Job Board Journalist: ChatAds – The Online Recruitment Ad 3.0

Peter Weddle

Recruitment ads haven’t changed much since Gutenberg did his thing with the printing press. Oh sure, they’re a bit more candidate-friendly than they were in the days of print classifieds, but basically they provide the same information in the same format they’ve used for years. It’s all about Requirements and Responsibilities – content only an employer could love.

It’s been a rocky road for job postings over the past twenty-five years. In the beginning, employers simply repurposed classified ad copy online. They didn’t take advantage of the web’s expansive real estate to present more information to prospective candidates. Basically, these online recruitment ads 1.0 were about as informative as a brick.

As time passed, however, employers overcame that deficiency, only to tumble headlong into another. Instead of repurposing classifieds, they started repurposing position descriptions. They didn’t take advantage of the web’s ability to engage otherwise distracted readers. So basically, these online recruitment ads 2.0 were about as interesting as tarmac.

So where are we today? While at least some ads have abandoned the HR-speak of position descriptions, most remain fixated on Requirements and Responsibilities and a format that has the feel of an employee handbook. Oh sure, there might be an embedded video or photo, but the way the candidate is approached remains exactly the same as it’s always been – they’re forced to read paragraphs of impersonal prose that provide only the information employers think candidates should know.

Ten years ago, five years ago, even three years ago, that might have worked. In the current high stakes competition for top talent, however, it’s a formula for failure. Such ads have no chance of capturing the attention of A level performers, and that puts job boards at risk. What’s a better approach? Introduce your customers to the ChatAd – a prose conversation designed to sell even the most passive of prospects.

Different Information & a New Format

The ChatAd isn’t really an ad at all; it’s actually a pre-scripted conversation. It uses two strategies that are very different from that of traditional recruitment ads:
• First, it doesn’t focus on the information that employers want candidates to know, but instead answers the questions candidates have about an employment opportunity.
• And second, it doesn’t read like the HR-speak in an employee handbook, but instead is formatted as a conversation between the employer and the reader.
Let’s look at each of those differences in a bit more detail.

While some corporate legal departments will require a job posting to include Requirements and Responsibilities, the ChadAd introduces the opening to the reader with the information THEY want to know. In essence, the ad answers the five questions on the minds of most top candidates:
• What will I get to do?
• What will I get to learn?
• What will I get to accomplish?
• With whom will I get to work?
• How will I be recognized and rewarded?

The ChatAd engages the reader by helping them understand and appreciate the value of a job to them. Equally as important, it reinforces that engagement by presenting the information in a conversation-like format. It asks the reader a question, which sublimely forces them to stop and think about what they’ve been asked. That’s how most people are conditioned. When confronted with a question, they automatically search for an answer. That search, in turn, focuses the reader on the ad and on the answer to the question it provides.

For example, when addressing a top prospect’s interest in knowing With whom will I get to work, a ChatAd might include this question:

What kinds of colleagues do you most enjoy working with?

The reader will almost certainly pause and answer that question to themselves. Then, they will read on to see what the ad has to say. That might be:

If you’re looking for a chance to work with some of the best thought leaders in the business, this is the opportunity for you! Your coworkers are acknowledged experts in their fields. Collectively, they have over 75 years of experience and are wellknown for their willingness to share insights and ideas with their peers. In fact, many have contributed to white papers or presented at conferences.

Each of the answers to the five questions above is presented in this conversational format, which will establish a powerful connection with candidates and strengthen their resolve to wade through any of the more traditional content that follows. No less important, it brands an employer as an organization that thinks first about what candidates want and thus is likely to be a place where top talent can excel.

Food for thought,

TAprose and Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle are brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.

Mark Your Calendars! TAtech’s 2018 events include:

February 12-13, 2018 Scottsdale, Arizona USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on AI/Machine Learning in Talent Acquisition – the only conference totally focused on the capabilities and impact of AI/ML/NLP in recruitment. See you next year!

March 13-14, 2018 Dublin, Ireland: TAtechEurope 2018 – the premier event for recruitment advertising and technology thought & business leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. See you next year!

April 18-19, 2018 Las Vegas, Nevada USA: The TAtech Spring Congress & Meetup – a unique conference designed to maximize opportunities for B2B networking, trending topic discussions and the exploration of partnerships and business opportunities.

June 5-6, 2018 Minneapolis, Minnesota USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying – the only conference totally focused on the technology and applications of programmatic ad buying by both publishers and advertisers.

September 26-27, 2018 Bourbon Street New Orleans, Louisiana USA: The TAtech Fall Congress & World Job Board Forum – the Global Economic Forum of recruiting, this event brings together thought & business leaders from job boards and all other talent acquisition technology solutions companies around the world.

Showing 2 comments
  • Jonathan Duarte

    Really interesting article.
    Have you seen one of these ChatAds before?
    It’s a very interesting concept.
    My take is that Chat will become the default engagement that sits on top of job description landing pages.
    The chat will include both Live Chat, with live recruiters and Chatbot / Hybrid solutions.

    We’ve installed a couple of Live Chat and Chatbot/ Hybrid Web chat solutions for recruiting and clients are seeing 100% gains on candidate engagements and applies.

    -Jonathan Duarte

  • Rob Kelly

    Some very strategic food for thought, Peter. Thanks! Best, +r

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