Employer Branding Recruitment Marketing

4 Steps to Emotive Copywriting in Recruitment Marketing

Pencils Copywriting
Profile photo of Shavonne Thomas
Written by Shavonne Thomas
4 Steps to Emotive Copywriting in Recruitment Marketing
4 (80%) 1 vote

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you log in to your favorite social media platform by the sheer amount of posts, events and ads that appear on your feed? If so, you’re not alone.

Every day we’re all bombarded online with so many different forms of content that it can be difficult to cut through the digital noise and get your messaging noticed.

This is where the art of emotive copywriting comes into play. Writing attention-grabbing copy is an essential skill set for Recruitment Marketers – and tapping into the power of your candidates’ emotions can be an effective way to make your job descriptions, careers site content, job advertisements and social media posts stand out from all the noise.

So, why does emotive messaging work so effectively as a copywriting approach for Recruitment Marketing? Because going through a job transition is an emotional experience! For example, candidates may need to feel inspired by your job opportunity or organization to consider a career change. Similarly, since career change is a BIG decision, they need to feel secure that they’re making the right choice and that they will feel like they belong on the team they’re joining. By putting the answers to these types of emotional question marks front and center in your Recruitment Marketing collateral, you can attract candidates’ attention to your employer brand and help to move them forward through your recruiting funnel.

I recently taught this approach to emotive copywriting at the RallyFwd Virtual Conference on December 4, 2019. After my session, we polled the live audience to find out if they use emotion in their employer brand messaging. Only 26% of attendees said they do a great job using emotion in their messaging to attract talent. 52% said they’re trying, and 22% said they need help.

RallyFwd Virtual Conference Poll - Do you use emotive messaging in talent attraction?

Only 26% of attendees polled at the RallyFwd Virtual Conference on December 4, 2019, said they do a great job using emotion in their messaging to attract talent. 52% said they’re trying, and 22% said they need help.

If you’re convinced that this approach might be effective for you to try, you can take a look at (and borrow!) my methodology for identifying and tapping into candidate emotions below.

Note: Want to hear more from Shavonne and see an emotion-based Recruitment Marketing campaign she created to attract physicians for hard-to-fill jobs at AstraZeneca? Watch her on-demand presentation at our RallyFwd™ Virtual Conference. 

4 Steps to Emotive Copywriting for Recruitment Marketing

1. Arrange meetings with your recruiters and hiring team

First things first, I like to collect information about the role itself, the team culture and the typical candidate mindset. To do so, I schedule 1:1 conversations with the hiring manager, recruiter and (if it’s not a new role) an employee currently in the same position.

Familiarizing yourself with the role, the typical characteristics of successful candidates, and the lived experience of being in that position will help you develop a candidate persona and craft copy that speaks to the candidate in a relatable and convincing manner.

2. Ask open-ended questions

Once my meetings with the hiring team are on the books, my approach during these meetings is to ask open-ended questions that will uncover the required information I need to write great copy.

The open-ended questions I ask are designed to help me learn more about the candidate themselves and the headspace they’re in while going through the job search and hiring process. I aim to identify their motivations for applying to a new role and what type of specific opportunity and culture-based factors will attract them to our organization.

Here are some of the common questions I’ll ask:

  • Describe the ideal candidate and their skills and past professional experiences?
  • What factors motivate this person to make a career move?
  • What are some likely pain points in their current role that we can solve for?
  • What is attractive about the position or our organization for this type of candidate?
  • What is the ‘so what’ factor for this job? What are the larger ways this specific opportunity impacts our organization’s mission and values?
  • What types of emotions might this person experience along their candidate journey through our hiring process?
  • Why did you personally join the company? What emotions did you experience during your hiring process?
  • What is the team culture like? How would you describe this team to your grandmother?
4 Steps to Emotive Copywriting in Recruitment Marketing Shavonne Thomas AstraZeneca

4 Steps to Emotive Copywriting in Recruitment Marketing, by Shavonne Thomas, AstraZeneca

3. Create your target candidate personas

As you move through this process, it’s a great idea to create candidate personas that help to bring your target audience to life in your own mind. This doesn’t need to be a formal or lengthy exercise though! You can simply create a one-pager that emerges from your conversations and outlines the typical characteristics and likely emotional experiences that your target candidate might possess. (Here’s a candidate persona template and examples from Rally that is really helpful!)

Since the value proposition for each role will be different from the team value proposition, this exercise can help you stay on target as you craft your messaging. I use these candidate persona notes as a guiding star and reference back to the document frequently to ensure the direction we’re heading in still aligns with the candidate persona insights we uncovered.

4. Infuse your messaging across key touchpoints

Once you’ve created your personas, it’s time to infuse those key messages into your content and write emotive messaging that will drive results. First off, I like to do a bit of candidate journey mapping to figure out the key touchpoints where we need to place this messaging to get in front of candidates.

If we’re creating a campaign, this might include job advertisements, social media posts and banner ads, to name a few. However, the messaging could also extend to InMails and emails, along with other key candidate communications touchpoints later in the funnel, like during the interview and offer stages.

Once we’ve picked the right spots and my copy is drafted, I’ll review the messaging with the hiring team as a final check. I’ll also pass the copy along to our Marketing team to ensure it’s aligned with the corporate brand too. From there, we’re good to pair our messaging with some great visuals, hit “publish” and track the results as they come in!

I hope my emotions-based copywriting methodology was helpful to hear about! By leveraging this approach, you can attract your ideal candidates’ attention, answer their questions, allay concerns, and ultimately move them forward in your hiring process to achieve your team’s talent acquisition objectives. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to get in touch with me on LinkedIn!

Happy researching and writing, Rally Community!

Note: Do you want to hear more from Shavonne about crafting emotive messaging for talent attraction? Watch her on-demand video from the RallyFwd™ Virtual Conference.

4 Steps to Emotive Copywriting in Recruitment Marketing
4 (80%) 1 vote

About the Author

Profile photo of Shavonne Thomas

Shavonne Thomas

Shavonne Thomas is the North America Employer Brand & Recruitment Marketing Partner for AstraZeneca where she is responsible for creating a talent brand experience that ensures the right message reaches the right candidate at the right time. Shavonne has been in talent acquisition for more than 15 years, with roles in recruiting, employment training and diversity programs before finding her passion in recruitment marketing 6 years ago. Prior to AstraZeneca, she held recruitment marketing roles at Accenture and Booz Allen where she learned the impact of telling authentic employee stories to influence quality hires. Today at AstraZeneca, Shavonne partners with the talent acquisition team and business leaders to support the company’s growth in North America through forward-thinking talent attraction strategies.