally set out wage conditions (it might be interesting to mention the salary if it is higher than the market trans, otherwise the employer will be interested to talk about the benefits included in compensation).

Motivate the reader to be interested in the offer and become a candidate. First of all, change the offer’s vocabulary: don’t use the term “task” but “challenge”, which suggests self-transcendence, “role”, which refers to the “usefulness” of the person or “responsibility” to denote the confidence that the recruiter puts in his new employee. Similarly, prefer “profile sought”, “talent sought”, “competence sought” rather than “qualifications required” or “requirements”. Finally, find the right word that will resonate with a passive candidate by asking your employees to talk about their job, benefits, characteristics. You will then have the terminology to be used for your job offers. Finally, don’t hesitate to “describe the job” by referring to a typical day or even recounting the testimony of employees on the job (“I wanted to do this, do that, etc.”). The candidate will prefer to be identified with his peers, rather than trusting an offer that appears in an advertisement.

Action is the ultimate phase of the process whose objective is to incite the candidate to take action to find out more information from the employer (company website careers section, LinkedIn or Facebook employer page), to get a dialogue going by directing the candidate to a dynamic area such as social networks or inviting them to an event (e.g., Recruitment Day) and finally to facilitate sending the application by whatever means (mail, email, application management system, through LinkedIn, etc.).

The double question of where

Where should the information be inserted in the offer that will attract, inform, motivate and incite the candidate to action? They should be put in a very specific location. Imagine a Z superimposed on your advertisement and it becomes easy: information to attract the reader should be placed at the top horizontal bar of the Z; that related to informing to the left of the oblique bar; that related to motivating to the right of the oblique bar and finally information relating action will be placed at the bottom horizontal bar of the Z.

Where to broadcast the job offer? In addition to traditional media, which still exists (national and weekly newspapers, bus shelters, cinemas, etc.), Didier Dubois  and mile Émile Pelletier invited us to consider the wide variety of digital media: general job boards (Monster)and specialized job boards (Jobwings); job aggregators (Beljob, Indeed); professional orders that will give the opportunity to capture semi-active and semi-passive candidates, since their members visit these sites for advice, expertise, etc.; schools and universities to meet a clientele of young graduates and, finally, social media. Communicating job offers can also be done through company “ambassadors”, directly (through HR) or indirectly through an expert (the accountant through his professional community)  or through any other employee who could transmit the information to their family or friends (neutral distributor that the candidate trusts).

To take into account changes in the job market, recruiters must make use of marketing methods to pique the interest of readers and motivate them to take action so that the job offer locates the ideal candidate. 

You can get this book in French at Les Éditions Yvon Blais

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