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Making the Most of Online Employment Ads

A quick search for jobs available at automotive dealerships on results in nearly 10,000 jobs listed. Add in the other big-name job boards, and Yahoo! Hotjobs, and we bring our total to over 15,000. There's a lot of work out there to be had and a lot of companies searching for qualified employees. As always, you need to make sure that your dealership stands out and catches the attention of job seekers.

In the past, I've written in the pages of this magazine about how to recruit online and how to write effective employment ads. This month we're going to talk about combining these two things and discuss how to write effective online employment ads.

We must look at function and form of the employment ad. The function is simple enough. It must provide information about the job, the company and a hook to convince the job seeker to apply. You describe your company, describe the job and qualifications, and tell the job seeker what you can offer that others cannot, whether it is compensation, benefits or training.

The function of an online employment ad is really no different than one that appears in print. The key thing to remember is that due to the form of the online employment ad, which we will deal with shortly, you are not constrained by the print format. There are no column width or word count limitations. There are no problems including your logo or even pictures of your dealerships and employees. The electronic format allows you to break out of the little boxes the newspaper forces you into and gives you the freedom to put your recruiting skills to their best use.

Considering all this, you can see how form becomes very important when posting jobs online. Too many dealerships think that online job ads need to be nothing more than print ads put online with blocks of text and a bold word or two. This is definitely the wrong idea. You need to take the time to rethink how you advertise jobs and come up with a new visual style for what you are doing.

The first step I would recommend is deciding which job board you're going to post on. The big three are still, and Yahoo! Hotjobs. There are also dozens, if not hundreds, of niche category boards out there. They all have their good and bad points and you’ll need to decide what suits your needs the best. Regardless of which you choose to work with, talk to a customer service rep (yes, you can talk to a real person) and thoroughly read all the information on the Web site. This will help you learn the limitations of what they offer and how you can best use their site.

Once you know what you can and cannot do on the site, you can turn to the actual development of the ad. One good thing about running ads in newspapers is that every newspaper has a department that can do the layout of your ad for you if you provide the information. Unfortunately, most online job boards don't do this. Therefore you will need to learn how to do online formatting yourself. This will typically require you to deal with HTML.

HTML is the primary markup language for Web sites. I know this is starting to sound technical, but don't worry, it won't be too bad. Basically, HTML does nothing more than tell the computer what the Web site (or in our case your ad) should look like. To use it, you simply need to learn some basics of the language or use software that does it for you. There are thousands of books to teach HTML, so I won't bother explaining it in detail. What I will do is tell you the much, much easier method of making your employment ads look professional and exceptional: have your Web site developer create a template for you.

Yes, just pay someone else to do it for you—the joy of capitalism. This is honestly the best way to get consistently good online employment ads. Your Web site developer will know all the coding you don't want to learn. I have done this dozens of times and always get great results. You will need to develop an idea of what you want the ads to look like and then give them the information for it. The Web site developer should be able to easily give you a file that will enable you to simply put in the new information each time you need to run an ad and input the template into the online job board. It will provide consistency in style, tone and presentation, which goes a long way towards making your dealership look professional and appealing to job seekers.

A template will likely cost you a little money (or maybe not if you have the Web site developer under contract or retainer), but it will be money well spent. It would be best if the specific design you choose reflects the culture of your dealership and the message you present to customers, possibly even mirroring your sales Web site to some degree. If you have trouble deciding on the specific design of your online employment advertising, I always recommend erring on the side of simplicity. Making a design too complicated generally drives people away rather than bringing them in.

Online employment advertising is only one part of the overall recruiting process, but it is a vital one. Just like your sales Web site to customers, the online employment ad can create either a positive or negative first impression of your dealership. Taking the time to make it professional-looking and effective will help good candidates know that you take hiring seriously and will draw them to your dealership.

Vol 5, Issue 8


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