Rolling Out the Red Carpet: Employment Ads that Resonate with Women and Millennials
In the past, writing an employment ad was a little like making a laundry list. Not much beyond “Help Wanted” with some sparse details about the requirements were all that you needed. That’s not so anymore – everything about recruitment has changed, from the availability of jobs, to the ubiquity of job boards, to the discernment of the audience seeking work. This has been true for a while, but it is only becoming more pronounced thanks to the Great Resignation. Millennials, Gen Z, and even Gen-Xes are leaving their jobs en mass in search of greener pastures. That means that your employment ads need to immediately assure your audience that not only is the job good, but that working for you will be in line with their career goals. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.
Greet Your Prospects as if They’re Already Family
When you write your employment ads, lead with a warm and welcoming greeting that makes prospects feel like they’ve already been accepted. “We want to get to know you” right up top helps your prospects feel more seen, and less inspected. The job hunting process can be stressful for applicants, and Millennials and Gen Z don’t like feeling that they’re under a microscope.
We all have had job interviews were we’re asked, “Why do you want to work for our company?” However, today’s workforce wants a company to tell them why they should want to work there. This is where you get to sell yourself as an employer. After your greeting, be forthcoming with what it’s like to work for you. Begin with “Here’s what it’s like to work for us.” This places the prospect at ease and helps them to feel comfortable applying for a position with you. Let them know about your workplace culture. If there are benefits, tout those. Paid time off? Let them know all about it. Focus on providing work-life balance, and a fun and warm environment during the business hours. If this position involves training, mention the benefits of that training program. Are there opportunities for advancement? Sell yourself as the employer of choice for your prospects.
When writing your ad copy, remember to use inclusive, people-first, gender-neutral language. For example, “Receive expert training from the boys in the shop,” should read “Receive expert training from our team of technicians.” People-first language means that we do not refer to people as conditions or attributes first. One example may include “Disabled persons are welcome to apply” vs. “Applicants with disabilities are welcome to apply.” If you’re looking to hire more women at your automotive business, kudos to you – that’s very much needed. But don’t say that in your ad! Instead, use language like “We provide an inclusive, positive work environment for everyone on our diverse team.”
Even if you’re not using words like “men” “women” or “boys,” the language in your job ad could contain gender clues. Words like “individualistic,” “competitive,” “ambitious,” and “assertive” have been shown to resonate more with men, while words like “committed,” “supportive,” “compassionate,” and “understanding” resonate more with women. Try not to lean too far in one direction or another – a blend is possible, but if you can choose a more neutral term, you should to that.
Entry Level Means Entry Level
When designing your employment ads, you may be tempted to include a qualifier to weed out some of the less desirable applicants. Saying something like “experience preferred” or actually requiring one or more years of experience in the industry will put off a lot of otherwise qualified applicants. Remember, we live in the age of the Great Resignation – people are pursuing career changes in droves, and that means a lot of applicants who are more than qualified for an entry level position, who are serious and have the skill do learn and do the job well, don’t have any experience within the industry yet.
Job boards today are rife with “entry level” positions which come with barriers of entry requiring years of experience. Unless you’re hiring for a managerial or other senior role, don’t say anything at all about prior experience.
When you do make a hiring decision, remember that your new hire is coming into a totally new environment with a new team, a new workflow, and most likely processes and procedures that are totally new to them. Design and implement a thorough on-boarding procedure in which new hires are trained in various aspects of the position, starting from the basics of clocking in and out and going up to the details of the job tasks. This training should be delivered by their co-workers, not by yourself or the managers. This helps the new hire get to know the team, and what their various areas of expertise are, while also training the new hire completely and making those important connections to their colleagues.
Your on-boarding process could take a week or two, or more, depending on how much training is required. That’s all right – a fully trained employee is more capable, more connected to the team, and feels more valued as an employee than a new hire who is given a one-day overview and told to ask questions if they have them. Rethink your on-boarding process, and make a thorough, detailed schedule with the existing team. This process should fully integrate your new hire into your company’s culture when it is complete.
Jody DeVere, CEO of AskPatty.com, is an authority on marketing to women, as well as an automotive journalist, car-care expert and safety spokesperson for the industry. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.