I advertised a job like a human being and was blown away by the response. Here are 5 things all business owners should know.

The article below was published on Kochie’s Business Builders by Leanne Hasting.


You need to stand out from the pile to recruit the right candidate – especially in the current market. Leanne Hasting, founder of Leanna J Consulting, discovered that the best way to do that is to… be entirely, openly yourself.

I’ve written hundreds of job ads in my career and they usually follow a similar formula. But these days, in a candidate’s market, that formula isn’t working. Employers are feeling frustrated and desperate to rectify their burgeoning staffing shortages, but they still need to recruit the right candidate.

At a time when SEEK are reporting their highest number of job advertisements placed in their 23+ year history, standing out from the crowd is more important than ever. Candidates want more than just a list of duties and qualifications if they are investing their time in an application process.

So, what if we threw out the rule book entirely?

What if, instead, we advertised a job like a human being?

That’s exactly what I did two months ago.

The unexpected gets results

My experience recruiting for clients in my HR consulting company showed that finding my own ideal candidate in the current employment market wasn’t going to be easy – and it might not be quick. I needed help fast, and I knew I needed to do something unexpected.

What was unexpected though, was the response to my very non-traditional advertisement. My approach was met with a surprising enthusiasm from jobseekers who appreciated the injection of personality and the attention given to conveying what it might feel like to work for me and my company.

The results? When most advertisements are receiving historically low applications, mine claimed the attention of more than 60 interested parties. My shortlist was longer than many employers’ total list of applications. I’d clearly struck a chord.

So, if you’re looking to recruit the right candidate, here are the five things I learned.

1. In a sea of sameness, show your ideal candidate why they want to work for you

One jobseeker wrote in response to my advertisement to say how clearly it had articulated the heart and culture of my business. Which is exactly what I wanted to achieve. Injecting personality and showing some creative flair stood out to this jobseeker, and plenty of others. That’s because it wasn’t the same listing as all the others they’d read.

Personality not only made the ad more memorable, but it also showed the essence of my business at a time when people are craving authenticity.

2. Show how a position with your business will change your candidate’s life

A competitive market salary will no longer make you stand out: that should be a given. Instead, to win candidates, potential employers need to convey their value proposition from the very beginning. And that’s not just the monetary rewards you have on offer either. For many candidates, the non-monetary benefits are just as important.

In my example, I was offering the same money to similar positions available in the market. So what I think drew in the higher than average number of quality applications to my role was that there was no mistaking what it would feel like to work in my business. This gives jobseekers the opportunity to understand and imagine what life could be like in this role.

3. Show a bit more of you and they’ll show more of them

Like any human exchange, showing some of yourself encourages others to show you more of themselves, which creates more meaningful conversations. Gone are the days of stuffy corporate interviews where the employer fires off questions one after the other and then decides if the candidate will be offered the role.

These days, candidates want to interview employers just as much. By vulnerably sharing our stories, both parties gain more information to use in their decision-making, often resulting in better recruiting outcomes.

4. Don’t be shy to ask for exactly the person you want

Time is our most precious resource and spending it reading applications or even interviewing candidates who aren’t right for your team is not time well spent. A job advertisement should repel the type of candidates you don’t want and draw in those you do. So to recruit the right candidate, don’t be afraid to communicate the type of person (and not just the type of experience and skills) you are looking for and the type you aren’t!

There was no mistaking in my ad that my company is not a stuffy corporate consulting agency and candidates looking for that environment knew not to apply.

5. Flexibility might be king…but it’s a two-way street

Flexibility is a job ad buzzword right now, with candidates flocking towards roles that can fit within a lifestyle rather than the other way around. But in a candidate’s market, our desire to attract any candidates to apply at all can be our undoing by overcooking the flexibility we can offer.

The result? Candidates who view flexibility as a one-way street. While it is important to communicate the full value proposition, including your willingness to negotiate flexibility, sometimes being too prescriptive in this area is detrimental. Candidates become attracted to the flexibility element and not to the role itself or the value they can bring to your business.

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