We like to think that we do some pretty important work at Fitzii. We help match jobseekers with positions they’re a great fit for, and in turn, help employers hire people who are engaged and productive in their work.
The “secret sauce” in our process is writing remarkable and compelling job ads that target specific candidate profiles. Job seekers read our ads, and see an invitation to apply to a role and a company that’s just right for them.
We know this works because we get high volumes of applicants from our ads, and we often hear employers remark how many candidates raved about the ad. Other candidates say “I’m not applying for any other jobs, but this one seemed perfect for me”. We also get nice emails like this:
“I just wanted to send you a message saying I love your job ad. I love that it sounds like a human being speaking… I also love that you mention the imaginary office cat! I just wanted to send you a message to say kudos on a job ad that sounds like it describes a fantastic opportunity, at a company, that if it’s anything like you mentioned in the ad, sounds like a great place to work… Have a lovely day, Christine.”
The Predictive Power of Words
We’ve seen through testing and anecdotal evidence that a great job ad means employers will attract more of their target applicants, but we never put in the work to do a formal study to understand exactly how much additional value a professionally written ad will drive.
Then, a few months ago, we discovered a new company called Textio, whose founders originally wondered whether the success or failure of a Kickstarter campaign could be predicted based on the advertisement page. They built software that ran the text of every single Kickstarter campaign, and the results were fascinating.
Was success based on celebrity endorsements, pop culture appeal, or crazy new ideas? The answer is no.
The biggest factor in predicting Kickstarter success came down to the kinds of words used in the campaign. By identifying specific patterns of language and word usage, Textio could predict the success of a Kickstarter campaign with almost 90% accuracy.
After this proof of concept, Textio turned to the recruitment field, and analyzed job ad text and hiring data for more than 10,000 companies to determine what makes a great job ad.
Jonathan Meas, a product specialist at Textio, describes how they do it:
“By using real-world outcomes from millions of job listings, Textio drives guidance based on proven results. Beyond historical data, Textio incorporates Machine Learning into the algorithms. This allows the system to learn how effective language changes over time.”
Using Textio to Improve Job Advertising
The Textio algorithm evaluates the structural component of each job ad, to make sure it is attractive and easy to browse, as well as for content and specific words that draw job seekers into reading the ad.
Their studies show that potential candidates only spend 6 seconds scanning an ad, looking for certain indicators to decide whether or not to read the whole thing.
Does the ad feel positive and exciting? Does it use enough verbs, or is it littered with corporate jargon?
And it’s not just the word choice that matters, as Meas elaborates:
“Beyond phrases, formatting plays a pivotal role in the way your job ads perform. There are strong statistical patterns even between the percentage of bulleted content in your job listing and the gender group you attract.”
So how does Textio improve job ads? By pasting the text of the ad into the Textio software, the writer receives a near-instant analysis, which scores the ad out of 100. If the score comes back at 90, that means the job ad is more effective than 90% of similar job ads.
What’s the Value of Fitzii’s Job Ads?
At Fitzii, we write job ads for some of our clients and we have other clients who opt to write their own. We ran a comparison of every ad in our system, to see what the average Textio scores looked like and here’s what we found:
Fitzii clients who wrote their own ads = 27.1 Textio Score
Fitzii’s professionally written ads = 93.7 Textio Score
With this Textio analysis we found confirmation of our anecdotal evidence, and this is not even taking into account the value of other elements of our “secret sauce”, like Fitzii’s three magic ingredients for an awesome job ad.
We now have proof that our professionally written job ads are at a minimum three times better than the average job ad written by our clients, and 94% more effective than the average posting on job boards.
But what does this mean exactly, in terms of the ROI of a professionally written ad? Meas says Textio doesn’t just drive quantity – it’s also about quality.
“At the core, Textio is built to drive more qualified candidates to apply – not purely volume. Recruiters, Hiring Managers and Diversity teams are seeing a 20% reduction in time to hire and a 12% lift in underrepresented candidates by applying Textio’s recommendations.”
This Textio analysis proves that there is a MASSIVE opportunity for job advertising to become more effective, and we believe the solution emerges when we look at the source of the problem.
The vast majority of job ads are missing the mark because they are job descriptions, and not job advertisements. They’re not written by copywriters or marketing professionals, but by HR professionals or hiring managers who don’t write advertising copy for a living. Of course they don’t have a formula for maximizing applicants, or use the best practices from specialized tools like Textio – this is not what they’re trained to do.
When a professional writes the ad, like these five examples from the Fitzii Hiring Success team, both the quantity and quality of applicants increases dramatically. And that leads to more of those magical connections between jobseeker and employer, where the fit is just perfect.
With so much of our lives spent at work, don’t we all want to love what we’re doing, and work with people who feel the same? We believe the biggest opportunity to make this happen more often is to make it easy for jobseekers to find the right opportunity with a great job ad.
If you have any thoughts on the topic, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.
James provides hiring advice and product support as a member of the Hiring Success team at Fitzii.