The Marketing Science Behind Writing a Great Job Advert - Recart
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The Marketing Science Behind Writing a Great Job Advert

Nottingham students build on Recart’s business model with job advertising and branding research project.

How do you attract the brightest young talent to join your business? What would prompt them to apply to your job advert above others? How can you turn heads if your industry and line of work, let’s face it, is as dull as f$£*?!

Becoming an employer of choice isn’t a quick fix. It isn’t a ‘sponsored’ job advert. It’s not ‘optimisation’ via a splurge of keywords. It isn’t something that manifests itself out of a 10% PSL or a ‘specialist’ recruiter.

It’s about looking in the mirror: it’s identity, workplace culture, purpose, and branding. It’s what motivates your staff – from top to bottom. Can you put your ‘why’ into words – or clichés? Does your website reflect your brand, identity and mission – or is it a corporate snoozefest?

Recart’s consultative job advertising and headhunting services bypass the soulless CV slinging, contingency KPI chasing, and short-term fee bagging. With our clients, we extract and showcase company culture, branding and ‘the why’ that drives each individual business and its team of employees.

To our delight, Nottingham Trent University – The Guardian University of the Year 2019 – used our service model to form the basis of a research project conducted by Business students.

The university’s D-Light Consultancy, formed of MSc Human Resource Management students, analysed what it takes to become an ‘employer of choice’, which job advert components are most successful and, outside of branding and reputation, how companies can gain a competitive edge in talent acquisition. The project formed part of the students’ degree requirement.

Focusing on Generation Z (people born between 1995 and 2015), the following criteria was analysed: corporate social responsibility, wellbeing, diversity and equality, learning and development, and the business’s mission and values.

The following companies featured: BMW (automotive), Cooper Parry (accountancy/auditing), Churchill Retirement Living (retirement homes), First Response (car finance), and AstraZeneca (pharmaceutical). Individuals reviewed a job advert from each business, without knowing who the employer was. They then ranked the organisation’s websites.

The most common job advert criticisms were “boring”, “too long”, “poor structure”, “too general”, “hard to understand” and “irrelevant”.

What the study group ranked as their priorities upon reading job adverts was content addressing learning and development potential, the company’s mission and values, and employee wellbeing.

  • BMW was the worst-ranked job advert but – showing the power of brand and marketing – it was the top-ranked website
  • Churchill Retirement was the top-ranked job advert, anonymously, but website comments ranked it as relatively uninspiring – contributing factors to this were its low ranking on clear mission, values, and learning opportunities
  • First Response’s job advert drew praise for content on learning and development, benefits, values and investment in employees – but the branding fell short, with the website ranked as the worst in the same – with comments such as “complicated” and “lacked visuals”
  • Cooper Parry’s job advert was criticised for “poor structures/paragraphs” but the sense of fun was praised. Students were attracted to the modern style of its website.

Senior Lecturer James Leinster said: “It was a very rewarding experience to work closely with Recart on the Consultancy Experience Project. It was great to work with a company that is interested in appealing to the younger generation of workers.”

Beth Henson, Client Development Director at Recart, said: “We were incredibly lucky to have been chosen by NTU to have a project researching into areas that are key to our business.

“Even the biggest companies, with the most recognisable logo and an excellent reputation, can sometimes get their recruitment advertising so wrong that they struggle to attract the right calibre and ‘fit’ of candidate.

“It so easy to drop a job description into a generic advert header or template, but, over time, this has hugely negative consequences both on branding and on recruitment – with regards to cost, quality and time-to-hire.

“This is a common occurrence with graduates and younger generations of workers, particularly when employers have a large candidate pool but struggle to target and attract the right people and personalities for their business.”


Recart’s Sarah Bell (third from left) with Shelley Biggs, Leanne Hogan, Thi Ha Giang Nguyen (Grace), Thu Phuong Tran (Jane) and Rachna Malviya

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