Recruiting and marketing have more in common than the average person might think. At their core, both functions aim to sell something to a target audience through persuasive communications and compelling experiences.
Enter recruitment marketing — a ‘new’ domain focused on how to attract, nurture and engage potential talent. This could be for the purpose of an immediate hire or to fill your pipeline with qualified candidates for the future.
Recruitment marketing involves not just knowing your hiring basics but learning to build compelling online content, create an employer branding narrative, measure success, manage a project and focus on relationships.
At the core of this discipline is copywriting, or the art of writing engaging content that is going to capture the interest of any reader. And this isn’t just your job descriptions, it’s your career website, blog posts and everything in between. In fact, the ‘marketing voice’ used by the company’s main product or service, should be extended and palpable in your recruitment marketing efforts. Your copy needs to resonate with your intended audience to attract the right talent. Your copy should tell a story.
What you say and how you say it are crucial for your employer brand and the type of company you want people to see you as.
Let’s run through a few ways you can start building compelling copy to attract top talent!
1. Create a style
Copywriting and tone of voice are crucial ways for you to tell a story to potential talent. What is important they feel about your company? Do you want to sound impersonal and professional? Or would you rather sound familiar and laidback?
There isn’t a clear cut best answer here, it’s about finding a tone that’s right for your company. Experimenting with pronouns like “we” or using shorthand language or emojis are great starting points.
Take a look at Bunq’s messaging during the applicant process for example. Their employer brand adopts the same tone as their overall platform, which is familiar, no nonsense and easy to read. By infusing the “get sh*t done” philosophy into their copy, they are selling their culture at every step of the applicant journey.
Compare this to another high growth startup Pipedrive, whose style is more factual than Bunq but still with approachable and concise language. Their social media content tends to use emojis to break the ice with the reader, and sets out information in simple chunks.
And lastly, we have Nike who pride themselves on a mission to make the world move. Their career pages and general content focus on this more aspirational narrative with short sentencing, bold statements and active vocabulary.
Each of these companies has defined a style or ‘voice’ for their content. This is brought to life by copy, which helps them tell a story to potential hires. Like visual branding, this may take some time for a new company to figure out, but can set you apart in the eyes of prospective employees.
2. Measure results
Content marketers typically measure the success of their content as a way to guide future strategy. The idea is simple: content that performs well should be replicated to boost conversion or uptake.
Recruiters should look at job descriptions or reach outs the same way. Learn what works and then double down on it. Whether it’s including a gif in your LinkedIn request, or using familiar language in a job description, be analytical in how you approach new copy. Throughout your screening process, you can even measure the quality of candidates you get from each copy approach, rather than simply the number of applicants.
3. Know your audience
In the same way marketeers tailor their campaigns to their target audience, who is your ideal candidate? Knowing your candidate audience allows you to write copy that will appeal to their values, their needs and their preferences.
Check out this interesting resource from Ben Gledhill, which walks you through how to create a candidate persona. This can be a useful exercise to help you copyright more successfully and continually improve your targeting.
4. Be concise
Let’s face the facts of an increasingly digital native generation.
According to Forbes, millennials have an average attention span of 12 seconds and Gen Xers of a mere 8 seconds. Whilst that doesn’t mean candidates won’t read your job descriptions or career websites fully, in a crowded marketplace you need to stand out fast.
The introduction of “TL;DR” into our daily lives is a proof of the need to make content as digestible as it is compelling. When writing recruiting content to share with your candidates, make sure it is structured for easy reading in terms of your paragraph divisions and sentence structures.
Experimenting with bold italics and underlines can be good ways to show emphasis where needed!
Another way to write skimmable copy is to include hooks throughout your text. Applying some of the learnings of ‘jab jab jab right hook’, make sure you include impactful sentences throughout any copy in order to capture or maintain your candidate’s fullest attention.
5. Always start with the user
You may read some advice for how to SEO optimise your job postings with keywords that will help its ranking. The reality is that your conversion rate will ultimately be driven by how much your job description resonates with your potential audience.
Always start with that end user in mind and write compelling copy that appeals to their interests. Think beyond material as to ‘why’ someone might love working at your company, then build natural language around that.