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How does a business introduce itself through its’ job adverts?

Written by Aisling Murray, Partner at KS

Working with such a wide range of businesses as clients, from established MNC’s to start-ups awaiting funding rounds; the subjects of company culture, emotional intelligence and more are discussed often. The depth of feeling about culture, fit to culture, attitude, soft skills, trainability, agility, vision and so on can be very strong for some and more of a passing thought for others.

Yet, these nuances that make a company what it is, a team the way it is or a person act (or react) the way they do are the intangibles that matter. We all know it, but yet it is too often ignored at the very start of the recruitment process

For most of my clients when dealing with responses, it is as much about that job description or advert that they posted as it is about the ‘person’ that will work for them.

So why do so many adverts and talent acquisition strategies snub this at the outset?

How do you even go about attracting the right person for the role, not just the one who has skills and verifiable experience in the field required?

“My company has $ x turnover and sites everywhere and we are a leader in our field…” You get the gist.

“The successful candidate must have x years’ experience, be amazing at plate spinning, cat herding, working with no budget and be qualified in everything”

“The purpose of the role is to deliver X and to manage a plethora of stakeholders, motivate staff and keep shareholders happy, whilst driving strategic change and the candidate must always wear a matching pairs of socks!”


And so on…

The recruitment shopping-list is complete and all key words are accounted for.

And let’s face it… sometimes it makes for pretty uninspiring reading.

What always astounds me is how many people apply for these roles and respond to these requests. (Response numbers and quality of applicants is a-whole-nother post).

For some, your brand might do the selling where the advert doesn’t, but for most… You need to go out of your way to give people a reason to join you, or at the very least, to want to engage in dialogue with you about doing so.

When selling anything; there is always a very simple thought process… Who is my target audience and how do I appeal to them? How do I get them to take affirmative action in my favour? When someone reads your advert, they are asking themselves the question; ‘what’s in it for me?’ How do you show the ‘personality’ of your organisation and team?

Your advert may have given them a tiny glimmer of what to expect, but chances are it doesn’t say; “…and in return you will get… “or” personality traits we love to see are… and “people who like X will flourish in this role”


Who do you want and what do they get?

Great senior mentors? A chance to shine in a smaller enterprise? An opportunity to be challenged daily? Great rewards and benefits? An environment where extroverts will excel? A job they can do with their head down and have an easy life?

In my experience, the thing that makes candidates make a move is the fact that they can see a future in the new organisation, they can see a career path, they are inspired by the people who interviewed them, they can feel a passion for the cause (whatever that may be) and that they feel the culture will be right for them.

And this stage is simply to get them to apply; to convince then there is even a hint of these things.

Some will love the structure of an MNC and the clearly defined roles, targets and expectations; on the other hand it will float someone else’s boat that the structure is flat or that there is a real ‘blue ocean’ opportunity. For others it’s important that there is sensitivity to cultures, or that professional beliefs and practices match their own preferences, that an organisation can be pragmatic and agile when necessary; the list goes on. Some might get excitable when presented with flexible rather than generic benefits… Whatever it is, sing about it. Make it visual, make it concise and make it clear. If the candidate you want saw the same job advertised with your competitor (and your competitor for these skills, experience and personality may not be your competitor in the market), why should they choose you?

At this point a potential candidate may be browsing the aisles of opportunities, or not even looking at all, so make sure yours is the advert at the end of the aisle, with a major promo, that makes them believe it’s just what they want…

Writing a non-descript, uninspiring advert with only a list of requirements is the company version of sending a standard cover letter with a generic CV attached and we all know how everyone feels about that!

About the Author: Aisling has nearly 20 years’ recruitment experience and specialises in Executive and Senior Finance Roles, Career Coaching and Interview Training.

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