5 job advert tips to improve your passive candidate attraction

Tom Smith

Your job ads are boring 95% of candidates

How many data professionals do you know who are actively job seeking? Desperate. On job boards every day, applying for everything. Maybe a handful, if they’ve just been made redundant, or are relocating?

Now, what percentage are just open to a move if something better came along? 

I put the active job seekers at around 5%. I imagine your estimations will be similar.

Data-specific job board visits are up. But applications are down. 

So people are curious. But they’re not seeing anything worth their while.

That’s the problem. Too many people are marketing their vacancies at the 5%. They’re not explaining why their opportunity is “something better”. Just that it exists.

And yet, by appealing to the “passive” job seeker, you’re making your vacancy more attractive to the 5% anyway. 

You can fix all this. Here’s how:


5 job advert tips to improve your passive candidate attraction

  1. Seize attention.

“We’re a global award-winning whatever looking for a talented whoever”.

Who cares?

If you start your advert the same as everyone else, your reader is already bored, and can’t differentiate you.

Instead, say something your reader won’t expect, something unique. We know they’re curious. Give them something they want to read more of.

What’s the single best reason they should join you? Get that in there straight away. Once they’re intrigued, then you can get into it.


  1. Make it easy to read.

You should tell a story, but no-one wants War and Peace. Passive candidates don’t need to read it, and the 5% just won’t.

Thick walls of text are intimidating. Keep it brief. Short sentences. Bullets if you need them.

You might even try images or (short) videos. They don’t have to be Hollywood – just a quick interview with the hiring manager outlining the benefits of joining.

Structure-wise, AIDA is useful. It stands for:

  • Attention (which we’ve covered)

  • Interest (stoking curiosity with more info)

  • Desire (making them want the job)

  • Action (getting your CV, application or call)

And be clear in your content. Not “flexible working” – how does it work? Not “great benefits” – what are they? If you’re hiring for growth, what’s the plan? If it’s a replacement, why did they leave?


  1. Make it about the reader.

You should be using the word ‘you’ twice as much as ‘we’.

Put yourself in their shoes. They don’t know you yet. They don’t care about you, exactly like you don’t care about any other company you haven’t heard of yet.

Talk about what matters to them, what you can give them. 


  1. Be clear about what you need.

Don’t tell a data professional what they do day-to-day. They already know. Unless there’s something unique, don’t waste their time.

When it comes to their required skills, explain what’s essential. There’s a story about a study showing men apply for jobs when they meet at least 60% of the qualifications, but women only apply if they meet them all.

So maybe something like: "You don't need all the requirements. As long as you have X, get in touch".


  1. Make it easy to apply.

Clarify your call to action. Want an application? Ask for it, and give them a button to click. Ideally one click. People hate filling in info that’s already on their CV.

And maybe their CV’s not up to date. These are passive candidates after all. Tell them to send you what they have, and you can work it out later. It’ll probably all be on LinkedIn anyway.

Lastly, candidates hate being ghosted. Promise them a response (even if they’re unsuccessful), and then stick to it.

Want some help with your job adverts?

Book in a free job advert audit with me here: www.calendly.com/tomhainton/free-job-advert-audit