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Employers: Get More Job Candidates with One Simple Phrase

Here’s how to get more job seekers to take action on your job listing.

If you’re looking to recruit and hire new talent, you want to do everything you can to persuade job seekers to apply to your job listing. You probably already know to use the right words to make your opening as attractive as possible. But did you know you could miss out on candidates simply because you’re not clearly stating in your job description how they can apply for your job?

It’s true. Take a random sample of listings on any job board, and you’re likely to find plenty of ads that:

  • Don’t tell candidates what to do if they wanted to apply to the job
  • Don’t offer a message of encouragement
  • Provide instructions, but with varying degrees of effectiveness

As a recruiter or hiring manager, why should you care?

A job description is an advertisement. And as any good copywriter knows, an advertisement needs a “call to action,” or CTA, that encourages consumers to take the next step.

A few CTA examples:

  • A digital display ad for a Broadway show that says “Click for Tickets.”
  • An outdoor billboard selling sneakers that says “Walk to Sneaker World at 49th and Broadway for amazing shoes.”
  • A TV commercial about insurance that says “For a free estimate in 10 minutes, visit [WEBSITE].”

You get the idea.

It’s pretty simple. That’s why it’s such a missed opportunity when job listings don’t have a single call to action—not even a bare bones “Apply Now!”

Fortunately, it’s easy to remedy this situation. All you need to do is write a compelling CTA that gets candidates excited to pause their job search for a moment and submit an application. Put on your copywriting hat and compose a statement following these three guidelines:

1. Provide short, specific details about how to apply. “Click on the red APPLY button.”

2. Add some flair to encourage applicants, energize them and overcome any objections they might have. “We’re so excited to hear from you.” “Even if you don’t meet all the qualifications, we still encourage you to apply.”

3. Create a sense of urgency, enticing them to apply now instead of later. “Don’t wait, apply today.” “We can’t wait to review your application.”

Below are three real-life CTAs, with identifying information removed. Let’s see how these employers did, and what they can do to improve.

Short and Sweet

“Please submit cover letter and resume.”

This CTA doesn’t stand out from the crowd, does it? Add a few words to express encouragement and urgency. Maybe something like: “Please apply today—we’re standing by for your cover letter and resume!”

The Double CTA

“Please click “apply” to submit your resume and links to your work.See more jobs at [WEBSITE]”

This CTA asks candidates to apply via email, then immediately mentions that there are more jobs available at their external website. When you’re seconds away from closing a sale, you don’t bring new products into consideration. A better approach would be to remove the last line altogether.

Pretty Good!

“Intrigued? We’d love to hear from you. Please click “apply” to submit a cover letter and resume. No phone calls please.”

This one gets the job done nicely and has a personal touch. “No phone calls please” has a bit of a negative tone, though. Drop that line, and this is good to go.

Now that you’re a CTA expert, update your job descriptions and post them today on the Mediabistro job board. (Did you catch that CTA? Of course you did!)

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