Make Your Recruitment Marketing Blink Test Approved!

Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of recruitment marketing out in the world. Chances are when you went to buy your coffee this morning there was a Now Hiring sign you missed in the window. When you walked through the lunch room at work there was probably a poster for an employee referral program that you ignored and when you go home this evening, odds are that you will drive past a billboard seeking candidates for some position and you won’t even notice it. Why don’t you see these recruitment ads? Well, first of all, people are inundated with advertising. Per a recent article, “Gordon Borell noted in his talk from #INBOUND15, people pass 5,000 ads per day, they only see 285 and the average individual only notices 6 at best.” Second of all, and most importantly, many of those ads aren’t made with the blink test in mind.

What is the blink test? It’s the 3-5 seconds you have as a recruitment advertising professional to grab attention. If you don’t harness that attention immediately, you lose candidates. So how can you make sure your marketing is blink test approved? Follow the best practices below and you’ll be sure to make an impact.

1. Choose Content Wisely

Pictures, wording, and all design should be cohesive and easy to understand.

If you are hiring for a front desk manager, do not show a picture of a person who is in a business suit in the wrong work environment. This may seem simple, but choosing an image that truly represents the job is harder than you’d think. Pictures should depict people who really look like they perform the role, realistic (avoid models that have been over-Photoshopped), and most importantly, they should be of professional quality (no low resolution images will do).

Wording needs to be dynamic, clear and copy-edited. It should grab the reader’s attention and hold it using visual cues like sub-heads and bullets. Probably the most vital part of the writing process though is editing. Do not put something out in the world with a misspelling or inaccurate information. Make sure to verify all facts and check all the grammar before you broadcast. Low quality writing is a quick way to lose face with potential applicants.

As noted above, bullets and sub-heads are important elements of recruitment writing. Some others include clear headlines that describe the initiative, white space so that the viewer can digest the information easily and an on-brand color scheme based in your company’s style guide. Design is one of the top ways candidates get to know your company. Even if they aren’t interested in applying for the initial position you are advertising, they will be much more likely to recognize another ad if it features consistent design and overall recruitment branding.

2. Use the Right Words

When it comes to recruitment advertising, you must engage candidates. Make sure that they read past the headline. The best way to make sure they read on is to use actionable items and other relatable terms within the headline and copy. Words like “Download,” “Register,” “Sign Up,” “Get,” “Now,” “Free” and “You” are all excellent words that are relatable. Words like these help candidates take action, perceive value, relate to a concept or recognize a sense of urgency.

3. Hit the Right Market

Even if your design is perfect and your wording is divine, sending it out to the wrong candidates is not going to work.

Make sure that you are sorting people into the correct categories and that you have obtained the right lists for email and direct mail. Sending out emails and direct mail to candidates who are interested in your brand, but not in the position you are advertising could be perceived as spam. You might lose the right candidate for job B while advertising for job A and that would be a huge shame.

We now live in a time where candidates can choose where they want to work by doing research. Putting out helpful information about you brand or just information in general that relates to your industry will pull in the right applicants organically. This is executed through the use of keyword blogging strategy, social media and other outreach. When you strive to be helpful to your ideal audience, you receive the right kind of applicants in return.


The first thing you should do when starting a recruitment marketing campaign is to make sure you understand the candidates you are looking for. If you’d like more insight into your audience, check out our Recruiter’s Toolbox.

Recruiter's Toolbox