What gets your attention when you, re browsing the cereal aisle in the supermarket? Thepictures and graphics emblazoned across the front of the boxes, right? What if thenutritional informationwas front and center, instead of Tony the Tiger encouraging you to buy Kellogg’s FrostedFlakes?Good job ads are like cereal boxes, and bad job ads resemble the nutritional information,said Amber Hurdle, an author, a brand expert and the CEO of Amber Hurdle Consulting.

Sherecentlypresented at the Society for Human Resource Management People Analytics conference inSeattle.You need to get people’s attention, be direct and keep in mind who it is you, re trying toattract, she said. This is how marketing works. The cereal’s nutritional information is like thebulleted list of duties in a job description. Poor job ads are also rife with generic languageand business clichés, or they, re unclear. Most people have an attention span of eightseconds—much too short to read and comprehend a bulleted list of job duties, she said.Instead, job ads must trigger job seekers’ emotions. Identify what it is about your companythat makes you unique and attractive.

What’s in it for them? Why should they care?Hurdle applies her velvet machete branding strategy to the jobs she advertises. The bladecuts to the chase, and the "velvet" wraps the information in a way that isappealing to theaudience.Every job post has a different audience. …We need to tailor each job ad to the ideal

employee we hope to attract, she said.Hurdle said the fundamentals of marketing—product, price, place, and promotion—create agreat framework for writing better job ads. HR needs to become BFFs with the marketingdepartment, she said. Product.Recruiters and hiring managers first need to know who the ideal candidate is beforecoming up with an ad. How do you know what you will sell to job seekers if you don'tknow who you areselling to? she asked. Marketing to people who have no interest in working for you or whowould be a bad fit is just a waste of time.Next, make sure you understand the position as fully as possible. Is the job really two orthree different jobs?

Hurdle asked. Are you trying to hire a unicorn? You have to have anhonestthe conversation about the job and benchmark it against industry peers.

Once you have the ideal candidate profile and the appropriate requirements for theposition, it’s time to craft the messaging and target the type of person you, re looking for.Hurdle recommended including input from a role-model employee when writing the jobpost. Ask him or her questions like How do we attract this person? What do you like mostabout thejob? What is most meaningful for you? What five to seven things about the job do you own?

Price.Make the effort to conduct market research on salary. Describe total rewards, includingbenefits and perks, in the ad, Hurdle said.Place.Be sure to talk up the attractions of the job’ location—the physical workplace, city, state orregion. If you offer a relocation package, say so, Hurdle said. The possibility of remote workis an important selling point. Promotion.Talent acquisition professionals should think about how search engines will read the jobpost, Hurdle said. The content should be simple and use terms that people use when theysearch for jobs. Don’t call your open job position a goddess or a ninja, she added. You aren’tlooking to attract bored cosplayers fresh out of babysitting college.

Use a call to action, such Apply Now, that links to your careers page.Hurdle advised developing a strategy to promote the job. Leverage the top-of-mind places—LinkedIn, job boards, industry trade sites—but expand those parameters to find newtalent pools you don’t normally reach, she said. Try participating in job fairs, hosting hiringevents or joining Facebook groups. Send your recruiters out networking," she said.Have them join meet-up groups where the candidates spend time. She also urgedrecruiters and hiring managers to keep another marketing concept in mind: The best way toacquire customers is through word of mouth. So use employee referral programs, andquery your own network.

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