Recruiting Ads That Work

2010 | Aug 11 in Recruiting , Home Page News , Leadership

By E-Myth Business Coach,

One of my clients, a chiropractor, recently decided it was time to hire an Administrative Assistant for his growing business. When it came time to announce the job, I asked him to send me the ad first so we could review what he’d come up with. Here’s what the ad said:

Administrative Assistant Wanted

Responsibilities include answering phones, scheduling appointments, typing medical reports,
data entry and filing.
Experience in a busy medical office is a plus.
$14 hourly.

So, will this ad work? Well, he’ll certainly get responses. In fact, in this day and age, he might get 100 responses.

But the question is: will it get the right responses?

He'll probably end up with applicants who are indeed capable of typing medical reports and so on, but there's nothing about this ad that speaks to the personality of his company or of his ideal candidate. Therefore, he’s going to have to spend far too much time and resources reading resumes and interviewing people to find the right employee. And time and resources mean spending money which means a hit to his bottom line.

Now, anyone who’s ever written a job description for the purpose of hiring a new employee knows that it’s no piece of cake. Even if you think you have the job function outlined pretty well, it can be challenging to get it right (especially if it’s your first hire and many of the responsibilities of the role are now owned by you.)

If at all possible, once you’ve made the decision to hire, take your time. Finding the right people to staff your expanding organization is very important. In fact, there’s no more important expenditure you can make than the time and money it takes to recruit the right people.

Use a Marketing Approach

At E-Myth we encourage our client’s to approach recruiting as a form of marketing and lead generation. Because finding the right employees for your company is like finding the right customers, the same principles apply to the recruiting process. You’ve got a product you want to sell (employment in your company) and you need to generate “leads” (applicants) that you can eventually convert into “customers” (new employees).

Before you post your job announcement, here are some things to consider:

  • What is the product you are selling? In other words, what is the idea behind your business? We like to call it “the game worth playing.” What makes your product (the company) unique? What makes it a game worth playing? What sets you apart from the competition in the eyes of potential employees?
  • What are the specifics of the job? Define the results you want the position to deliver and responsibilities expected of the position.
  • Who is the customer for this product? Who is the ideal candidate for this position? What personality traits will the right person have to fit into our company culture? You need to identify the perfect person for the job so that when they walk through the door, you’re ready. What personality are you looking for? Gregarious or introverted? Do you need somebody capable of doing many things, or somebody with laser-like focus?
  • Where are the customers (geographically)? Is this a telecommuting position? Is this an on site position? What’s the acceptable radius for an on site employee?
  • What message will attract them? If you’ve defined everything above, you should be able to determine what message will attract the ideal person you’re looking for.
  • What channel will best reach them? Where you place your ad will make a huge difference. Is it appropriate for Craig’s List, your local newspaper, LinkedIn? Again, your research into the ideal customer should inform where you can reach them best.

One of the ways to differentiate your recruitment ad is to have the ad carry the promise of emotional gratification. By giving your ads some emotional appeal, you will attract better candidates because not only will they be technically qualified (as you will ascertain in the process) but they will likely be nice people that desire to work with nice people! 

What would happen if my client replaced his ad with something like this?

Are you great with people?

We are seeking a top-notch Administrative Associate.  Are you professional, warm, tactful and just all around great with people?  Are you organized and able to concentrate on details that are important to customers and staff?  If so, and you’re ready to join our growing business, email your resume and salary requirements to 555/555.1212. We'd love to hear from you!
State Street Chiropractic
Body work for life!

You’ll notice that this ad is written more like a traditional marketing message. The emphasis is on the quality of the work, not just the skills and it’s more about personality and company culture than just the tasks associated with the position. It’s really about making an emotional connection with the right person.

In many companies, hiring is one of the most volatile and least effective processes in the business. Job descriptions are vague, managers have preconceived ideas about what kinds of people they need to hire (and don’t understand the interplay between skills and personal qualities), and the whole process of attracting and processing candidates is haphazard and inefficient. But like your lead generation process, your recruiting process can be broken out into component systems that fit together to create reliable results. Take the time to construct, quantify, and test them so you can fine-tune your recruiting efforts to your hiring needs whenever they arise. Remember, your people are a long-term investment, and you don’t want to make long-term commitments with short-term methods.


  1. .Iain C. says:

    Interesting article. This fits with our methodology in that companies should attract behaviours, not just skills/experience etc.

    I wrote this short blog a little while ago - 3 ways to hire the perfect candidate (http://blogs.holstgroup.co.uk/psychometric_blog/2009/12/17/psychometric-testing-is-for-life-not-just-for-recruitment/) that may help...

    It can also help to benchmark the behavioural requirements of a role - http://www.holstgroup.co.uk/role_benchmarking.php

    Submitted Aug 12, 2010 2:13 AM

  2. .david p. says:

    This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.


    Mba Business


    Submitted Aug 12, 2010 5:34 AM

  3. .Claudia S. says:

    just a note - one would fax to the ad in question as it is not possible to email to a phone #. Just a little unasked for quality control.

    Skills and experience play a part in any job, but since most people have the requisite computer skills in this day and age, it is more important to discern if their personality, work style, humor are a fit to one's company. For us even more so in our niche market as a religious book and gift store.


    Submitted Aug 12, 2010 1:50 PM

  4. .Dr.Mwesiga S. says:

    Wonderful insights!

    Recruiting the right people has been one of the very challenging issues in our Company, and its very true that skills and experience are not enough, ATTITUDE is the key success factor. 

    Submitted Aug 13, 2010 3:19 AM

  5. .Daniel G. says:

    Hi Great article, but how do you really know a candidate will match exactly this

    "Are you professional, warm, tactful and just all around great with people? "...

    Any ideas??

    Submitted Aug 13, 2010 1:16 PM

  6. .Iain C. says:


    There are two points here -

    1. Learned behaviours - 'tactful', 'professional' & 'warm'. 

    2. Innate behaviours - great with people.

    To measure 'learned behaviours' you need to look for past experience on their CV/resume and probe into the roles that may demonstrate being tactful, professional etc. i.e. "can you remember a difficult situation where you had to be diplomatic to solve the team dispute/win the sale/deal with a senior manager" etc.

    To measure innate behaviours you can use a psychometric assessment tool like The McQuaig System (http://www.holstgroup.co.uk/the_mcquaig_psychometric_system.php). It will measure whether someone is more likely to be a 'people person' or better with 'facts and figures' for example. It will then provide questions to understand how they use that particular strength.

    This is quite a good graph to explain what you should be assessing: http://blogs.holstgroup.co.uk/psychometric_blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/3-leveles-of-appraisal.jpg



    Submitted Aug 16, 2010 1:09 AM

  7. .Daniel G. says:

    Very helpful... Thanks

    Submitted Aug 20, 2010 7:30 AM

  8. .Angela H. says:

    I like the way this article is framed, in that we are trying to attract the right employee to help people not just earn $14 an hour

    Submitted Aug 22, 2010 5:35 AM

  9. .William T. says:

    Great insight. I like the clarity factor of the article with the focus being more about standards and quality.  I will be writing a job description soon and will apply the wisdom gleaned.

    Submitted Jan 1, 2011 10:31 AM

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