Use This Steal-Worthy Persuasive Writing Technique And Convert Browsers into Quality Applicants

The Great Copywriter Heist: The Recruitment Ad Job

26 July 2015
Image source:

Image source:

Forget a Hack. This is a Heist!

Wait before you get all angsty don’t think dangerous and violent Hijacker; think instead, intelligent and wildly resourceful high wire cat burglar. Cat suit and balaclava optional.

This is more than a simple burglary. This is an operation that calls for careful planning and clever execution to lift the loot of great value.

Heist (Urban dictionary definition)

Pronunciation: \hīst\

Function: Verb

“To successfully execute a highly strategic, meticulously planned mission, led by a diverse, specialized tiger team of experts in efforts to gain, or regain something of tremendous value.”

So specialized tiger team member, do you want in? Good!

Do you want to know the Super-Secret Savvy Persuasive Writing Technique?  The one that will increase your desired candidate applications?

The Target

We are going to break into the Copywriters’ reinforced steel vault containing all their revered methods. After we get inside, we crack the safe that contains their persuasive copywriting techniques.

Are you still with me? Good!

In a hand carved box made by Berber craftsmen of Morocco, we will find their prized jewel.

The C.TA. Call to Action.

The what?

For the less ambitious amongst you with a desire to play safe, this job might not be for you. And that’s OK.

For the rest of you, we have a heist to execute.

 The Call to Action: A Priceless Jewel and Technique to Master

Imagine you have created a beautifully branded recruitment ad. It’s gorgeously seductive and attention grabbing. As soon as it is published, prospect interest and candidate views skyrocket.

But the plot unravels here.

For some reason you are not converting this high interest and views into to actual applications – at least not to the level and the numbers expected.  Your stats suck.

The likely cause is a wishy-washy Call to Action or worse no Call to Action. It is your nemesis to be thwarted.

The focus has been on grabbing attention but telling people what to do after you have hooked them has been overlooked. This is a common fixable mistake.

A CTA is a persuasive writing term, typically found in sales copy in either print or digital media that tells your audience or customers what to do or the next step to take.

You are familiar with CTAs like;

“CLICK HERE to try it FREE for 21 days”

“Subscribe NOW”

“White Hot Summer Sale. Shop today and save a further 30%”

Ginny Soskey writing in a Hubspot blog post explains;

“a call-to-action (usually abbreviated as CTA) is an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It is, quite literally, a “call” to take an “action.”

Sonia Simone, The Pink-Haired Marketer’s recent podcast ‘Call to Action: The Awesome Power of Asking for What You Want’ reveals this often overlooked marketing superpower. She sums up simply why creating an effective CTA is technique to master.

“If you don’t tell people what to do – people won’t do it.”

Adapt or Get Caught (Out)

But a recruitment ad or campaign is not really sales, you may sniff.

Heck yes! Make no mistake a recruitment ad or marketing campaign are sales messages. They are a pitch – a proposition of employment to your candidate.

Is sales too low brow a pursuit for HR?

Shift your mind. You are selling.

Even more challenging, you are probably selling your organisation’s employment offer in a (over)-crowded market.

You are faced with a new reality.

Your target candidates are increasingly passive and comatose by the bombardment of obvious ‘join us’, ‘pick us’, ‘tell a friend’ or ‘apply’ messages every day.

 5 Simple Tips to Creating an Effective CTA

Use these 5 tips to help you create candidate specific CTA’s that convert interest into action.

1. Swipe ideas from the winners: The UK’s CIPD recently held their annual recruitment marketing awards. Here are the winners .  They have also issued a downloadable brochure which showcases the winners.  I have already added this to my swipe file.

2. Seek out Inspiration: A couple of posts ago The HR Rabbit Hole paid homage to DreamJobbing™ for TOMS’® Dream Job Recruitment Campaign. Head on over and be inspired by this master class of recruitment and candidate specific CTAs.

Pay special attention to bullet points 5 – 7 where I unpack some of the different ways CTAs are used in this campaign.

3. Be explicit: Tell your candidates what will happen next after they submit their application and what to do each stage of your recruitment process. Leave no room for guessing or assumption or error. Tell them their next move E-X-P-L-I-C-I-T-L-Y.

4. Watch your Language: You need to be direct but not rude or overpowering. Dust off your grammar notes and use the imperative form of the verb to give instructions your candidates will follow.  Better yet follow this cheat-sheet.

To gently poke readers into action, pilfer Tip 3 from Henneke Duistermaat’s ‘5 Ways to Make Your Words More Powerful (and Get Readers to Listen, Act and Buy)’.

5. Build your Candidate Experience: An effective CTA is both transactional and emotional.

It is transactional as it tells the candidate what to do next; e.g. ‘subscribe’, ‘apply’ ‘post’.

It is emotional as it appeals to the candidate’s current or aspirational sense of self. E.g. the need and/or desire to make a difference, to change the world, to be seen as smart, to join a prestigious tribe etc.

It is also a don’t-miss opportunity to continue the conversation with your candidates. Expand the relationship to create a thriving community or active tribe via social media (‘join’). They may not be hired now but if you have successfully filtered in individuals who share your values you are well on the way to building an enviable community of advocates for your organisation as a business and a place to work.

So tiger team of Savvy Recruiters/ HR Marketers, we have the loot in our possession – The C.T.A jewel the Copywriters’ (now not so) Super-Secret (but still) Savvy Technique.

How will you apply these tips to boost the effectiveness of your next recruitment marketing and selection campaign?

I hope you enjoyed this caper – I did.  Let’s escape the vault before the alarm goes off. Stealth mode please.

Do share with fellow recruiters who will find these Call to Action tips helpful.

Until we meet again next week down the HR Rabbit Hole…Image source: Aquarius Human Resources Consulting Ltd


Of course, you are very welcome to share, use, and draw inspiration from any material posted. When doing so please let us continue to attribute, credit and honour the originators, creators or sources of the material as a mark of respect to their craft.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The HR Rabbit Hole is a place to explore a different take on the usual, uncover fresh purpose and join in meaningful conversations about how to do more and better.

LEAVE A COMMENT and JOIN IN. See you down The HR Rabbit Hole.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge