Is Your Recruiting Message Scaring Off Talent?

Stephen Willis

Stephen Willis

Stephen is the Marketing Assistant for Incremental Business. He is in charge of website development, content creation, social media campaigns, and client database development.
Stephen Willis

When it comes to selling to customers, companies and business owners are always making sure the message getting across to their customers is doing its job. Great messaging of course can make or break a sale. However, in terms of hiring, the world of job boards and Craigslist ads are riddled with very little information, poor language, over-zealous presentation, or a combination of all three. In the search for talent, the language of hiring is very often—downright awful. Instead of attracting the best, companies often scare off the best and end up hiring the worst. Here are a few recruiting language sins that you should avoid if you don’t want the best talent to run for the door.

1. Seeking a “Guru” of…

If you really want to attract great talent, never state that you are seeking a guru, grand wizard, ninja master, or some other ridiculous notion. There is an old adage that the more someone learns, the more they realize they don’t know anything. A truly talented individual will constantly be working to better their abilities. If your job ad is asking for an all knowing master of the field, you’re going to hear from people who think they know everything and scare off the real talent. A talented person is looking for a place they can grow and learn new talents.

On a personal note, I see this allot with social media positions. Social media is constantly changing and no one person is a “social media guru.”Since I consult and handle social media for businesses, yes I do know quite a bit about social media. But to say that I am a social media guru goes against the inevitable changing tide in social media that happens every day. The moment I become a guru of anything, is the moment I stop learning.

You don’t want to hire a fool who thinks they know it all, you want to hire someone who is truly talented that understands they can’t know it all.

2. Failing to Talk About Your Company

We’re not living in the 70’s anymore, this is the age of information and your job posting should reflect that. Too often job ads fail to talk about the company at all or are cryptic about the services they provide. A great job posting should give a brief explanation of what your company does and what makes it great. Talented individuals want to know their talents will be put to good use. A little detail about your company can go a long way. You want to make applicants excited about working for you so that they will bring out their best in their cover letter! Don’t try to oversell—this can be an even bigger turn off. Just be truthful. You are selling yourself to them just as much as they are selling themselves to you. Companies are starting to share more and more before the initial interview and it greatly improves the hiring process. If you’re not sharing information about your company to applicants—get with the times.

3. Treat your applicants with respect.

This should be obvious, but too often companies are downright disrespectful in their job ads. Do Not instruct a job applicant to do something specific like write, “I am your next superstar” at the top of their cover letter to “make sure they read the application.” Also, Do Not tell them that they won’t be considered without a cover letter. Talented people know better than not to include a cover letter and if they’ve written a good cover letter, they’ll have used your job ad to guide them. If you’re doing these things in your job postings—you are coming across like a jerk! When talent sees things like this, it is a huge turn off. Talented people don’t like to feel stupid and if you’re being that condescending before they even have the job, why in the world would they consider working for you?

Hiring the wrong people leads directly to employee turnover and employee turnover costs you money. “My Employees” has a great calculator on their website so you can see exactly how much your turnover is costing you. It is easy to look at the interview process and evaluate how to improve it. But if talent is passing your job ads by, you’re not even interviewing the right people to begin with. The days of finding cryptic job ads in the newspaper are over with. Applicants want to be able to research your company just as you can research them. A great job posting should intrigue applicants, not leave them wondering. Be genuine and honest in your job ads. Click-bate headlines and hyped-up dramatic language won’t help you find talent, it will just make your job look like a scam. Be empathetic with your job ads and put yourself in the applicant’s position. Ask yourself how an applicant will feel when reading it.

Looking for talent? Then it’s time to start considering what kind of first impression your job ad is leaving.