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A Job Posting is a Brand Advertisement, Not a Requisition Form

FOR SALE:
Carbonated beverage. Contains water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel coloring, phoshoric acid, natural flavors and caffeine. May provide energizing refreshment to end user who has acquired a taste.

Mmmmm. Want to run out and buy a Coke? Of course not. Instead, Coke inspires you to "Have a Coke and a Smile," staying true to their core brand attribute of happiness.

But consider this very real ad, chosen at random:

WANTED:
Java developer. Must be able to assimilate quickly in aggressive continuous improvement and knowledge focused culture. Master's degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or related field or 3+ years of equivalent industry experiences. Solid Java development and design skills (research and design, development, testing, implementation, training, documentation, and support). Experience with healthcare related fields is a plus.

Would you like to come in to that job every day? Consider the way that an advertising agency, in this case CP+B, promotes their job for a technical lead:

"At CP+B we’re always striving to create innovative brand experiences for our clients. Our culture rewards initiative and doesn’t fear risk.

This spirit of invention extends to our point of view on technology. We are constantly searching for new ways to leverage emerging technologies to tell brand stories for our clients.

As a result, few other workplaces will expose you to a broader variety of technologies. We work in web, native mobile, social media, digital out-of-home, and physical computing. If you’re a learner, a hacker, a maker or just plain thirsty to do more we have a lot to offer you.

Come find out why CP+B is one of the greatest places on earth for a curious technologist."

Damn. I'd like to work there!

Your job posting is an inexpensive advertisement that may be seen by hundreds of thousands of people. Like a TV or print advertisement, your job posting should accomplish both short-term goals (drive sales/applications) and long-term goals (build brand awareness/affinity).

Before you post that job, ask yourself…does my job do the following?

  1. Inspire the right candidates to apply.
    Is the goal lots of applications, or the best applicants? If you were a talented developer who already had a good job, which of the above job descriptions might compel you to apply anyway?

  2. Improve performance of all recruiting efforts.
    Even though I’m not a developer, after reading the CP&B description, I’ve got a better sense of the innovation and excitement that the company can offer.  I’m more likely to follow the company or even periodically visit their site to see if they have openings.

  3. Build brand awareness and affinity.
    The majority of people who view a job description for a company may never apply to a job at that company. But, they may buy or influence purchase of that company's products or services. Why waste a brand impression?

Nexxt helps connect employers with candidates. Michael Rosciolo, Manager for Strategic Development at Nexxt, recently uncovered the very real effect that a job description can have on job performance. He was running similar campaigns for two clients in the same industry--similar media buy, similar creative. One campaign was outperforming the other by 33%. On a hunch, he looked at the job description. One was pretty good. The other was poor. Guess which campaign performed better?

Writing better job descriptions is the lowest hanging fruit for a recruiter. It doesn't cost more. It likely won't require a great deal more time or approvals. It can start simply. Forget the industry jargon. Eschew buzzwords. Just open with a paragraph that explains, in common English, why this is a great place to work if you're a [insert job title here].

Better yet, if possible, give the advertising or marketing department a call. Ask if they have time to help write some ads that won't come out of their budget.

Or, if you aren't sure how to start, send me a note (visit my portfolio on Nexxt and click on the message button). If you are promoting your job on Nexxt, we'd love to help.

 

Nexxt is a recruitment media company that uses today’s most effective marketing tactics to reach the full spectrum of talent – from active to passive, and everything in between. Learn more about hiring with Nexxt.

 

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