I was helping a friend of mine last week, who was recruiting some retail staff for his business (yes it is possible for recruiters to be friends with people who do their own recruitment), and he was complaining at length about the quality of candidates responding to his ad. I told him that when I got back to the office I would take a look.

When I read his ad, the reason was blindingly clear – his entire ad was spent outlining, very clearly, exactly what he wanted in a person. There was no charm, no attraction, no courting. Just “you must be this”, and “you must be that”.

Stop telling.

He told me that he was tired of people applying who were outside his scope of requirements, so this time he thought he would make it crystal clear. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but you also have to ask yourself what’s in it for the candidate. If your answer to that question is “a job” – you’re in for a hell of a tough time. Any good candidate, regardless of what they do for a crust, has options, so you need to put yourself in your candidates’ shoes and ask yourself if you would apply to your own ad.

Start selling.

Time for money. If you don’t sell the benefits of working for your organisation, then all your candidate is going to see your job as, is time for money (and those types of candidates are not the ones you want). Outline the other reasons why someone would want to work for you (and if you can’t think of any then there’s your next piece of homework).

At the end of the day, it’s just marketing. If you were writing an ad for a car, you’d list all the reasons someone would love to own it, drive, how it would make them feel. Don’t think that just because it’s a job you don’t need to do the same thing – you do!

If you can’t think of the reasons someone would want to work for you, think harder – they’re there.