Case study

A simple job ad redesign which attracted 3x more candidates!

The challenge:

The world’s leading telecommunications giant partnering call center struggled to fillin the position of telco operator with a skilled and highly-qualified workforce. With their hiring plan at risk they struggled to understand why candidates weren’t responding to their job ads. Most importantly they wanted to find out what could be done to change that.

The approach:

We conducted a thorough behavioral diagnosis and found several points within the ad that were actually reducing the likelihood that a person would apply.

Though we couldn’t change the hard facts, such as uncompetitive salary or working hours, we noticed a couple of mistakes in the ads that were putting applicants off. So instead of just motivating, we seeked to eliminate all the barriers to sending in CV and combine them with several behavioral principles for maximum impact.

The solution:

We redesigned the job ad using the following 5 principles:

The endowment effect

Adding in a teaser “Imagine your salary had no limits” followed by the job title ensured more people clicked to read the full ad when seeing only the headline in their feed. It gave the potential candidates an idea of what they could own, while making them afraid of missing out on it, if they didn’t apply.


Rather than focusing on high achievers, the focus shifted on low achievers who were a better fit for the job; those are individuals who don’t crave responsibility – seek a job that’s safe and stable – without too many challenges. The copy of the ads was adjusted to convey the ease of the role rather than a challenge. Taking out a section on completed education also helped not to dissuade people without university degrees.

Removing uncertainty

Rephrasing how the initial training was described (making it come across as stress-free), what the job actually entailed (very little sales, more of customer care element) helped the applicants cast aside their major fears.

The ad also addressed concerns around shady practices of smaller employers that the target group may have experienced in the past (no job contract, not getting paid on time, no paid vacation etc.)


Replacing the traditional requirements section with a story of what people would do, rather than what skills they needed to have, made the job more inviting. The new ad also highlighted the real incentives of the role – such as the fact it offered stable working hours rather than shifts (a huge plus in this field), emphasizing that candidates could plan their time worry-free.

Adding enough details such as these, makes a message more persuasive, effectively manages applicants’ expectations and increases their willingness to complete the journey.

What it actually looked like:

“You will become a skilled communicator whocan shine in social situations both at and outside of work. You will have regular 8-hour workdays, so you can comfortably plan your free time around work.”

Social proof

Adding a quote from an employee provided more details of what their initial reservation about applying was, examples of what their day looked like, and even how much they earned with their bonus. This was done to encourage people with similar worries to give it a shot too. 

The results

The new ad – which was much clearer on what the job would entail while also friendlier and more inviting – brought a three-fold rise in number and quality of résumés. The incoming applications went from 7 to 21 in just the first month.

“We not only received more CVs but the applicants were also more suitable for the role than before. Which is funny, since we took out the selecting criteria XX, position YY.”

What the client said

How can you apply it?

  • Understand the audience’s uncertainties. Make sure you get to know your audience deeply and understand what makes them tick. What are their biggest fears? Once you know that, make sure you address and remove these uncertainties within your communications.
  • Emphasize the benefits with the biggest impact. Once you understand your audience’s motivations, build on them. Highlight only the most relevant benefits which will make or break your ad and remove unnecessary information. Use clear language and be as concrete and specific as possible to make ads more persuasive.
  • Make people feel like they own your product already. Using the endowment effect makes people feel like they already own what you’re trying to sell. Whether it’s an ad or a product, help your audience imagine how it would feel if they owned it. They’ll be more likely to decide to keep it.
  • Add personal stories and social proof to win over hearts (and minds). Include a testimonial from a credible person as social proof. Make sure it acknowledges the uncertainties and concerns your audience might have, then tackle them head-on. It will help you to dispel the fears and uncertainties of your customers.