Unusual job ads that worked

Unusual job ads that worked

Sometimes recruiters will ditch the traditional method of writing job ads and will advertise their vacancy in an unusual way in a bid to attract attention from jobseekers. We take a look at some highly successful examples, and one that failed miserably.

Depending on the sector and the role it can be hard to find good candidates, so it can sometimes help to give a job ad an unusual twist to help it stand out. A clever or amusing angle can appeal to a particular kind of candidate that a company may be targeting, and can help the filtering process.

The key to making a job advertisement stand out is to use the age-old AIDA rule that has long been the Holy Grail of strong consumer and business ads.

AIDA stands for:

Attention – Does it grab the attention of the reader?

Interest – Does it highlight interesting or unique points about the job or company?

Desire – Does the ad create a desire to read on or apply?

Action –  Is the application information clear and easy to follow?

If an advertisement ticks all these boxes, then the chance is that it will have an impact, and hopefully the required one.

Here are some ads that pushed this rule to the limit, but with differing effects…


The best job in the world

The strongest job ads not only generate a great response, but also boost the image and reputation of the company recruiting. This was certainly the case with an ad that ran a couple of years ago for Tourism Queensland.

The vacancy was for the caretaker, and was described as, “the best job in the world.” The advertisers really sold the role, and it quickly went viral around the world, helping the organisation achieve their goal before they even appointed anybody. Large numbers of people applied and Tourism Queensland further raised their profile when they announced they had chosen the successful applicant.


Cracking the code

It’s always a good idea to avoid using any kind of industry jargon in a job ad, as this can be confusing to ideal candidates who aren’t currently involved in the sector and come across as arrogant. Although you still get lots of business speak in job ads, such as ‘hit the ground running’, ‘top line ideas,’ the list goes on. Research shows that use of such jargon can seriously affect your chances of attracting the right candidates.

However, how about going a stage further and making a job advert so specific that only the people who have the qualifications and experience needed for the role can understand it? Well that’s exactly what a company called Trajectory from Canada did.

It was specifically targeting IT developers and decided to write its job ad in the programming language JSON. This made it pretty much impossible to understand unless you knew your stuff. Although not many candidates applied, all the ones that did were ideal.


Looking for Jesus

If you’re going to run a recruitment campaign, you might as well aim for the top and go in search of the ideal candidate, someone with god-like qualities who can really take your company to business heaven.

If you think this is a little over the top, then think again, because global loyalty agency ICLP did just that. Taking an original and clever approach to recruiting a creative director, the company ran a very simple but incredibly striking advertisement. It consisted of an image of the famous painting The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci with a simple one-line message underneath. The twist was the place where Jesus sits is vacant, and the line under the image read: “We’re looking for someone who can revolutionise the way we work.”

It had everything required of a great recruitment ad, humour, intelligence and impact. Plus there was no doubt what calibre of candidate they were looking for.


Not clever enough

When being creative, there’s always the temptation to go too far just for the sake of it. But one particular job ad highlighted that simply being different isn’t enough, as they got too creative and forgot the point of their ad.

The ad was for a ‘great graphic designer.’ It was entitled “There are 10 mistakes in this ad,” going on to say if the reader believed they were a great graphic designer with an eye for detail, then they should find the mistakes and send them to the email address at the foot of the page with their CV.

Not only did it not state there was a vacancy for a graphic designer, but also the errors were all grammatical, which would be more appropriate for finding a writer than a graphic designer who will spend more time looking at images.

Furthermore, there was no direct reference to the company that was recruiting, and the advert contained no hints about its working culture.

Thinking up a creative job ad with real impact can be very difficult indeed, and if you can’t keep it simple you could fall into the trap of the company in the previous example.


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