Get 2-3x more candidates using these proven techniques

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Get 2-3x more candidates using these proven techniques
Most job ads are dry and don’t feel personal.
Photo by the blowup on Unsplash

Now more than ever, we are in a war for great talent.

In our experience, only about 2-3% of applicants are the right fit, making volume of candidates a high priority.

The first challenge of hiring is compelling candidates to apply for your roles. Job ads must be looked at in the same light as standard customer-marketing - designed for a specific targeted audience that sells solutions to very real problems.

We hear time and time again from business owners that “there just aren’t that many great staff.” Whether or not this is true, has anyone ever considered the reverse. How many terrible companies are out there? If you can leverage this fact to your advantage, using the right messaging can help you draw candidates to your company.

Therefore, it is essential to attract as many applicants as possible. A minimum target of 50+ candidates are necessary to ensure you have enough to choose from. Obviously, this can be challenging for specific role types, especially specialist or scarce roles.

We found that by implementing these four techniques, you can increase your number of applicants by 2-3x based on Seek analytics.

Step One: Find out exactly what your ideal candidate wants

In job advertising, you are selling yourself to your ideal candidate. What do you have to offer them that is better than your competitors? What do your ideal candidates really want?

  1. Survey your existing staff and ask them specifically what they are attracted to in a role. You can include motivations like pay, self-development, flexibility, autonomy. List them all out and ask your staff to rank them in importance from 1 - 10. This should give you an idea of what is important to them.

  2. Do a job search for the title you are hiring for on the ad platforms you use. Look through what other jobs are out there and determine exactly what your competitors are offering their applicants. Take note of titles, benefits they are showcasing, and any key selling points they are using.

  3. Conduct some market research in your field on what is happening with the hiring market. What are staff demanding? What are they expecting?

Once you have this vital information, you must leverage it. Write an ad that makes you clearly stand out against the sea of other jobs by using your research.

Step Two: Write interesting job ad titles that make you stand out like a sore thumb

Be creative with ad titles so you gain as much interest as possible. Come up with new ways to describe the role in a way that makes people click based on the research you’ve conducted. Notice how the examples below showcase what candidates want such as new challenges, flexibility, or career development.

  • Associate Advisor role with great career path opportunities

  • Account Manager for start-up IT firm

  • Joinery Supervisor - tough role

  • Client Services Manager for growing financial firm

  • Draftsman’s Dream

  • E-Commerce Manager In-Training

  • Account Manager - mum returning to work

Look, even if they’re cheesy - who cares! These types of ad titles are miles away from the boring, standard “account manager” type ads. If you wanted to be really stand out, you could simply title it “Click Me.” The idea is to get people to the ad and let your ad copy take it from there.  

Step Three: Post multiple ads across multiple categories

One of our best kept secrets is writing multiple ads that go in different categories. Cross-placing ads can up your applicants by 100%.

The idea is to create different archetypes of people who could be successful in this role. A junior you could train up, an experienced person who can start straight away, someone with parallel qualifications in a completely different field you could convince to transfer over, etc.

Each archetype is a new opportunity for you to place an ad in a different category. If you know your role could be done by two types of people - promote two job ads written specifically for them in the categories, they would be looking in.

Here are some examples:

  • For a HR Manager in a medium construction company, we advertised in Retail Management as we theorised that retail managers are tough, able to handle a myriad of responsibilities, and experienced in HR duties.

  • For an online tutor we posted ads in performing arts - for those who have worked with kids.

  • For an E-commerce manager we posted in marketing, sales, and management.

We post in at least 3x categories for each role, at times posting in 7. Of course, you are limited with the type of role you are hiring for but try to be as creative as possible.

Step Four: Structure the ad so they cannot stop reading

Most job ads are dry and don’t feel personal. Change up the typical style of language so the reader can’t help but want to know more.

Speak directly to your ideal candidate with impactful intros that compel them to keep reading.

Example: “You are so good at account management that you don’t need to look for a job for the rest of your life.... But you have been wondering if there is an agency that could offer you a more diverse, challenging and engaging portfolio of clients for you to manage.”

Highlight the challenges not the benefits (truly productive staff love a challenge).

Example: “This is a new department and one that requires you to be thrown in the deep end. It is so important, and you will be taking off a huge workload from the Ops Manager.”

Use the research you’ve done to speak to their needs.

Example: “You want to be a part of a team where your opinion matters. Where it is not hierarchical and where they (genuinely) value your work life balance.”

Using the above techniques can help you get 2-3x more applicants, but we also consistently have great candidates who apply and provide feedback. Often they say, “I was just browsing but then saw this ad and had to apply,” or “this job is the only one I applied for,” or “It sounded like such a challenge I had to apply.”

Marnie Jones is Founder of Talent X.

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