Back in the day, just before and during the early days of the Internet, I used to write job copy. I generated about 90% of my fees by selling this to my clients.

I’d produce a great display ad - probably not always as great as what the client would get from a decent creative ad agency, but miles better than anything produced by any other recruitment agency.

But mine were free – paid for out of the retained fee the client would pay me.

Years later, as fame spread about my copywriting prowess (amongst about 5 of my friends), I’d occasionally get asked to write a job ad – often for as little money as to make driving 200 miles for a job interview flipping burgers on minimum wage sound appealing.

Here’s one such phone conversation, as best as I can remember it, with a friend that we’ll call ‘John’:

John: “Mitch, we need an ad. We’re looking for some recruiters to join our team. Can you do us something?”

Me: “Maybe. Have you got some kind of job description?”

John: “No, that’s partly why we want you to write the ad for us.”

Me: “But I don’t know what it’s like to be a recruiter at your company?”

John: “It doesn’t matter, all recruiter jobs are the same anyway.”

Me: “True. But I need to find out more about your business if I’m going to find a way of selling you to the right people.”

John: “Everything you need to know is on our website. Can you get something over this afternoon?”

Me: “Sure, no problem. All I have to do is hit ‘F5’ on my computer to get this done anyway.”

John: “Are you being sarcastic?”

Me: “No, not at all. Producing good job ads from fuck-all information is really easy. I am just a job ad jukebox afterall.”

John: *click*

I used to write job ads.

If you really do want to attract better candidates for a particularly important job, hire a copywriter.

And pay them what they ask for.


Views: 391

Comment by Ken Forrester on October 28, 2014 at 8:27am

Thank you Mitch.  Reading your piece made me think of the movie Prometheus.  The only reason why I saw that movie was because of the trailer. It was edgy and it made me want to see more.

Your title and the picture of the old typewriter made me want to read your post. And that is what a good job description should do-make the target applicants want to read it, yes?

After reading your post, I learned that you are a savvy retained recruiter who knows what he is talking about.  But I already knew that about you, so what was it that you really want your readers/followers/students/fans/connections to know?   


Comment by Mitch Sullivan on October 28, 2014 at 11:35am

Thanks for the generous comment, Ken.

In answer to your question, it's to encourage more recruiters to use copywriters.

PS...I used to write job ads.  These days I use copywriters.

Comment by Tim Spagnola on October 29, 2014 at 5:51pm

I second what Ken said!


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