The-AIDA-modelHow to Write Employer-Branded Messages that ‘Work’ Every Time

The benefits of crafting better recruitment marketing copy should be pretty obvious. It enables you to attract better candidates. It discourages unsuitable candidates from applying. It minimises both the number of time-wasting applications and the time spent in processing those applications. So it actually reduces your overall costs, increases the efficiency of your recruitment processes, improves the candidate experience, enhances your employer brand – and ultimately builds better, stronger-performing teams.

Not a bad return for the investment of some careful thought on your behalf. But how do you write copy for all your roles, at every level, in a way that optimises your chance of maximising your return? That may seem a strange vocabulary to use when talking about a ‘creative’ pursuit. But ‘optimising and maximising return’ is what it’s all about – because good copywriting is ultimately all about selling.

And I should know, being a failed sales person who was fortunate enough to find a modicum of success with the written word.

Back in the late ’80′s my first job was as a Graduate Trainee with a London Publishing House. It involved a rotation through various departments, including Sales. I soon realised that I was terrible at persuading people to buy advertising space – but the training itself was highly engaging, using the AIDA model of selling, based on the natural path to making a sale, from Attraction and Interest to Desire and Action. I didn’t stay too long with International Thomson Business Publishing, but the quite brilliant training sessions stayed with me and, a year or so later, newly ensconced with my biro as a Trainee Copywriter at Charles Barker Advertising, it dawned on me that writing an effective recruitment advertisement followed exactly the same process as the AIDA sales technique.


The AIDA model is a wonderful framework that both helps and disciplines you to write impactful copy. It’s not necessarily about being ‘creative’. It’s about creating the right result. And this is how it works:


You have less than a second to attract your audience – so an attention-grabbing headline, based on an intelligent sales proposition, is essential. Picture the candidate, ask yourself why they would want the role and your company – then sell it in the headline.


You have the candidate’s attention. Now you need to excite them – or lose them. The introductory paragraph needs to set the scene and develop their interest. You can emphasis the culture, the opportunity, the team, the company or the job itself – but it needs to be compelling and move the candidate to the next stage.


This is where a candidate gets the final part of your story and thinks – “I must have that job”. To achieve that you need to convey just enough detail (two or three main points of the role) and keep it benefit-led (always linking a prerequisite with a positive benefit).


You ‘have them’. But not quite. Getting the candidate to act immediately (by applying there and then or bookmarking) is what it’s all about. So finish your message as strongly as you started it – with a call that leads to action.

Next time your hard-pushed brain has to construct a compelling piece of candidate communications, try the AIDA model. Dozens of clients have given positive feedback on the results – trust me, I’m a salesman.

September 3, 2015 in Resource Centre