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Are You A Rock Star Recruiter?

Published: Friday 5th July 2019

There are hundreds of UK employers looking for ‘gurus’, ‘ninjas’ and ‘rock stars’. Typically, for marketing or IT roles, but what, if anything, do these buzzwords add to the job advert, and what do candidates think when they read jobs with such descriptions?

Silhouettes of diverse business team members standing together

Do you really need a ninja on your team?

Of course, companies have always used superlatives and exaggeration in order to promote their brands and influence consumer decisions, but, when recruiting, you’re not selling the most effective toilet cleaner on the market; what you want is to attract the best candidates for the role. An over-the-top job title might make your advert stand out (although that’s debatable given the number of companies already using these terms), but, more importantly, will it attract the type of candidate you’re really looking for?

Ironically, while these job titles are intended to make jobs appear more exciting, candidates can be put off. The copy in a job advert says as much about the company that’s hiring, as it does about the candidates it’s trying to attract. Most professionals are intelligent, clued-up individuals who can read between the lines, so some will be hesitant to take their candidacy forward when they see too much hyperbole, simply because it doesn’t elicit trust. At best, it can appear unprofessional; at worst, it can be perceived as deceitful, and who wants to work for a company like that? Ask yourself, as a hirer, how would you feel if a candidate used similar buzzwords in their CV? Exactly!

Modern flat vector illustration: flat empty office chair with table "vacancy". Recruiting banner concept with "we are hiring rockstars" text. Colorful illustration for searching a team member.

Connect with the people you really want to hire

There’s another problem with advertising for ‘ninjas’ or ‘rock stars’. These aren’t keywords that are going to be used when someone is doing a job search online. You’re more likely to confuse Google’s search engine. Advertising for a ‘java expert’ is going to attract more hits than a ‘java ninja’. With the latter, you’re more likely to attract a martial arts fan that likes coffee. The people who are more likely to respond to these ads are outgoing people that like the style of these ads, so make sure that’s the type of candidate you’re looking to attract.

Before you write your next job posting, stop and consider the type of company you are, and the type of person you really need. Chances are, that person won’t be a ‘wizard’, but a normal person who’s good at their job. In the end, your role as a recruiter is not to sell a position, but to make sure those that apply meet the needs of the job and the company as a whole. So, it might be best not to tailor your job advert for ‘rock stars’, unless you really are a record label looking for a leather-clad, long-haired rocker that has the ability to sell a lot of records. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a mild-mannered janitor, then that’s what your job advert should be designed to attract.

You’ll find plenty more advice on how to tailor your job advert to attract the best candidates in our Zoek Hirer Blog.

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