...

An Ad is Not a Promise

by | Feb 15, 2023 | Hiring Tips | 0 comments

By Eric Waldowski

Writing an ad for a role in your agency or small business can be both daunting and exciting, trying to balance out setting correct expectations for a well-qualified candidate who applies while trying to steer less qualified applicants away. Or at least that’s how we thought we should approach advertising new opportunities. Today, we will focus on how competitive the ad is, not how to write a great job description or overall ad. Check out these additional posts for more tips on overall ad creation.

I talk often in these posts about the rapid changes in the job market over the last few years, with regard to competition, candidate preferences, and technology. This topic is no different as the technology of the job boards has made applying for jobs an almost effortless task for any candidate, qualified for the role or not. This is a very important factor in not only how we advertise our available opportunities, but also what our expectations for candidate traffic can be based on a few key ideas. Our focus will be on how a job ad is not a promise; it’s simply an introduction. The only way to attract a top performer is to write an ad for one.

When a candidate uses Indeed, or any other major job board, they will be able to see thousands of ads in a matter of minutes. The algorithms of these platforms will optimize the results to show the candidate ads that match their preferences (not their skillset; they have an opportunity to choose what is shown to them). With that being the case, we must consider this: the candidate will see ads that they feel they are qualified for and will choose to apply to the most competitive of those ads. This is why I encourage our clients to craft ads with a top performer in mind. I will lay out two brief, over-simplified examples for a Licensed Insurance Sales Representative ad:

I see an ad like this a lot, and I have to ask: is the person we are imagining applying for this a Top Performer? After further conversations with clients about lack of ad traffic, we will often learn that someone at the agency does work from home once in a while; that last year the top producer cleared over $80k in total compensation with a record year while your lowest earner that maintained their job and met goal made a $35k base and $25k in commission. That the last successful hire they made was trained 100% in-house and meets or exceeds their sales goals regularly. It often comes down to a fear of getting burned or of making a bad hire. We want to get as many conversations started as possible; don’t limit yourself by assuming how a candidate would describe themselves.

In the current insurance hiring market, I’m not surprised to learn that agents with ads like this are not seeing the traffic they hoped to, and I feel it comes down to one question: if you were a seasoned insurance sales rep working for another business or trying to get back into insurance sales, what ad would you see yourself in? With the ad above and the details about this hypothetical agency, let’s try to rewrite it for a top performer.


The first ad looks like the employer has one foot in and one foot out; they appear uncertain about how they would reward a top performer. (At least from seeing that ad). When we think of our next hire, we all want someone who is dependable, adaptive, and motivated. A candidate with those attributes knows what they bring to the table. Talk about your “Top Earners” pay and I’d bet that the next hire to come in and set new sales records for your agency would describe themselves as a “Top Earner” from their last role. It’s about how the candidate would describe themselves that matters.

Now to address the elephant in the room: “What to do with all these candidates that applied to my ad for a top performer? I am getting so many unqualified folks. This is why I try to be cautious when advertising an opportunity. I only want to hire the right fit.”

I can appreciate this perspective, but I feel it is off-base in one major way. You cannot have an opportunity to sell yourself on a chance to work for you to a candidate that doesn’t see themselves in the ad. An ad is about starting a conversation, not making a promise of anything, to anyone. You don’t have to hire the restaurant worker that applied to your experienced Commercial Lines Producer ad; you are not promising them anything by allowing them to apply. (Not to say that they wouldn’t be a great fit for a service or personal lines sales role with the right assessment outcome; they obviously consider themselves to be a top performer in their current role and want to move up.)

However, you won’t catch the biggest fish with the smallest lure. Occasionally, you may need to release a small fish that took a shot at a lure that was too big for it, but you’re never gonna catch that trophy on a pan-fish lure.

How You May Be Driving Candidates Away: A Guide for Hiring Managers

In today's competitive job market, attracting and retaining top talent is a priority for every organization. However, some hiring managers may unknowingly engage in practices that drive potential candidates away. Creating a positive and inclusive recruitment process...

How To: Create Job Alerts on Indeed

How To Do It: Starting from your Indeed home screen, locate the search bar at the top of your screen. Enter the title of the position you would like to receive job alerts for. Enter the city where you would like to see open positions. After completing those two quick...

So What’s the Deal with Salary Transparency?

Now more than ever it's the candidate who is interviewing us, rather than the other way around. As a result, Salary Transparency laws are being passed quickly around the nation. Why? If a job seeker does not have the salary information for the job posting they are...

Mastering the Art of Job Ads: The Power of Keywords in Attracting Top Talent

Keywords are words or phrases that help us identify the specific requirements of a job. From an employer’s perspective, they pertain to what qualities an employer is looking for in their next potential employee, helping them attract candidates best suited for the role...

Mastering Your Hiring Game in 2024: Tips and Tricks for Strategic Organization

As the dawn of 2024 approaches, it's the perfect time for businesses to reflect on their hiring strategies and set the stage for a successful year ahead. Crafting a well-organized plan can be the key to attracting top talent and achieving your hiring goals. Here are...

‘Tis the Season to Hire: Tips and Tricks for Holiday Recruiting Success

The holiday season is upon us, and while it may seem like an unconventional time to ramp up your hiring efforts, it can actually be a strategic advantage. Companies often experience a surge in job seekers, and with the right approach, you can attract top talent to...

AI-Generated Job Ads

By: Monica Donias We are so excited to announce the integration of a new feature that will take your job ad writing process to the next level. Inside of your Jobs tab, you can either create a brand new ad or make edits to a previously written ad to utilize the AI...

FAQ – Always Recruiting

By: Kelly Wilmott Here at IdealTraits, we have the motto "Always Be Hiring." But, what does this mean? We commonly get questions about how and why we should constantly passively hire so we put together a quick list for you to explain why this is important. Why should...

Beyond Job Boards: Tips for Attracting Top Candidates

By: Kellie Lail Finding the right candidates for your open positions can be challenging. In a competitive job market, employers need innovative approaches to connect with the best candidates. Here are some tips to help you cast a wider net and draw top-tier talent to...

Better Benefits Blueprint: Crafting Captivating Job Ads

The benefit section is the most important part of your job ad. The benefits are what candidates' eyes will gravitate to and will ultimately determine if they’ll apply to your ad or move on to the next one. So how can we ensure that we are creating the most captivating...