Read this before you write your next recruitment ad!

Let's face it, one of the best recruitment ads of all time is ‘The Perfect Nanny,’ a letter written (and sung!) by the Banks children in the classic film ‘Mary Poppins’.  

As a former HR Manager, I'll ask politely that we skim over the discriminatory aspect of asking someone applying for a job to be wart-free and “fairly pretty” and instead concentrate on the principles that made it attract the very best candidate the Banks children could hope for.

Who are you looking for?

First, it sets out in detail exactly what kind of person should apply.  You’ll need to be fun and cheery, with lots of energy to play games – great start!  And what’s even better is that the words “dynamic” and “self-motivated” don’t appear once.

Before you write your ad, give some thought to the kind of person you want to apply, and then tell them about the job in simple language that reflects your company and the type of people who work there.  Don’t just blandly list the job description, followed by a few generic words and phrases everybody uses.  

Would Mary Poppins have looked twice at that letter had it said “You will be passionate about nannying, working alongside a high-performing team in a fast-paced environment to drive sustainable change across the childcare landscape”?

What will they be doing?

A job title says a lot about the day-to-day duties of a role already, and the Banks children don’t waste time boringly setting out what a nanny is.  Instead, they very clearly explain exactly what she will need to do: “Take us on outings, give us treats.  Sing songs, bring sweets.” 

Job done!

What will they get?

The Banks’ benefits package isn’t exactly a gold-star healthcare plan and an incremental bonus, but the letter does describe what you get and how you get it – namely that your spectacles won’t be hidden and your tea will remain un-tampered with.  In return, all you need to do is not scold or dominate.  Easy.

If you’re looking for a better and more original way to write a recruitment ad, why not follow the Banks’ example and start by asking the people who’ll be working with the new recruit exactly what they’re looking for?  I’m willing to guess you won’t hear a collection of skim-worthy words like “dynamic” or “passionate”, and they won’t be able to complain later on that you recruited someone totally unsuitable for their team – so everybody wins!

Can I write anything recruitment-related for you, or maybe even polish up your CV now that we’ve headed into a brand new year?  I’m always happy to talk about new ideas, so feel free to get in contact for a coffee and a chat!

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