Human Capital - July 1998.

N o achiever worth his salt…
…Ever actively looks for a change
T. Muralidharan

The target is to get the right person for the advertiser. And more often than not you have only one chance to hit the target. You're shooting in the dark because there is little research data to guide you. When compared to product or corporate advertising, budgets are small.

Getting the right people

That's recruitment advertising for you. A form of corporate communication that addresses an organisation as ever increasing need for effective and efficient people Making a pitch for the best among potential employees to commit themselves to a career with the advertiser. Designed in such a way that they will make them feel important, their skills valued, and the organisation as the right place to work in.

Internationally, a large part of recruitment advertising is still in the form of classified ads or tender notice type of ads. Lately, the medium is evolving as recruitment advertising agencies, as well as HR consultancy firms innovate ways to attract the potential candidates to the advertiser. Through creative campaigns. US-based Shaker Advertising, which specialises in recruitment advertising, has done path- breaking work in using the print, electronic and web­based media. This agency has chalked up a turnover of US $ 100 million by designing creative ads as well as through innovative use of the media.

Defining the task

The task of a recruitment advertisement is to get potential employees to respond favourably. It should address the kind of employees that the company wants to attract rather than the kind of people who are looking for the company. Think of the organisation as a place where they can look forward to spend a minimum of 2 years of their life.

The second important task is to aim for fitment. Most successful organisations have a cult-like work environment which would suit only those with a similar attitude. Presenting a true picture of the work culture is essential to attract the right person and put off the wrong person.

Six rules that tell you how

Rule 1: Hold the attention of the achiever

The ad should rise above the clutter of advertisements as well as editorial matter, which is why you need a lot of free space in the ad to grab the attention of the achiever. All the elements of the ad - the headline, copy, visual, the fonts used, and the free space - must blend harmoniously to achieve this objective.

A riveting visual would help. In an ad for Novell, we held out a promise of an upwardly mobile and opulent lifestyle, in India. We recognised qualities in the people the company was looking for, creating instant identification, and held out the promise of international work experience. The half-page newspaper ad had ample relief space and the copy offered a challenge to the best among software professionals.

Rule 2: Make the right pitch and cover all your bases

In a recruitment ad, you are trying to persuade a person to spend a minimum of 3 years of his life with the company. To achieve this, present the complete information: on your company's performance, its growth plans, work culture, employee-oriented benefit schemes, and more importantly, the future the employee would share with the company. Don't make tall claims. No corporate would dare to lie to a potential employee. Present an opportunity that the prospect cannot afford to miss.

The ad we did for the Nagarjuna group presents a comprehensive view of joining the company. It incorporates elements of corporate advertising to present to the target group the company's perspective in terms of its vision, mission, goals and core values. We developed a mnemonic for the company that depicts the four sectors the group has interests in - agriculture, finance, power, and steel. And that the common denominator is people, whatever be the sector.

“recruitment advertising a form of corporate communication…. making a pitch for the best among potential employees to commit themselves to a career with the advertise. Designed in such a way that they will make them feel important…and the organisation as the right place to work in“

Rule 3: Provoke an instant response

The ad should posses certain vital elements that will provoke an instant response from the prospect. Talk one to one, speak his language. The response will be automatic if the prospect feels the ad was written for him. Don't ask for superhuman qualities. Stress on competencies rather than skills. Assure confidentiality.

Don't ask him to send his resume to a box number. Or an anonymous person. Mention the person who will process the application. Commit your response time before you set him a time limit. Make the respondents feel that you need them as much as they need you.

An ad that we did for Kaiser Permanent illustrates the point. With a catchy visual and an intriguing headline, it catches the eye of the target group, the IT professionals.

Rule 4: Synchronise your communication for greater impact

The recruitment ad is just the beginning of your communication with your prospective employee. The interview call letters. Even the rejection intimations must support and supplement the positive image that you create in the ad. The air of efficiency and professionalism must be visible in the way you conduct he interview process. Ads that focus on a different aspect of the organisation in different ads have generated better response, and a much higher recall.

Adopt a holistic view of all your communication aimed at the prospect, maintain continuity between brand, corporate and recruitment advertising. And in all your recruitment advertising, be it in the daily press, periodicals, or campus communication.

Rule 5: Strike the perfect balance between cost and effect

By far the most crucial aspect of recruitment advertising is the selection of the right

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