Recruitment tricks: How to write great recruitment ads and get your budget working harder.

Making massive impact is really, really easy if you’ve got heaps of money to throw at your sourcing – carpet the job-boards, use video game characters to attract targets, create clever viral video campaigns with one of the world’s top ad agencies.

But for most of us over here in real life, we have to generate the same impact with a fraction of the budget.

So what do you do?

Stop trying to generate big buzz, and start focusing on the right buzz.

The first thing is letting go of the need to create huge impact in one, big way. Instead, look for a hundred small, free or cheap ways to seed your role out.

And the second thing? Make your role sound as awesome as you know it is. Write great recruitment ads – make your messages so good people WANT to pass them around.

Getting these things right starts from one place – getting really clear on your audiences.

 

Make sure you know who you’re looking for

You’ve heard the old marketing adage “selling to everyone with a mouth” right? It’s expensive, inefficient and it almost never works. And yet so many traditional recruitment advertising platforms are trying to do just that.

If you have a slim budget, you need to make the word “targeted” your best friend, and you need to get creative with your advertising sell.

Why creative you ask? Simply put, if you can’t pay for big media, you need people to spread  your ad for you. People are far more likely to share something that reflects on them well – it’s witty or clever or insightful or will genuinely help someone they know.

Your first step is to think about who you’re trying to attract. Really think about them. We’re not looking for demographic info like location or level of education. We’re looking for psychographic insight. After all, you’re looking for a human being, not a checklist of achievements and skills.

What sort of activities are they into? What kinds of places do they hang out (online and IRL)? What are they likely to be looking for in their jobs and workplaces? What motivates them? What does “funny” look like to them? What kinds of marketing ads work on them? Why?

You wanna get under their skin. It’s not about gross generalisations (although that’s a useful way to get the mental ball rolling), it’s about understanding what unique characteristics your ideal candidate has, so you can more efficiently find them.

Once you know who they are, think about who they know. Or more specifically, think about who YOU know who might have contact with them.

 

Write an ad a human person wants to read

And not just any human. Your ideal candidate human.

Think about where this ad is going to sit and be appropriate. For example, a Facebook post can be much wordier than a Twitter ad. Both are more casual and matesy than a job board listing.

If you can create a message people actually want to read, it’ll stand out, people will feel good about sharing it and, best of all, it’ll be sticky. Your potential candidates will remember it and it’ll nag away happily at their brain until they apply for the job.

Some general rules of thumb for creating sticky ads/messages:

1. Think about what the message needs to DO.

Do you want people to click a link to a place where they can find out more? If so, the only job the ad needs to do is intrigue someone enough to click the link. Word of warning, make sure you’re giving a broad context with that enticement,. A simple “Work here” or “we’re looking for a new podster” is enough to save your  DO YOU LOVE ICECREAM?? headline from frustrating ambiguity.

2. Use a really specific call to action.

If you want someone to click your link, say, “click this link”. If you want someone to share with their friends, say, “who do you know who would love this job? Share this link with them!”. Contrary to popular belief, people sometimes quite like being told what to do.

3. Find a weird hook.

Situation Vacant. Opportunity awaits. Grad role available. Are you yawning? You should be. These are literally the most boring ways I can imagine to start an ad. In the ad industry, we would talk about “stealing interest”. That’s what you need to do here. How can you make yourself stand out? Look for the weirdest, most interesting thing about the role. Is there are a kooky job title? Do you get some awesome kitten-related perk? Will it get someone in on the ground-floor of the next Apple or Xero? That’s your hook. Lead with it.

 

Make it really, really easy to share

This means easy for you to share to job boards and social platforms so you can take advantage of spontaneous sourcing opportunities, as well as easy for other people to pick up and share virally amongst their own networks.

Using a tool like Weirdly lets you house all your job info and initial application process in one place. It gives you an easy, sharable short-link that sends people to a fun, branded experience with good role info. This means you don’t have to cram heaps of description into your ads, and your word-of-mouth spreaders have something easy and fun to flick around their friends.

 

Go back to sourcing basics

Simple, great, effective sourcing opportunities are all around us. In case you missed our post a few weeks back, here are 10 often-overlooked places you should start seeding your brilliant job ad+Weirdly link combo.

The key is to stay focused on the person you’re trying to find. Go where they are, post ads they’re going to feel compelled by. Don’t think like a recruiter, think like the person you’re trying to recruit.

The great sourcing cheat-sheet: 10 places you should be sharing your job links

So you’ve set up your Weirdly quiz, it’s bursting with your unique brand personality and you’re ready for your next employee superstar to come whizzing through the virtual door.

Before Weirdly can work, those great candidates have to find you. That means, spreading your quiz link far and wide.

Here’s our sourcing cheat sheet: Our top 10 list of places to share your quiz to attract the top talent to your door:

1. Ask your Staff:

Ever heard the saying ‘Superstars run in packs’? Nope? Well, I just made it up then. It makes sense that the great people you already have on your team are likely to know other people who are just as awesome as they are.

Let your team know you’re looking for new people and ask them to share the link out amongst their friends, contacts and networks.

You can even offer an incentive – if you end up hiring someone they refer,  you’ll offer a token of your appreciation. We find rewards that involve food, cash or booze are popular – ones that involve singing telegrams, not so much.

2. Share on Social Media:

This is an easy one. Post the link from your company’s social media accounts – twitter, facebook, google+, LinkedIn, they’re all great for attracting people. Ask your friends and followers to share the link with people who fit the bill.

A little trick: If you start your post with “Who do you know who…”, your readers will find it much easier to think of specific people they can share the link with, rather than with a more generic “we’re looking for…”.

3. List it on Job Boards:

This is the traditional approach – but it’s still really effective. Job boards can be industry-generic (like TradeMeJobs, Seek, Glassdoor etc) or very specific to your location, industry or role (US-based retail, techy-development, Not-for-profit sector).

If you’re based in NZ (or recruiting from NZ!), you can post a job directly onto the TradeMeJobs job-board from the Weirdly distribute page. It’ll pull all your job info and if you don’t have a TradeMe account, you can even buy the job posting directly from us.

Some of these boards will let you attach your Weirdly quiz link to the “apply now” buttons, some will need you to load it up as part of the job ad text. If it’s the latter, make sure you include a clear instruction so your applicants know what to do. Something like “To apply for this job, copy this link into your web browser and follow the instructions”.

4. Tap your industry Bodies/Associations:

Are you a member of an industry body? Chamber of Commerce? A business network or association?

Lots of these places have websites with “positions vacant” pages. You can often list your job there with a link to your Weirdly quiz for free, or very cheap. It’s also worth asking about opportunities to include the ad in their next newsletter or magazine. If your association is kicking it old-skool with a printed version of these, you might want to include your quiz link as a QR code (see trick #9 to see how).

5. Set up some social ads:

You’ve already shared across the social networks you own. Now consider setting up some social ads. This is actually pretty easy to do and if you want to, you can get REALLY specific on who you’re looking for – right down to what kind of music or hobbies they’re into.

You can set up ads without a company Facebook page – you just link directly to your Weirdly quiz. You will need a Twitter profile to set up twitter ads, but you’ll find you can also link these directly to your quiz.

You can set up both so that you only get charged when someone clicks on the ad, and you can cap your budget (we recommend spending say, $50 over a week) so you won’t log on and found you’ve accidentally spent 1million dollars overnight.

6. Email it to your own network:

This one seems obvious right? Crazy how often we all forget to do it though. Try sending an quick personal email to your own email contacts, very briefly outlining the kind of person you’re looking for and asking them to “shoulder tap” people they think might fit the bill by sharing the link to your quiz.

7. Put it in your next company e-newsletter:

Ready to send out that next quarterly newsletter? Make sure you include the news that you’re looking for someone great to join your team and link your Weirdly quiz to a button. This is really easy to do if you’re using Mailchimp or something similar.

8. Post it on your own website:

Got a careers page? You can post the link to your Weirdly quiz so people can apply directly from your page.

If you don’t have a careers page, consider adding a call to action with a link to your job on your contact page. This works particularly well if you’re often looking for people to fill similar roles (like, waitresses, call center operators or shelf-stackers), or if you just want to build a pool of keen people who generally fit with your brand.

Companies like Vend and Superette have these “general” quizzes open all the time. Then, when they have a specific role available they send the link out to this pool of pre-qualified candidates – clever!

9. Put a note in your window:

Or on your bar, or your retail counter. The point is, do what you’ve been doing for years – sticking up that “apply here” poster, but apply a modern twist. Try printing your Weirdly quiz link on the poster as a QR code. People can scan the QR code with their mobile phones, get taken directly to the quiz and do the application on the spot! This site makes generating a QR code really easy – just copy and paste your Weirdly link into the box.

10. Use your email footer:

Your email sign-off gets seen by every person you email in a day – that’s a lot of people!

Include a note that you’re hiring and a link to your quiz in your sign-off – you never know where you’re going to find your next superstar, it could be someone you just emailed.

This is just a selection of sourcing methods we recommend to attract top talent and get people applying through your Weirdly quiz. Try them out and let us know below – Which ones work best for you? What other tricks or methods do you use when hiring?

Interested to see if Weirdly could help streamline your recruitment? Click the button below for a free trial today.

Weirdly quiz sign up now

Same-same, but different: Why workplace diversity isn’t about ticking boxes

We get asked heaps about workplace diversity.

“If you’re qualifying all candidates against an ‘ideal match’, don’t you end up recruiting a company of homogenous drones that’ll destroy your carefully crafted diversity programme in their tidal wave of sameness?”

I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

Our response is generally to clarify what we mean when we say “fit”. We’re not talking about recruiting carbon copies of your best staff. We’re talking about recruiting people who share some of the fundamental characteristics, values and traits that make your best staff the best.

We had an awesome example of this with a client last week.

This client, a major communications shop, has traditionally filled their teams with young, mostly-male, hipster-types. Not because they’re agest or sexist, but because they wanted their teams to fit well together – and “looks the same on paper” is an easy trap people fall into when searching for good cultural fit.

A simple shift in the way they thought about “fit” meant this organisation is now recruiting people who seem totally different, but fit so well in real life.

They hired an older woman – late 50’s – into a team with those same young, hipster guys. Sure, there were clear differences. She needed a bit of help with the tech, they needed a bit of help toning down on the machismo. But because they’d been recruited based on a share values, they were able to use their different perspectives to their advantage. This team is now super-productive, they’re hitting higher targets and they’re generally just heaps happier.

You see, the things that made them the same – a shared belief in what they’re doing, the same dedication to sustainability, a preference for working collaboratively – those things are WAY more important than holding meetings on long-boards or shared beard grooming stories. They gave them a solid platform of stuff in common so they could share new perspectives and challenge each other’s assumptions.

True diversity, useful diversity, is about finding people who are different enough to contribute unique perspectives. This isn’t a sitcom, we’re not here to tick diversity boxes and keep sponsors happy. There are real reasons to look for variation in our teams. Sciencey reasons.

“Diversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving.” – Scientific American

Creativity is vital to problem solving. Problem solving is vital to innovation. Innovation allows our businesses to adapt to a changing world and changing behaviours. Which brings us back to diversity being crucial for good business.

We should be putting women on our boards, embracing cultural rituals, and making sure our teams aren’t just full of white guys with hipster haircuts because the truth is this: our businesses are more productive when they’re packed full of different perspectives.

Uniformity is the antithesis of progress. But diversity for the sake of diversity can be just as damaging.

We created Weirdly to help pull teams together based on the perfect mix of commonality and conflict – mashing genders, races and different abilities into a delicious values-based soup. Helping people find the RIGHT kind of diversity for their teams. People with the right kind of weird.

The companies we’ve enjoyed working with the most have found that sweet-spot between complementary values and diversity of experience and perspective. Teams with enough commonality to pull together efficiently, and enough difference to challenge each other.

 

Nurturing Weirdos: Our why-to guide for workplace diversity

Clay Forsberg (holder of the greatest job title ever) recently posted an article about how we should be recognising and celebrating our Weirdos.

One particular quote really resonated with me:

When this country has made strides and moved ahead – it’s the “Weirdos” that blazed the way for others to follow… What you do to accept the “Weirdos” in your community, whether young or old, will help construct the flavor and individuality of your community.

He was talking about education and nurturing kids who work, think and behave differently –  but, of course, the same applies to our workplace diversity. Because it’s the Weirdos who tend to do the exceptional things.

We spend heaps of time talking about secret sauce here at Weirdly HQ.

Not the kind you find in a Big Mac, (we all know that’s just mayo and pickle juice anyway). Nope, we’re talking about the special ingredients that make people champions.

Sometimes it’s a particular interest that gives their skill-set an extra dimension, a background that gives them a unique perspective on the world, or a crazy knack for relating to people. Sometimes it’s just an unusual way of thinking or processing information.

These are often intangibles: things that are hard to define. Sometimes during a traditional recruitment process these are the things that are overlooked in the rush to tick skills and education boxes.

But they’re the things that turn candidates into truly wonderful Weirdos. People who – if given the chance – can transform teams, inspire innovations and help your business shift into that extra gear.

We hear businesses talking a lot about building a culture of innovation, and encouraging creativity, which  makes our digital heart swell right up with joy.

What we don’t hear as much is people talking about the unique qualities in their team members that lead to that culture of creativity. We’re celebrating the outcome, but not the cause: the ‘outsider’ thinking, the stuff that challenges the status quo and results in fresh, innovative ideas.

Why?

No, but seriously, why?

The truth is, we all need those people in our businesses. Sure, the level of “wild” might be different when comparing Weirdos in a law firm to the ones in a design lab. You might be looking for slightly different weirdnesses. But the idea that the best teams are made of diverse, multifaceted people who celebrate all their oddly-configured experience is universal.

Our work-places are tiny communities. By welcoming in Weirdos, we’re building a community with more colour, energy and wider perspectives. And if we encourage those guys to share and celebrate the things that make them weird, our colourful community becomes one that encourages curiosity and exploration.

That’s what Clay Forsberg was talking about in schools, and that’s what we can do in business – let’s celebrate our Weirdos and watch our businesses (and country) start making strides.

The weirdest interview questions ever from Zappos, Apple, Airbnb

We see great, weird questions popping up everyday by people using our system.

One of these days we might be able to compile a few of these into our own list that you guys can use to inspire yourselves – no matter what side of the interview desk you’re sitting.

In the meantime, here’s Glassdoor’s annual list of the strangest interview questions that companies ask. Check out how Zappos, Apple, Airbnb and co are uncovering their candidates’ weird and exposing a little bit of their own in the process:

  1. “If you could throw a parade of any caliber through the Zappos office, what type of parade would it be?” – The Zappos Family
  2. “How lucky are you and why?” – Airbnb
  3. “If you were a pizza deliveryman, how would you benefit from scissors?” – Apple
  4. “If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?” – Red Frog Events
  5. “Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer ?” – Dell
  6.  “If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?” – Yahoo
  7. “If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?” – Bed Bath & Beyond
  8. “Do you believe in Big Foot?” – Norwegian Cruise Line
  9. “Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?” – Xerox
  10. “What is your least favorite thing about humanity?” – ZocDoc
  11. “How would you use Yelp to find the number of businesses in the US?” – Factual
  12. “How honest are you?” – Allied Telesis
  13. “How many square feet of pizza is eaten in the US each year?” – Goldman Sachs
  14. “Can you instruct someone how to make an origami “cootie catcher” with just words?” – LivingSocial
  15. “If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children?” – McKinsey & Company
  16. “You’re a new addition to the crayon box, what color would you be and why?” – Urban Outfitters
  17. “How does the internet work?” – Akamai
  18. “If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you, and why?” – SinglePlatform
  19. “What’s the color of money?” – American Heart Association
  20. “What was the last gift you gave someone?” – Gallup
  21. “What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?” – Applebee’s
  22. “How many snow shovels were sold in the US last year?” – TASER
  23. “It’s Thursday, we’re staffing you on a telecommunications project in Calgary, Canada on Monday. Your flight and hotel are booked; your visa is ready. What are the top five things you do before you leave?” – ThoughtWorks
  24. “Describe to me the process and benefits of wearing a seatbelt.” – Active Network
  25. “Have you ever been on a boat?” – Applied Systems