I’m reading a great new book about winning political fights — it’s called The Fixer by Bradley Tusk. It reminded me of a powerful marketing tool (“self-interest”) to win over candidates through job ads.
What’s a job candidate’s top self-interest? You could do worse than to use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I’ve transposed the normal Maslow Needs into this Candidate Needs pyramid:
Starting with the bottom of the pyramid, here are some ideas of things to put in your job ads that might appeal to a candidate’s self-interest:
Basic Needs (Security & Survival) — Job Ad Tips
Let’s start at the bottom of the pyramid. Here we need to meet a candidate’s basic needs (security & survival). Some tips:
- Compensation — Mention comp. in your job ad or at least point to salary ranges from third-parties (Glassdoor, Payscale, etc.). This is what candidates look at first in a job ad (see this job advertisement heatmap).
- List of benefits — Did you know that the apply rate goes up from 1% to 5% for each additional benefit you list in your job ad (from 7.4% apply rate with zero benefits to 22.5% apply rate for 4+ benefits) (see this Appcast study)
- Office location — A good night’s rest is tough if there’s a long commute. Explain exactly where your office is and you might even consider including a map with easy directions (right on the job ad!)
- Health — Mention details of your health insurance directly in your job ad (or clearly link off to it)
- Relocation — If you’ll invest in relocating your candidate, mention it in your job ad.
Social Needs (Love and Belonging) — Job Ad Tips
Next we move to the middle of the pyramid. These “social needs” are about the candidate feeling loved and belonging to something. Some tips:
- Who does the candidate report to? Give them a hint of who their boss is.
- What else does the team look like? Does it have a name? Roughly what size is it?
- What’s a day in the life of the person in this role? Give examples and include a fun one (e.g. “Happy Hours on early Fridays”)
- Diversity & Inclusion — Consider including an awesome diversity statement like one of these.
- If you’re a family-friendly biz (shouldn’t we all be!?), then mention “family” in your job ad (e.g. in the Benefits or About Us sections).
- Mission Statement — what’s your company or team’s mission? Many candidates want to be part of a movement. Facebook opens up many of their job ads with this: “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
Esteem & Self-Actualization — Job Ad Tips
Finally, we’re at the top of the funnel. Here it’s all about the candidate’s need for high self-esteem and reaching their higher purpose. Some tips:
- Personal development — Do you provide training to help your employees gain mastery over skills? Mention it.
- What role could the candidate get promoted to? Does your company have a story of an entry-level person reaching the leadership level? Mention it!
- Are there any big-world problems your organization is solving — talk about it.
- Emphasize the freedom that success at your company provides your employees.
- The U.S. Army’s motto nails the self-actualization category with this powerful motto: “Be all you can be.”
A good rule of thumb is that a job ad should have at least 2 items from each of the 3 buckets above.
Why I wrote this?
The team and I here at Ongig focus our entire business on building software to create the best job ads. And effective job ads need to appeal to the candidate’s self-interest needs!
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