Why your job ad puts people off

So I have looked at a lot of job ads

I’ve applied for a lot and I have recruited a lot and I’ve come to a conclusion – most job ads stink.

It’s not that they are inherently wrong, it’s just that they don’t really do what you want them to do.

Job ads are the David Cameron/Tony Blair/Nick Clegg of the recruitment world.

They are designed to appeal to as many people as possible without offending anyone.

Now you may say that this is exactly what you want. After all, you want as many people as possible to be interested in your job ad don’t you?

Pah! I say.

Let me give you a choice.

You can have 500 CVs through the door of roughly similar candidates who are all probably pretty good at what they do and could all probably do your job and would probably work for the money your paying.

Or you could have one CV from an awesome candidate who gets exactly what you are trying to achieve and is ready to buy into the mission even though you’re not paying as much as Goldman Sachs.

Which would you take?

In the first instance, you have to sift through 500 CVs, interview loads of candidates that you probably like a bit and you think could probably perform.

You take them on, they do a decent job, then nine months down the line they get a better offer and leave.

They never bought into you and they never bought into your mission.

In the second you get a committed, engaged and enthusiastic person right from the start.

So here’s a couple of job ads

Job ad 1

A prestigious client based in the area is in the market for a new Head of Finance. Reporting directly into the MD, you will be fully responsible for the production of all the accounts and for the hiring, training and development of its team … currently standing at 9 but with potential for growth.
The principal functions of the role will include: –
– Developing business strategies
– Implementing proper controls
– Preparing the annual budgetary plan
– Identify potential financial risks
The ideal candidate will be an ACA/ACCA Qualified candidate with at least 3 years experience within a Service environment at least at the Finance Manager level.
Please apply in the first instance to and I’ll consider your application accordingly.

Inspired? Interested?

What I found remarkable about this is that it’s all about what the candidate is going to give TO THE COMPANY.

There’s nothing about the company mission, nothing about the culture, nothing about what the candidate will get back and nothing about where they fit in.

Oh and by the way. If you are recruiting someone to run a team of 9 then you need a leader not someone who’s good at budgeting.

Compare it to this one

Job ad 2

5 years ago my best friend Luke and I had a dream to set up our own brewery.
We wanted to brew amazing beers and we wanted to do it in our home town.
We had no money, no premises and no staff but we did have this dream
5 years on and things are going really well but we’re scared.
We are so big now that we need someone to handle the finances for us. We know so little about accounting that we don’t even know what interview questions to ask.
Can you help?

The difference is that the second ad is the one that acts as a filter.

It removes all the people that would have applied but they don’t like the idea of working for a small company, a brewery or somewhere that is a bit in chaos.

It enthuses people who love the idea of making a difference, who love to be challenged and who love chaos.

The first job ad gets mercenaries the second gets disciples.

The problem is that as a society we would see the first ad as a success because more people would apply.

But they’d be the wrong people.

Leave a Reply