Candidate Engagement

Employers, Don't Just Say "Apply": The Secret to a Better Call to Action in Your Job Ad

Oct 17, 2022 - Valery Caputi Lopez

While it may seem counterintuitive at first, simply writing "apply now" on your job advertisement does little—or nothing—to convince your ideal candidate to send in their resume and move forward within your application process. Why? That's because the candidates of today have seen that before already, hundreds of times from competing employers for very similar roles, even when they're not actively looking for new jobs. By not differentiating your job ad in a truly remarkable way, you've essentially doomed it to get lost in the background of a very noisy, competitive, and oversaturated job market in which everyone is vying for a limited number of quality candidates and actual job applications are at an all-time low.

If ever there was a time to differentiate your organization from the masses, it's right now. So how do you make your job postings truly stand out in the eyes of potential candidates? Simple: by not asking active candidates or passive candidates to do something for you first, and instead giving them something of value in return for their time.

So which hiring call-to-actions bring job seekers the most value right now? Let's explore some in this blog post.

1. Company Culture is Core

A Glassdoor multi-country survey found that 77% of adults consider a company's culture before applying for a job there, and over half of respondents asserted that company culture is more important than salary when it comes to achieving overall job satisfaction (and that level rises up to 65% for younger job seekers in the U.S.). It also said that 73% of applicants would not apply to a company unless its values aligned with their own.

And it doesn't end at the application stage. A separate 2021 MIT Sloan study review revealed that a toxic work culture is the biggest factor that leads people to quit and is "10 times more important than compensation in predicting employee turnover."

So there are two key things companies need to do in order to attract (and retain) target talent: 1) find multiple ways to communicate their company culture to potential employees and 2) ensure that they are living up to those promises and expectations in real-life, or face the long-lasting consequences on public workplace review sites and social media when ex-employees reveal the truth.

The Better Call-to-Action: Host "Meet our Workforce"/"Meet our Hiring Managers" events to give job seekers an inside look at their future workplace and the people they'd potentially be working alongside. Talk about all the things that make your company culture unique and desirable, and provide ample examples of how they manifest in everyday work life.

To make the event as accessible as possible for a diverse group of candidates with different school, life, and work schedules, we recommend hosting these events virtually also that qualified candidates can join them from their preferred devices and locations. The big advantage of this approach is that you can use a combination of live and recorded elements to cut down on costs and organization time while still delivering a unique and personalized candidate experience at every session. Just be sure to rotate between hiring and attending staff depending on the ideal candidates you want to pursue, and leverage the power of your employees' professional presences and brands to further attract talented people in their spheres of influence to your organization.

2. Talk About Team Dynamics

Nobody works in a vacuum, and current team dynamics are a crucial part of how well someone can perform their duties at any role. While providing prospective candidates insight into your organization's structure from the job posting itself is a good start (particularly for the department that is hiring), giving them an insider's view of how work gets accomplished is even better.

The Better Call-to-Action: "A Day in the Life of an XXXXXX at [Your Company]" events are outstanding examples of company informational sessions that go beyond simple job descriptions and answer a lot of questions for active candidates currently considering whether or not to fill in your application form.

You could host these in a virtual webinar format so multiple candidates (both passive and active) can attend at once, sharing questions and answers through chat and audio in real-time. Use a virtual hiring event platform (like Brazen's!) to collect attendee resumes and interactions so you can follow up with them after the event with relevant content and updates that would keep them engaged with your brand and recruitment team longer. It's a great way to stay top-of-mind while preparing job hopefuls for the dynamics and realities of each job function, further qualifying them for your specific recruitment process.

3. Career Development Opportunities

People want to work for places that not only see their current worth, but which are willing to invest in their future potential as well. So when writing your job requirements, don't only focus on a job seeker's experience in terms of should be able to accomplish today, but what your organization can give them an opportunity to do tomorrow. This is specially true for jobs with complex experience requirements or specialized educational backgrounds that can significantly narrow your talent pool right off the bat.

Rather than try to find the one candidate that fulfills all of your requirements, center your hiring process around showing –not telling– how a job at your organization can help further advance their careers. And what better way to do that than straight from the source?

The Better Call-to-Action: Appeal to candidates' aspirational goals by putting the benefits and professional growth programs you offer at the forefront of your recruitment ads. That means drafting your job opportunities with the objectives of your potential applicants' personas in mind, using direct and simple language aimed at maximizing clarity and reach.

Include your current employees' input about the professional development offerings that have been most (and least) impactful to them via feedback surveys and candidate-facing testimonial videos, to further enhance the job search experience with positive employee stories meant to engage and inspire. Use these findings in your benefits planning to get a good idea of what is most important to your target demographics. Collect quotes regularly and circulate video, visual, and written content across your content management system to further promote your employer brand on all relevant strategic communication channels, such as your main careers website, private professional groups, online job boards, job posting sites, and company social media outlets.

Thing Big, Win Big

The entirety of your company mission, vision, and brand cannot be reduced into a single application form, nor should it be. But that also doesn't mean that you shouldn't put your creativity to work and actively find new avenues to promote your amazing company culture to anyone willing to listen.

So do your best to markedly improve your audience's job search experience by telling them exactly what they want to know before applying (such as job position salary range, start times, responsibilities, resources, etc) and ADD even more value with the information that they didn't know they needed (but are totally glad they got!) at different stages in the process. Bonus points for using new TA technologies to further the reach, accessibility, and user-focused convenience of your job advertising and employer brand awareness campaigns.

If you do, you'll find that most job applicants reward this type of transparency and honesty with less ghosting, more "likes", follows, organic referrals, and long-lasting engagement that leads to bigger hiring wins and better retention results over time. And isn't that what every TA professional wants out of their CTAs?

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