There’s an 85% Chance Your Recruiting Tactics Are Repelling the Best Candidates

When a company advertises a position, they are essentially painting a picture of what the future could look like for the candidates they are trying to attract. More often than not, that picture isn’t a pretty one, and when you put that up against a more skillfully crafted picture, side-by-side, the differences become very apparent.

In a study we conducted, we asked job seekers to which of these two types of job postings they’d be more likely to apply to:

  1. Example A (below, click to enlarge) represents the way that over 85 percent of jobs are typically posted online — a position description and laundry list of requirements littered with boilerplate language.
  2. Example B (below, click to enlarge) is not a perfect job posting, but it is written in a manner that details for the job seeker “what’s in it for me.”

Over 95 percent of those surveyed responded that that’d be more likely to respond to Example B, than Example A.  

So, why are so many who are recruiting doing so in a way that deters job seekers? And if you are a part of the 85 percent who are recruiting in this manner, how can you painlessly turn your own version of Example A into Example B?

The Considerable Cost of Being an “Example A” Recruiter

What is it costing you and your company, if some of the best candidates are not applying to you, because your ad copy did not motivate them to do so?

What is it costing you and your company if positions are not filled as quickly as they could be?

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What is it costing you and your company if you offer a poor customer experience, and your brand image suffers due to the “ghastly advertising” that Liz Miller talks about in “Dear CMO: Your Recruiting Is Killing Your Brand”?

What’s Holding You Back from Being an “Example B” Recruiter?

There are many factors (or as we like to call them, “excuses”) that may be to blame for holding Example A recruiters back from improving. Here are just a few that we have heard:

  • They’re too comfortable.
  • They’re too set in their ways.
  • They have a fear of change.
  • They work under policies to post jobs a certain way.
  • There’s not enough time to change.

Why Should You Improve?

Not a single factor mentioned above is set in stone. All of those hurdles can easily be overcome, and there are some very convincing reasons as to why they should be. By becoming an Example B recruiter, you can:

  • Attract more top-tier candidates, including passive candidates, who require a much stronger effort to be wooed and sold to apply.
  • Fill positions faster.
  • Improve the brand image of the company you’re recruiting for.
  • Feel great pride, knowing your enhanced skills have made a major positive impact for the company you’re recruiting for.
  • Enhance your reputation and standing with the company you’re recruiting for.
  • Improve your income and potential for promotion.
  • Strengthen your value and marketability.

How Do You Improve?

Getting from Example A to Example B isn’t that difficult, if you know what to do. So, how do you do it? It’s simple: let the B in Example B stand for “better”, and let that be a reminder to you as to how you improve. Here are some ideas for how you can better your online recruitment content:

  • Ask the manager you’re recruiting for better questions about how to sell their opportunity.
  • Provide better descriptions of the positions themselves, and the company the candidate would be working for, including information regarding the brand and culture.
  • Give the candidates a better idea of why this company is the one to work for, as opposed to a competitor.
  • Tell the candidates what makes this position better than the same position elsewhere.
  • Show the candidates how the position can better their life and how they can better the company they’d be working for.
  • Include specific salary and benefits, if possible, as that is often an important piece of information candidates want to know.
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Ken Levinson is an entrepreneur and business owner with over 35 years of experience in talent acquisition. He created and led an award-winning employment web site/job board, an executive search firm, a candidate sourcing service, and a professional social network. He currently works as a CEO, senior consultant, columnist, and professional people connector. He is also the general manager of The Recruiting Shop, which will soon be the leading worldwide marketplace to promote and find resources to assist with recruitment, personnel training, development, retention, and more. He always welcomes the opportunity to discuss how he and others can create synergies to help each other. He can be reached at 561-434-3100, or on LinkedIn at

Jessica Levinson, owner and president of Enchanted Careers, has created a brief webinar on this very subject, How to Let Your Job Postings Excel at Their Job, which has helped those in recruiting and talent acquisition worldwide to begin to improve their recruitment results. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, the creative force behind Enchanted Careers’ flagship service, the Post Perfect Training Program, the Gold Award Winner of the 2014 Recruiting Service Innovation Awards, as well as the founder and executive director of the Association of Certified Online Recruitment Content Specialists, the certifying organization for online recruitment content writers, trainers, and consultants.



7 Comments on “There’s an 85% Chance Your Recruiting Tactics Are Repelling the Best Candidates

  1. Well written article. But the title is misleading. You didn’t really provide any evidence or support your claim that option A is actually repelling candidates. And there’s nothing to support your 85% mark. You’re just sort of making up statistics and misinterpreting your data.

    1. Logan, actually, I owned and ran the largest niche job board for USA Healthcare Jobs from 1999 – 2011, when I sold it. We had over 300,000 jobs. Over 85% of companies posted in the manner of Option A, which is called Employer Centric Advertising.

      We offer the following free 24 minute on demand webinar and a free job posting evaluation to anyone who would like it at

      Over 85% of the jobs that we evaluate are also Employer Centric Advertising (Option A). Just to let you know, there was a study by 3 Universities in Canada, that studied companies who switched from Employer Centric Advertising to Candidate Centric Advertising (Option B, but even better – a marketing piece designed to attract the best candidates to apply). They found that when companies made the switch, their top tier candidate response went up by 185%.

      Logan, this is just common sense. If there were two job postings for the same job. One was a boring position description and requirements, and the other was much more a marketing piece designed to generate your interest by discussing what’s in it for you, and why you would love the company, the position, and potential, which would make you more likely to apply?

      1. But Ken, choosing B (the better of two options) does not necessarily mean option A is repelling candidates. To do that I think you would need to run another experiment with two options: the same option A and an option to not apply. Or run an experiment with 3 options: A, B, and not apply. To prove A is repelling candidates, you would need to show that people would rather not apply at all than apply to option A.

        There are also other variables that you don’t discuss. For instance, the effect of a careers page. If Option A doesn’t include the Marketing paragraph, but the careers site in general is full of rich content, would you get the same numbers.

        1. Logan, I respectfully think that we’re playing on words here. Repel is an antonym for attract. See here:

          I’ve seen some really great career pages, that talk about why the company is a great place to work and how a person’s career can progress there.

          However, if the job posting is appearing somewhere other than the corporate web site, a job seeker may never see that career page, and they make a decision to apply strictly based on the job posting, as many companies do not even link to their career page in their job posting.

          At the same time, what most companies completely forget to talk about is how the job seeker can benefit from the job itself, as they often spend 40 hours per week working in it.

  2. This is a great example of how putting other’s needs before your own will help you win in the long run. Companies should adopt this philosophy not just on the job board, but throughout the entire recruiting process as well.

    1. Thanks Darius, and I 100% agree. The company needs to worry about about their needs as well, but they should first attract the best possible pool of candidates, and then deal with the company’s needs during the screening process. You can’t screen those who don’t apply.

  3. Amazing article to say the least. Helping recruiters understand candidates prior to any requirement paves opportunities for both the parties. Recruiting measures should be honed in such manner when they are able to hire only relevant and accurate talent saving time, cost and increase operational efficiency. Creating a pool of pre-selected relevant candidates and constant engagement enables better hiring and high productivity. Building a pool of relevant talent through high richness index helps companies locate, attract and engage only significant and relevant candidates that can be used in future, giving ample opportunities to engage and attract best-fits whenever necessary.

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