Are You Guilty of Recruitment Badvertising?

By Emily Ceskavich

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Although the channels and methods have changed over the years, advertising continues to play a major role in recruitment. Recently, I saw a tweet about “badvertising” (in the context of being a play on words referring to poorly planned advertising, although the ad may not be intentionally misleading) and it got me thinking about the ways recruiters badvertise their jobs and miss out on candidates that could have been great fits because of it.

So, what does this type of badvertising look like in recruitment? And what can recruiters and employers do to avoid it? 


Recruitment Badvertising casts a wide net, but catches the wrong fish. (Click to tweet)

Think about it. Do you really want to hire someone who saw a generic job posting and thought, “I have no idea what I’d be doing, or if I’d even be interested, but it looks like I meet the requirements, so if they pay more, I’ll try it out”? Even amidst the War for Talent, that thought process is still more common than we'd like to acknowledge.

There is nothing wrong with saving some key points about the job until you speak with the candidate. Saving the perks, salary, and benefits until later the interview process can be effective when closing a candidate who may be considering other options until you swayed their decision with new information. but take care to avoid being too generic when advertising the position.

From a targeting standpoint, posting specialist positions to general job boards can fall into this category as well. It depends on the position and industry, but it's a safe bet that a data scientist is spending more time on Dice during their job search than CareerBuilder.


Recruitment Badvertising teaches the wrong message. (Click to tweet)

Like Oprah says, “You teach people how to treat you.” When you advertise as a recruiter, you are teaching candidates how to treat you--or your client--as a potential employer. If you sell too hard and post pixelated images because you didn’t have an appropriately sized logo on hand, then you run the risk of candidates treating your business like a scam and not taking the job seriously as a result. Posting lengthy job descriptions could peg you as an employer with out-of-date business practices. Bombarding candidates’ emails with job alerts for positions they are clearly not a good match for could earn your business an eternal place in their spam folder.

You don’t want to be in the spam folder. No recruiter wants to be in the spam folder.

However, if you engage candidates on social media through various social recruiting activities that provide value for them, then they’ll treat you like an employer that is knowledgeable about their field, attentive to its talent, and has a forward-thinking mindset as a business. Because of their experience with your company through your employer brand, they’ll have reason to believe it, too.


Recruitment Badvertising stops at the surface. (Click to tweet)

It’s understandable that the most powerful employer brands are perceived as having great marketing teams (with big budgets) and unusually creative recruiters. This may be true for some companies, but the factors that determine how successful an employer will be at connecting with and recruiting talent into their organization can be achieved by smaller businesses as well:

1) how well they genuinely understand the person they are speaking to (They don’t use limited knowledge or generalizations as the basis for their recruitment marketing)

2) how they connect the employment opportunity to something that drives that person on a meaningful level (They don’t assume the candidate will make that connection on their own, having just learned about the job)

3) the ability to communicate it in a way that motivates and compels them to take action. (They put effort and time into learning how to best communicate with prospective candidates. Job announcements from these recruiters read more like the start of a conversation than run-of-the-mill job alerts)

Now, these are not easy skills to learn or master. It's going to take an investment of time, resources, and effort. There will be periods of trial-and-error before you find what works for your market as well as lots of practice before your execution is consistent. However, effective recruitment advertising that accurately communicates your employer brand is very much achieveable. One tip I've found useful is to study how businesses outside of your industry--that target the same demographic--advertise to and engage their prospects. 



If this post has you wondering if you’re badvertising your employer brand, we at Social-Hire would be happy to review your current social profiles and social recruiting strategy. Book a call today! 

For recruitment marketing insights, news, and thoughts, I can be found on Twitter @EmilyCeskavich and LinkedIn.



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