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Employment ads should generate excitement about your organization

I feel that most employment advertisements appearing in weekend newspapers fail to generate the number and type of applicants that they could. Why? They are boring. There is nothing in the ads that attracts the attention of potential applicants.
Typically, the first thing that those who scan the career section see are generic job titles that say little about what the successful applicant will really do: Engineer. Site Supervisor. Purchasing Agent. Business Manager. Executive Director. Vice President. Assistant Manager.

Not much here to get potential applicants excited about working for these companies. Organizations that have job vacancies to fill should approach writing ads in the same way as editors who are responsible for the articles that appear elsewhere in the newspaper. Editors know that most subscribers just read headlines. When a headline catches the readers’ interest, they may pause to read at least the first paragraphs of the article.

The most successful ads, whether selling new cars or attracting job applicants, are those that appeal to the readers emotionally. The headline says, this is the type of organization that you want to join. What we do is important, and you will help us do it better. Ours is an organization where we care about people – both customers and staff.

One of my favourite employment ads appeared in British newspapers in the 1960s, inviting teachers to come to northern Alberta. In part it read, “No Weaklings Need Apply”. For years afterwards, British, Welsh, Scottish and Irish accents were commonly heard in the schools of the Northland School Division.

My most successful ad in terms of the number of responses read as follows: “We plan to hire the ten best teachers in Alberta who are not already working for Fort McMurray Public Schools.”

Here are a few examples of employment headlines that appeared in the career sections of two newspapers in July. They speak to the interests and passions of potential job applicants:

“Opportunities to Make a Difference”
— Epcor

“Experienced? Independent? Ambitious? So are we.”
— Penn West Energy Trust

“No Limits to Your Career”
— Lakeland College

“Together we can make health happen”
— Palliser Health Region

“Our Environment of Exceptional Solutions
Starts with Our Exceptional People!”

— Jacques Whitford

“Making a Difference – Every Day”
— Region of Waterloo

Effective employment advertising does not just appeal to those who are searching for a job. It should also appeal to casual readers who may not even know they are looking to change employers, but who may be just the right persons for your organization.

During his Interview Right to Hire Right workshop, Nelson Scott trains managers and supervisors to attract the right candidate, interview effectively, make the right hiring decisions and to use meaningful staff recognition as a tool to improve staff retention and reduce turnover.


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© Nelson Scott.  All rights reserved.

A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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