Do job seekers really not care any more?

Some of you will be aware that I am not shy of bemoaning the fact that there are so many poor job posts littering the online space. You only have to visit a job board and pick a few ads at random to find cut & pasted job descriptions, phrases like "Our client are looking", hideous examples of awful grammar and a whole load of posts that just have no kind of sell or allure about them at all. And yet....   

I tweeted this earlier today: "Amazes me how some recruiters spend loads on getting a shiny new, all singing website then destroy their street cred with awful job content". It was in light of the fact that I had been looking at a recruiter website that had recently been given a make over and now came with all the bells and whistles and a big sell up front about how wonderful they are. I then went and had a look at their job content and found exactly the same sort of examples that I mentioned above, hence the tweet.

A few minutes later I got a response to my tweet that asked "Do you think job seekers care or just copywriters who get exercised about it?" and it made me wonder - do job seekers REALLY not care about how a job post is displayed? Are they unconcerned about bad spelling? Do bullet pointed lists plucked directly from a job description ring their bell enough to make them want to apply? Because if that's the case, I, and many more people in the recruitment marketing space like me, have been deluding themselves for years that somehow people do actually care about how a job is marketed. I believe they want to feel like they are being spoken to personally when they read a job ad. They want to like the sound of what the company advertising is looking for. They want to be able to see what they are reading as a potentially lucrative career move. They want to be slightly excited at the thought of working with these people they are reading about. Because, if that's not the case, we may as well chuck any old nonsense out there in the future and call it a job post.

But then again, imagine if you will, if the people who advertise cars, holidays, booze, exotic food items, luxury goods etc. had the same attitude. What if Ford just published a picture of a manual of a car with the caption "Buy it" and called it a tv ad? Would that work? Of course not. So what is it that makes recruitment advertising any different? After all, moving jobs is pretty high up on the list of life decisions. You're not buying a can of beans or a bar of chocolate, you're investing in your future. And is that future really worth so little that how an employer presents themselves to you has little or no effect on your decision to apply? Can it really be? 

I welcome your comments.

Views: 606

Comment by Austin Fraser Ltd on July 15, 2015 at 6:46am

Really interesting point Alasdair. This is something that we are currently looking at a lot more. We encourage both our internal and external recruiters to go out of their way to cover the points you discussed to captivate jobseekers. Even on platforms such as LinkedIn, we have seen an increase in job applications/interest to ads that aren't automated. 

I will always stick by the thought that quality job descriptions will bring in quality candidates...but maybe I'm just an exercised copywriter!

-Charlotte, AF

Comment by Eric Putkonen on July 21, 2015 at 1:58pm

Yes, job seekers care.  I have seen several articles, but I had to find one to share on Google and found -

"In a survey of over 2,000 job seekers, three quarters say they regularly see jargon or acronyms while searching for jobs and over half (57%) say this puts them off applying."

"Unclear and nonsensical job titles are also a problem for job seekers with 40% of respondents regularly seeing job titles they don't understand and almost two thirds (64%) saying this puts them off applying for the job."

But if you simply reverse it, you can also get the point.  If you get a resume with poor grammar and spelling mistakes...would you interview them for a job?  If not, why would you think the best and brightest potential applicants would not care about the job posts?

~ Eric Putkonen


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