Mar 5, 2007

Recruitment Advertisements

Post contributed by guest contributor R Karthik.

I was hauling and hurling the newspapers strewn all over in my shelf when last week's edition of Times Ascent caught my eye.

Much as I always love to do, I leafed through its pages and something very interesting featured on the main page's story- Pink Slip Awards for Creative Excellence in Recruitment Advertising!

Times Group instituted this award blanket a year or two ago.

There are several categories (ad/campaign/headline and so on) in which individuals and companies lodge their entries vying for "The Best...Award"

I have wanted to (though I still haven't done) research on classification of recruitment ads-on what bases they can be classified, no. of and what types.

Let's think of some ads we have come across and see if we can observe patterns/commonalities and arrive on at least 2 bases for classification.

Makes for a very interesting student project; doesn't it?? (I wonder why I did not take up this as a project theme when I was a student)

Now, we have seen this common-place ad which carries an introductory paragraph about the organization's business interests and delineates the specifications for all open positions.

Then there is the employee testimonial ad; a guy/girl-next-door screams out of his portrait "my company is the best place to work for….."

Euphemistically though, they go on to state "I've been with ………for 8 years now; at……..we…"

None of us can have missed the 'Infoscions' who are featured as "meet the know-it-all face of new India/meet the challenges-are-fun face of new India"!

Why….they own the bottom half of every week's edition of job opportunities supplement of widely-read newspapers!

And then there is the ad done the other way around! Employer singing his associate's praise in a very subtle and intriguing way-

But these ones are a little rare; I have seen only Google's ad carrying a story/incident and profile of an employee, how he/she joined the organization and what is so special about the individual.

This was more of a campaign and did not talk about open positions at all.

Yet it is worthy of being counted in our list because the employee's childhood image or photograph is featured and that gives the ad a collage kind of appeal that comes with the tweaked photograph with edges cut unevenly and a scribbling or something else. Probably this also belongs to the previous clan of ads only. (Photograph and annotations used)

Next is the genre of ads in which a visual and a headline does all the talking or luring rather!

Provocative statements or rhetoric or an unanswered question will just do as much to make us sit up and scratch our nose.

Interested people surf or head to the directed space or web link to know more and explore.

The co. has a crystal clear profile of its prospects' (who it wants to attack and bring aboard) persona!

Something is said in the ad to that effect which will appeal to the senses of such individuals and those guys beat a path themselves to the co.s front office enquiring.

A brilliant ad by Saatchi brothers posting open positions in proof-readers/editors and Copy editors; a small 5 line paragraph with the 1 st or last syllable of every word jumbled.

Though spelt wrong the reader can make out what the right word is….

"fi oyu fnid sometignh worng abuot evrye wrod in tish wohel passeag it maens we'ev fonud teh rihtg preson in oyu; at Staachi & Staachi we'er hrinig"

The above is not the exact version of the ad which I only palely remember (why the damn didn't I treasure it when I first saw it?)

Anyway! I hope I have conveyed the essence of it.

Intrigued by such ads I too once thought of an interesting headline for an ad I was to co-create.

To invite applications from Sales & BD Professionals for a co.'s nutrition biz I inserted a quotation at the header of the quarter-page print ad.

"He that takes nutrition and ignores medicine; wastes the skill of a physician"-A Chinese Proverb

In the over-communicated pages of any newspaper's appointments section, your ad if it has to stand out (despite the constraints of your dimensions and colors) will have to catch the imagination of readers.

Teasers though uncommon in recruitment advertising also elicit sufficient hype and finally manage to reach the audience intended for.

There are employer branding ads which besides calling for applications to a not-much-elaborated function/technology/domain also does communicate the boast-worthy aspects of the organization as a workplace.

We have seen automobile companies or manufacturing co.s come up with ad campaigns/series (not stand-alone ads) that carry info on their CSR initiatives, awards bagged, stand taken on larger issues of the world/country. However one insight here is that embarking on such campaigns makes sense only for those organizations that have a pre-defined employer branding agenda and objectives.

Well, think I have exhausted all that I have personally seen and managed to recall.

Now let's summarize the different bases for classification;


(factual- no. of positions open, JDs/JSs, walk-in venue details- descriptive- less factual and more descriptive of desired candidate competencies and many more)

2). Communication objectives- based

(employer branding-employee/employer testimonials



Diversity at work

Articulation of stand taken towards issue/commitment to a larger social cause etc)

3). Target/prospect locked

(Age-group- e.g calling on freshers/octogenarians

Niche skill- Media professionals/RJs/VJs

Freelance opportunities-language tutors/part-time faculty)

Beyond and above all these, every excellent piece of creative ad communication crafted brings forth a newer genre.

It goes unsaid-there is much much more to recruitment ads that what has been deliberated about.

I wish to end this passage with this note- it could be that not all the bases of classification I have discussed here are mutually exclusive; nor is the above classification collectively exhaustive.

Pls. do add your own perspectives to this.