The human brain processes images in a different way than text. Images create stronger associations and they apparently improve retention of the associated text by up to 42 percent. Text with images included is even perceived to be more trustworthy and valuable. Are we so shallow? Well, yes, we are.
Advertising has long used powerful images at the core of its dark arts — across all types of media. The story is not told in words. The malnourished African child asking for a donation. The gorgeous film star modelling the latest perfume. The college boys enjoying a Friday night pizza. These images stick in our heads forever.
What should it be so different with a job ad?
The dual purpose of the job post is to reach the widest possible audience and at the same time ensure that only the most suitable candidates apply for the role. Images get people on the hook, and the text reels them in. The job description should first and foremost advertise the employer’s “brand” and then go into compelling detail about the role itself.
Old-style job ads had an “about us” section with a few paragraphs about what it was like to work at the prospective employer. In the new age of employer branding, this isn’t enough anymore. Candidates want to experience the company that they are going to join; they want to understand that they would fit in to the culture … and increasingly they want to do this before they even hit the “apply” button.
In a recent survey by softwareadvice.com, this has proved to be the case. When asked whether images or video would positively impact on their job search experience, 51 percent of respondents said that they would be positively influenced by images or video (with 33 percent stating no difference in attitude).
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Interestingly, respondents said that they were more attracted to images in job postings (45 percent) versus videos (31 percent). This preference for images over video may be explained by the fact that according to some studies 20 percent of people abandon videos after 10 seconds. According to the survey, people’s attention span for a corporate video is not much more than 90 seconds. Images are also far more effective on mobile devices — the technology of choice for job searches.
The favored subject for an image or a video was found to be a company’s products and services, with company employees and workplace look and feel rounding off the top three. Candidates want to relate to the company that they will be joining, so these images should be simple and understandable. There is a psychological phenomenon called the “familiarity principle” where people relate to something familiar with them. Therefore, the picture of a can of Red Bull may resonate more than the drop slide at the Red Bull offices. Better still a photo of the Red Bull Air Race, if you want my opinion.
So, make your job ads stand out. Choose carefully selected images to tell your brand story. Make them attractive. Ensure they are “shareable” on social media. Reach a wider audience and you will be able to choose from a far wider talent pool.