Hidden Content Why IT Adverts Fail

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Andy Bristow
Andy Bristow
4 min read Reading Time
12 September 2019 Date Created

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There is a place for recruitment advertising but the IT industry isn’t it. Some more junior and less skilled roles may gain traction but inevitably ads for skilled individuals are destined to fail. There are many reasons for this but the key ones are :

Sheer volume

Ad buyers understand that skilled IT specialists are tough to find but are also under pressure reduce agency spend – an advert seems the logical way forward. It’s comparatively low cost with the promise of instant and plentiful CV’s. The trouble is, everyone thinks the same and the online job board industry is geared to have everyone believe it is easy to recruit from adverts. In the summer there was an Indeed radio ad where the man tells how he needed a Masters qualified SQL specialist so he posted an ad on Indeed and had 3 perfect candidates the next day, it should have been reported to the advertising standards authority!

Every ad is basically the same

Online job searching is the sould destroying experience trawling through thousands of identical ads on thousands of identical websites. No wonder no one does it, every ad has the same basic blurb with more or less the same salary, adverts are now white noise to IT specialists. We do still advertise our clients roles but that is more part of maintaining market presence than any expectation that we’ll land the perfect candidate, also we bulk buy adverts at low cost and with a consistent presence over months and years we are more likely to catch the right people over time

You only ever see active candidates

We know from monitoring local audiences that for any given audience for a role only a tiny proportion, less than 5%, will be “active”. Even if your perfect candidate does happen to be active at hte same time as your ad is live a lot of things need to happen to get their CV to land in your inbox. In the first instance they need to see it, which is no mean feat, then they need to read it and like it then finally they have to prep and supply a CV. TO even see it they must subscribe to your chosen ad boards, happen to open their emails or browser that day (because by tomorrow a dozen ads are above it), when scanning the copy they will be looking to check they match every criteria (because people don’t like putting themselves up for failure) and then applying means knowing that they may get asked for an interview meaning time off work, using holiday, so even if everything is perfect if they know they have a busy few weeks coming up they might choose to let this ad go and pick up the next one

Active and desireable are not the same thing

The best candidates are already in work and their employers are trying hard to keep them there, an ad alone isn’t enough to prise them out

IT specialists just don’t like applying to ads

Applying for something is seen as the sort of thing junior people with low skills or no connections do. Most experienced candidates already have relationships with one or more agents who they have worked with before and can trust to help them understand a role or company is right for them and then handle the application process and any subsequent negotiations, it’s just easier for them

Agencies are getting there first

Agencies are permanently active on behalf of their clients and are working hard to find skilled candidates – from the moment one of these candidates indicates they are open for a move agencies are competing to put them in front of their clients. These people never reach the job boards, they have already started working somewhere else (see the point about active and desireable)