Recruitment Message: The Truth or The Good

Any HR leader worth their salt knows that there are significantly different ways to recruit across various organizations. Some organizations rely on HR to control all the processes; some organizations allow hiring managers to call candidates to schedule an appointment for a meet up; some organizations just contact their labor contractor provider to provide headcount. It depends on what the organization’s practice is. The wisdom here is knowing that when organizations do reach out to a candidate, it should not be too hard to sell the job. This is where the recruitment message comes in. Isaac Song has observed two types of recruitment messages in the market, and they are: realistic job preview and brand preview.


As recruitment processes are often costly (the time invested, the money poured into job posting and branding, and the managers getting pulled out from their job to be a part of recruitment), any HR leader would want to ensure that their recruitment process is as streamlined as possible. Therefore, some considerations must be taken into account before deciding between the two types of recruitment message. Here are some questions for HR leaders to deliberate upon before deciding on an organizational wide recruitment message.

  1. What kind of candidates is the organization trying to reach? 

HR Leaders should research the candidates they are trying to reach out to. Different types of candidates react differently to different recruitment messages, and this may significantly impact the recruitment effort.

  1. Is it for a volume based position, or a targeted recruiting? 

HR leaders have to be able to identify this as the approach towards recruitment would be significantly different as well. If an organization is recruiting for a volume based application, it’s best to advertise positions with a message appealing to a wide array of job seekers in rich media outlets so that the message will reach the largest possible audience. That way one can have a large number of applicants and leverage on that to fill in a number of vacant positions. If it’s a targeted recruitment, in which HR leaders have identified that there are only a handful of people in the market that know this, HR leaders should focus on a recruitment message that could reach these people, rather than a “catch-all” method. 

  1. Recruitment sources

Job portals, recruitment firms, referrals are a few to name. Job portals are usually in full control of organization, however when it comes to external party recruitment efforts such as recruitment firms and executive search firms, it is imperative that these external sources are able to echo the similar message to attract the same crowd that HR leaders have identified.

Types of Recruitment Message 

First type of message is something that Isaac Song prefers: the realistic recruitment message. This type of message is aimed and geared towards showing the organization and job as they really are, rather than “sugar-coating” it for candidates only to find out later that the reality is often disappointing. It is also vital to communicate both the good side and bad side of the job, this way, the job applicants will self-select into or out of the organization. This is especially crucial if HR leaders want to increase the commitment of the joiner as they know very well on day one what they are about to walk into. 

HR leader might be wondering what this looks like, and here is an example – although this might be an over exaggeration, it is indeed, legitimate and should be a shining example for this type of recruitment message.

Shorties is just downright truthful and brutal with what they want. Very crystal clear on all aspect of the job.

Second type of message, which most multinational companies use these days, is an employment brand message. Organizations picture themselves as the champion of various projects, people initiatives and whatnot to compete amongst other competitors either to retain talent, or to attract direct competitor’s talent. Start-up uses these too. They position themselves in a strategic message that conveys what the applicant wants to hear, to attract desired applicants to the organization. The choice of message depends on the type of market. If you are in a tight market, in which talents are scarce, it might be in your best interest to deploy branded messages as that will help to retain talent. Here’s an example of how IKEA does it.

IKEA positions themselves as champion of initiatives with humane factor in their recruitment drive.