Irresistible Job Advertising

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Irresistible Job Advertising

This is the second in our series of articles about hiring. Previous article: Stop Writing Job Specs

Once you’ve done a great job spec that’s going to help attract strong candidates to your vacancy, the next step is to sit back and wait for the CVs to come in, right? Probably not. You need to get the job spec out there and drum up interest from candidates. The three primary ways of doing this are passive (posting an advert on a job board and waiting for people to respond), active (searching for candidates on LinkedIn, or other networks and contacting them individually) or assisted (engaging a recruiter – or for more senior roles a head-hunter – to do a mixture of passive advertising and active searching for you, including searching in databases and networks to which you may not have access). Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Passive advertising – posting the job ad/spec on your website and a few job boards – is not much up-front effort, probably relatively little expense and, if you’ve posted on the right board (which is a big if), may generate a lot of applicants. Paradoxically though, that can be the downside, in that quantity doesn’t equate to quality. Most job boards let anyone apply for any job, and make it easy to do this with just a couple of clicks. Lots of candidates are not too choosy about what they apply for. You can find you’ve got everyone from out-of-work musicians to fast-food delivery drivers applying for your senior software developer roles, simply because your listing said you develop in C# and work in two-pizza teams [].

An active search comes at the problem from the other end. You search for people who might be a match for your role, then get in touch with them and invite – or rather attempt to persuade – them to apply for it. You usually have to pay some subscription fee to access a database of candidates. In some cases, eg as on LinkedIn and Stack Overflow, the data may include a lot of “passive candidates” (ie people not currently looking for a job but who might be persuaded to apply for one). In others, eg, every accessible profile is someone actively looking for a new role. Either way, you typically have to look through a fair few search results to find candidates you think might be a match. But even once you’ve found some people to approach, you won’t get much response from sending them all some generic email. It’s time-consuming, but what’s most effective, is to send a personalised email to each candidate, telling them what specific things on their profile make you believe your role would be a good match for them.

If passive advertising sounds too untargeted and active searching sounds like a full-time job, maybe you need some assistance. This is where recruiters come in. Recruiters use a mixture of advertising and searching (including on their own networks and databases that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to) to find candidates for you. Good recruiters find lots of plausible candidate, filter out the weaker ones, and get the stronger ones excited about applying (even if they weren’t originally looking for a job or, eg, would not normally have considered working in your industry). You’ll want to work closely with a small number of good recruiters to help them understand what you’re looking for and what the selling points of the role are.

The only tricky thing is finding a good recruiter – rather than some ruthless cut-throat who’ll throw a few random CVs at you before sidling off to double-glaze a second-hand car and then sell his grandmother to a glue factory. (Unfortunately large parts of the tech recruiting industry in the UK do have that image.) The best thing to do is to get a recommendation – or at least a reference. Good recruiters will either already come highly recommended from someone you trust or will be happy to put you in touch with several satisfied customers.

Next article in the series: Helping Recruiters Help You

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