The magic of words in Job Ads (PART 3)

‘Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.’ Rudyard Kipling

Before you make your mind up if you agree with Rudyard Kipling, let’s make sure you know this is TLDR;

The perfect job description has to be:

  • Persuasive
  • Compelling
  • Affective
  • Informative
  • Promotional

And in reality, a lot lot more …

You’d be right in thinking that a lot of these qualities are very different, and it’s important you find the right balance in your job description. But what do all of them have common? They can all be incredibly value when tailoring a job towards your specific target audience from there. There are many approaches you should take to account. I explained some in my first two articles: you can click here for Part 1 and for Part 2.

Let me ask you a question: What do you know about neuroscience and the art of persuasion? Bear with me and imagine for just a moment that by combining both of these tools,you can win all the candidates you’ve been looking for and you can make them apply. Sounds great, right?

I’m guessing you haven’t got around to studying these topics in detail yet. Which I completely understand, as it means a lot of reading! Believe me, I know… But don’t worry, that’s exactly the reason why I’m writing this blog to share my experience, knowledge and thoughts.

To win the hearts of candidates is tough. I’ve been in recruitment now for more than 7 years, so I have experienced this hardship first hand.

Generally, I have found that candidates respond well when you help to boost their:

  • Confidence
  • Wellbeing
  • Social connection

At the same time, you need to think about the health of your company and facilitating all stakeholders. But, as you’ve probably heard, today’s climate is a “War for Talent” and thought leaders are predicting worse to come. In this light, we need to explore and use new approaches to convince candidates to go with our company, especially when competitors are using very similar tactics. Your job ad is most likely your first interaction with a candidate and you might not get another chance. My advice: Try to get their attention as much as you can on their first click.

The good news: it’s possible!

To persuade our potential candidate, the job ad should appeal to the brain’s instinctive level, so serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin can be produced.

To activate those you have to activate three levels:

  • Instinctive mind: “Can I trust you?”
  • Emotional mind: “Do I care about what you are saying?”
  • Logical mind: “Do you sound right?”

Each of these parts of the mind has a different persuasive mechanism: “You win over the instinctive and emotional brain before even trying to come in with the logic.” (S.Lancaster, 2015)

In Practice this means that candidates need to say ‘yes!’ to all three questions! All 3, not just one. If they don’t trust you, they won’t care about your arguments to apply for a job and even worse, they’ll doubt your credibility. And vice versa: write something plainly wrong, they doubt your integrity and that triggers an emotional shutdown.

If you have read this far, I bet you’re a bit like me: open-minded and curious, so let me tell what I found out by reading all those smart articles and books ;-)

Maslow’s hierarchy can help us understand what makes a candidate initially engage with you. They should feel a closeness and connection with the team or company:

  • Use metaphors, images, videos: evoke strength and be a company which is safe and rewarding.
  • Use empathy and power of purpose.
  • Smile, be nice and be humorous with your own company style|.
  • Use short words; short sentences; informal style; keeping it simple; one idea per sentence; active voice; avoiding adverbs and adjectives, use concrete names. (S.Lancaster, 2015)

You can check your readability at, or as well as length at Don’t forget to keep SEO in mind: check if you are using the right keywords for google/trends and to visualise your keywords using for example Lastly, here you can check, if your headline is driving traffic.

Just one more thing: don’t forget about stylistic elements for instance, how often you use commas and adverbs, beginning sentences with the word ‘well’ and multiple exclamation marks or quotation marks.Even fonts convey a message!

What Happens Next? So now how do we access the emotional and logical level?

Stay tuned for part 4, coming in a few days!

My final thought: just out of curiosity, what is it that’s stopping you from rewriting your job description and making it an influential masterpiece? Please share your dilemma or hustle, there are many smart people around who can help you out, you are not alone!

As we reach the end of this blog, perhaps you could do me a small favor and give me some feedback on what you thought? Likes, comments and share would mean the world to me ;-)