5 tips for writing recruitment ads

Hiring can be tough. Here are some tips for writing ads that will attract the right people.

Looking for someone to join your corporate communications team? Maybe you need a graphic designer or a copywriter. Of course, the person you’re looking for must not only be talented and creative, but must also fit in with your team. Recruiting can be tough.

But there is a way to make the recruiting process easier—a way that uses your expert writing and strategic communication skills—crafting a well written, descriptive, and creative recruitment piece.

Here are some tips for writing recruitment copy.

Personalize it

This may seem obvious, but let people know that you are looking for a person and not an “asset.” In many job postings, it’s not clear if the company wants to hire a person or replace a part in the corporate machine. Avoid referring to people as “resources,” “human assets,” and “direct reports” in your copy.

Even better . . . personalize the copy. Describe the personality of the team and the company. Let candidates know who you are and what kind of work environment you provide, in addition to the requirements and tasks required in the position.

Use precise descriptors

Pay close attention to the words you use to describe the candidate’s characteristics. Are your descriptors precise and meaningful? Do you want someone who is industrious or energetic? Self-motivated or enterprising? Use a good thesaurus and choose your adjectives wisely.

Use the active voice and strong verbs

Passive voice is longer, less conversational, and drains the energy from your sentences.

Keep your sentences simple and active—subject, verb, object.

Another tip—jump straight to the verb. Rather than “this candidate will be responsible for,” say “this candidate will write advertising copy.” Rather than “you will have an opportunity to” say “you will lead a team of copywriters.” This keeps your copy crisp and to the point.

Avoid corporate speak

As you would in any press release or news article, avoid meaningless terms such as “state of the art,” “leading-edge,” or “take it to the next level.” Ditch jargon such as “deliverables” and “core competencies.” Cut lazy corporate verbs such as “leverage,” “implement,” “utilize,” “synergize,” and “disseminate.”

Let’s put these tips into practice. Take a look at the two examples below and think about which ad a candidate would be more likely to respond to.

Company A

For this position, the incumbent will liaise with clients and develop content for ads, websites, signage, collaterals, and proposals. The incumbent must also be able to develop and leverage key relationships with prospects. The qualified applicant must able to operate with a relatively high degree of independence, be innovative and a self-starter. Cross-divisional coordination with other professionals is required and is essential to success.

Company B

In this position, you will learn how to use real-time data to enhance and quickly release iterations of webpages to drive reader growth. You will actively contribute to the growth of our company by working with and learning from a team of developers, graphic designers, audio & visual experts, and some of the quirkiest copywriters and marketers you can find.

Company B wins the interest of the candidate.

Ragan.com readers . . . any other tips for writing recruitment copy?

Laura Hale Brockway is medical writer and editor from Austin, Texas. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.com.


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