What makes a good job ad?
So you have a vacancy. Great news! An opportunity to recruit a new vet, nurse or receptionist to benefit your practice. But how can you best construct an ad to help find you the recruit of your dreams?
A cursory glance in the pages of any recruitment section in the profession will give you instant clues on what appeals (and doesn't) to you. So what "science", if any, is behind this? And how can you learn it?
Well the good news is that there is a tried and tested formula ("AIDCA") to help in the creation of your perfect recruitment advert. And the well-trained ad executives on Veterinary Times and VN Times are thoroughly versed in this formula to help you place an ad that will help to generate the best possible results for you – so ask them for their advice.
But to start with, let’s take a look at the things that turn us off.
- Run a boring headline – remember that putting the name of the practice at the top of the ad is fairly pointless unless your "brand" is such that it alone will pull in applicants.
- Over-fill too little space with too much text – the harder it is to read, the less your perfect applicant will be bothered to try
- Under inform – remember that changing jobs is a huge step and people want to be well informed before they consider it.
- Undersell your practice's best features – people will not know them (or be able to guess them) unless you state them.
- Assume a basic lineage ad will do – remember that the ad is the "shop window" for your practice and an applicant looking at two similar jobs will be naturally drawn to the boxed, designed, interestingly written one before they are drawn to the hastily banged out, minimal lineage one.
- Run it less than three times – most ads benefit from at least three exposures, because of the tried and tested advertising response "three Rs theory". The first time an ad appears, readers "Register" it. The second time it appears, they "Read" it, and usually it will take from the third exposure onwards before they "Respond" to it. Additionally, the perfect candidate may not look in every issue for all sorts of reasons (holiday, personal circumstances etc), so three exposures allows you more opportunity to cover off these possibilities. The "four for three" offer Veterinary Times and VN Times provide gives you the perfect platform for this.
- Make it difficult for them to contact you or respond – all the key information should be clearly stated and easily found.
- Have an Attention grabber at the top – either a clear and simple one such as "Vet Surgeon Required" or something more creative and inspired such as "Cotswold Practice Seeks Super-Hero!" Write your headline with your reader in mind.
- Stimulate Interest in the vacancy by outlining the key requirements of the role clearly and openly – bullet points can be really useful in doing this and remember the old adage, "the more you tell, the more you sell".
- Raise Desire by selling the vacancy – think about your USPs, that is, what is unique or special about the position on offer or the practice itself and make sure you cover it using positive and persuasive language. For example, "Excellent team environment with highly supportive staff" or "Opportunity to work in newly refurbished practice with state-of-the-art consulting rooms".
- Build Conviction in your prospective applicant about your vacancy and practice – points such as "Well-established, busy practice" or "Good range of staff benefits" can take an interested applicant one crucial step further to responding to you.
- Encourage Action by having clear contact information – ideally there should be a name, contact number/s, web address, logo and email address to give your applicant extra faith in you, the practice and the role.
Let's look at what using the recruitment pages of Veterinary Times and VN Times has achieved for recent advertisers. Jane at Cheshire Pet said: "I would like to say how pleased I am with the service and results that I received from the recruitment team at Veterinary Times. We advertised for two positions, a vet nurse and a receptionist, and we had a marvellous response – nine applicants! As advised, the four for three offer in Veterinary Times and VN Times worked very well and we had applicants apply directly from www.vetsonline.com"
Additionally, pictures and visuals can be a really useful tool to draw the eye and may give you an edge over a similar ad with which yours may be competing.
Once you have written the ad, take a step back, re-read it and ask yourself a critical question: would you apply for it? If not, what would it need to make you?
Author Ali Chadwick (formerly a trained advert copywriter) is the director of The Vital Consultancy, which specialises in providing management, sales, customer service and communication skills training. Vital has experience of working within the profession. Reach Vital on 01733 243595 or at www.thevitalconsultancy.co.uk