15 Examples of Good Recruiting Ads

Explore 15 proven job ad campaigns to attract top talent. Ditch generic job listings and build a skilled workforce with these strategic and creative recruitment marketing examples from Apple to IKEA!

Parminder Jassal
March 21, 2024

Key Takeaways

A great job ad that cuts through the noise and gets the attention of top talent does a lot more than just list out the responsibilities. It focuses on storytelling to spark a connection and show, not just tell why your company is the place to be.

We've compiled 15 stellar recruiting ads that go above and beyond to grab attention and get those applications rolling in. We'll break down what makes each ad so effective and give you a toolbox of inspiration for your next hiring campaign.

Why Are Recruitment Ads So Powerful?

A great recruitment ad delivers on several fronts, all in the service of finding the talent best fit for the job. At a time when most recruiters rank improving candidate quality as their top priority, here’s why a compelling ad can make all the difference.

Cut Through the Clutter 

A recruitment ad with a clear message, strong visuals, and a compelling proposition cuts through the online cacophony. It’s worth putting in the extra effort to make creative job ads that stand out and give you an edge over competitors

Communicate Culture, Attract Passion

People crave purpose and a sense of belonging when looking for a new job. A good recruitment ad must, therefore, go beyond listing skills, experience, and benefits. 

It must showcase your company culture, values, and day-to-day work environment. It has to pique interest and attract those who are truly passionate about the role and the company. 

Target the Right Talent, Save Time & Money

Generic job postings attract anyone with a pulse. Targeted ads, however, allow you to reach the exact talent pool you're looking for. 

This saves you time and resources while ensuring you're attracting the most qualified candidates––not just anyone applying for the sake of applying. 

Targeted recruitment ads are powered by analytics, but despite 85% of companies reporting that HR analytics are important, only 42% believe their organization is strong in this area.

Build an Emotional Connection

Facts tell, but stories sell. Recruiter ads, and video ads in particular, allow you to showcase the human side of your company and the impact your team makes in the world. This emotional connection can be the tipping point for a top candidate on the fence.

Boost Your Employer Brand

A strong employer brand is a magnet for top talent and helps you retain your best employees. A 2022 Glassdoor report found that 69% of employees surveyed say it’s ‘extremely/very important’ that their employer represents a brand they are proud to support

A well-crafted recruitment ad can be the first impression that shapes that brand and builds a reputation for the company as a great place to work, learn, and grow!

Get Inspired By These 15 Great Recruitment Ads

Many companies have been remarkably clever with their recruitment marketing strategies that give us a wealth of insights and motivation.

Here's a look at 15 memorable recruitment campaigns that really stood out.

1. Waste Creative: Virtual Animal Crossing Office 

Media company Waste Creative made stepping into a new world possible with an experiential recruitment ad––a virtual office tour! The company recreated its quirky office space in the popular game ‘Animal Crossing’, bypassing traditional recruiting channels to showcase its culture and attract fresh talent who appreciate a bit of fun.

The painstakingly crafted recreation of the actual office, complete with authentic details like artwork and whiteboards, was a playful window into the agency's fun, offbeat culture. 

Waste Creative also embedded a creative internship brief that incentivized players to put their skills to the test for a paid opportunity.

This smart contest element transformed the concept from mere branding into an actual recruiting pipeline. The novel approach achieved remarkable virality and interest that likely far exceeded standard job postings.

2. Sprout Social's Work-Life Balance Video

One of the most powerful ways to attract candidates is by showing, instead of telling, what life is like at your company. Sprout Social nailed this with an engaging video populated by real employee testimonials championing the company's flexibility and work-life balance. 

Instead of the standard fare of dry corporate messaging, these authentic first-hand accounts provided access to day-to-day experiences and allowed prospective candidates a clear understanding of where they stood in relation to Sprout's culture. 

From crisp images to fluid editing, The production quality further added to building credibility and trust for Waste Creative. 

3. Keen Project Solutions' Provocative Statement

Keen Project Solutions made this striking statement in a recruiter ad:

"Smartest person in the room? Might be time to find a new room". 

The ad’s in-your-face hook immediately piques curiosity. Its bold assertion challenges the complacency around a candidate’s current company and job.

This thought-provoking copy appeals uniquely to high achievers while defining the company as a place that continually pushes people to greater achievements. It does all this without even naming particular roles and responsibilities.  

The ad copy moves to the CTA with another thought-provoking proposition: “If you are ready to think differently, it’s time to think Keen”. 

Overall, this is a recruitment ad that broadcasts a confident and aspirational vibe.

4. IKEA's Assemble Your Career Instructions

Home furnishing retailer IKEA is lauded for many customer-centric innovations. Its ’career instructions’ campaign was an example of clever targeting and brand alignment

Rather than defaulting to online job postings sure to get lost in the noise, IKEA slipped recruitment content directly into the boxes delivering products that customers eagerly awaited.

By embedding ‘assembly instructions’ for putting together one's professional future, IKEA organically reached passionate brand advocates at a moment they were enthusiastically engaging with the company. 

The creative instructions mirrored IKEA's iconic furniture assembly schematics, providing a charming personal touch while staying unmistakably on-brand

This approach connected with an audience predisposed to IKEA and the results were astounding: over 4,000 relevant leads which cost nothing in media expenditure. 

5. Ogilvy's Greatest Salesperson Contest

For an advertising titan like Ogilvy & Mather, finding top-tier sales talent required it to raise the bar with an appropriately ambitious and innovative recruiting challenge

The ’World's Greatest Salesperson’ campaign accomplished just that by tasking candidates with proving their chops in a fun, unique way. 

Promoted through targeted digital ads and video content, Ogilvy invited prospective hires to film themselves delivering the best possible sales pitch… for an ordinary brick

This creative contest allowed Ogilvy to see who genuinely had the persuasive skills and ingenuity to sell even the most rudimentary product through their personality and messaging savvy alone.

A three-month paid internship and a chance to pitch at Cannes Lions added a high-stakes incentive for participants to bring their A-game.

6. Volkswagen's Undercarriage Recruitment Message 

When searching for talented mechanics to fill open roles, Volkswagen devised an ingenious way to speak directly to its target audience. They purposefully distributed cars bearing a surprise message only visible from below the vehicle to service centers across Germany.

This guerrilla approach ensured the workers Volkswagen wanted to connect with––mechanics inspecting and repairing vehicle undercarriages––got to see the ad. 

Not only did the stunt naturally reach a remarkably niche hiring pool during their day-to-day workflows, but it also exemplified the creativity and cultural personality Volkswagen wished to convey as an employer brand.

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7. Red 5 Studios' Personalized iPod Pitch

As a relatively small gaming studio competing against industry titans for talent, Red 5 realized that it was tough to compete with expensive agency recruiters and traditional hiring methods. It settled, instead, on an ultra-personalized approach to strongly persuade their ideal candidates.

After meticulously researching and identifying 100 developer ‘dream hires’, the Red 5 team compiled personalized voice recordings from the company's CEO addressing why each person caught their eye. They put these custom messages onto iPods and shipped them to the prospective candidates. 

In an era of impersonal outreach, this individualized, informed VIP treatment from a studio head made an unforgettable impression. It paid off tremendously, as nearly 100% of the recipients responded directly to the CEO.

8. Uncle Grey's Gaming Ambassadors

After trying its luck with job postings that got ignored by its target developer audience, Danish agency Uncle Grey conducted research on where this community spent time. Based on the findings, the agency sponsored respected players and ambassadors within the hugely popular ‘Fortress 2’ online game.

These key influencers raised awareness of job opportunities at Uncle Grey through in-game advertising, distributing branded digital content, and promoting the agency's relevant career benefits. 

Within a week, Uncle Grey received over 50 qualified applicants - including their eventual hires - for those precious front-end roles. By meeting candidates where they naturally congregated and tapping personal brands they recognized, Uncle Grey resonated with them far more than throwaway job posts ever could.

9. Royal Marines' “99.99% Need Not Apply” Campaign  

To find elite candidates capable of enduring the grueling Commando training, the Royal Marines ran a daring recruitment campaign. The ’99.99% Need Not Apply’ creative campaign boldly expressed how extremely difficult and rare it is to be a Commando. 

Rather than attracting as many candidates as it could, the campaign spoke through a brutally honest filter to weed out the unmotivated. Effectively, those who applied believed they were in the exclusive 0.01% who could take on the rigors of the role.

10. Apple's Playful Microsoft Dig

Apple's infamous ’Close your windows, open a few doors’ print ad took a perfectly pithy but tasteful jab at their chief rival, Microsoft. 

Clever copy grabs focus front and center, while additional copy encourages innovators to apply and fleshes out details. The campaign became just one of the many iconic pieces in Apple’s advertising history. 

Simple yet supremely confident, it epitomized the witty, cool employer brand and culture that drew creatives and mavericks to the company.

11. Pure Home & Living: The Geometric Staircase Brainteaser

Companies hiring designers or creatives can take inspiration from this brilliantly simple graphic. It conceals an embedded challenge to screen for candidates possessing the required visual perception and abstract thinking skills. 

At first glance, the odd figure seems little more than the cross-section of a seashell. Yet a closer, more imaginative examination does suggest a spiraling staircase.

This clever brain teaser is almost a conceptual art piece. Combined with a clean, clear, and understated copy, it was bound to hook the right audience. 

In this particular case, the challenge also reflects exactly what the company is looking for - interior decorators and designers who can craft simple, beautiful solutions out of the abstract.

12. City of LA's Intentionally Botched Graphic Designer Ad

When hiring a graphic designer responsible for creating professional marketing assets, one might imagine an organization wanting to show off its already high level of design. 

However, the City of LA did exactly the opposite, by creating an intentionally sloppy ad in Microsoft Paint.

Evoking chuckles from both people with and without trained design sensibilities, it was clear this ad was not a mistake but rather a hilariously self-aware effort

The poor formatting, off-brand graphics, and inconsistent sizing, color, and font (Comic Sans, known for being a font people love to hate) appear completely egregious to anyone in the field. By making nearly every design element objectively ‘bad’, it instantly communicated the team’s need for a graphic designer able to plug all the holes.  

13. Eurowings Airline Job ‘Tinderization’

In a fun example of connecting candidate experience to modern user behaviors, European airline Eurowings paired up with the popular dating app, Tinder. Roles were transformed into swipeable profiles complete with appealing visuals, snappy headlines, and dossiers of key details.

Candidates could quickly browse and swipe right on intriguing positions or left to move on. Those swiping right received a match, unlocking more content about the role and company.

Eurowings positioned itself as a new-age, user-centric employer, with managing director Michael Knitter calling their approach “digital, modern, contemporary and perhaps a bit cheeky with a wink”

14. H&R Block’s Careful Copy Ulta Beauty's Employer Brand-Focused Job Posts

A great recruiter ad doesn’t need to involve a huge stunt––just altering your copy a little bit can make quite a difference. H&R did so with a simple, employee-centric hiring post.

Instead of beginning with talking about what position it’s hiring for, or the type of candidate it’s looking for, H&R focused on the employee. When most recruiter ads focus on what they want from you, it can be effective to turn the tables and tell prospective employees what you offer them

Although the role mentioned is an ‘associate team leader’, it simplifies this to “Now hiring team leaders” to better express the function and future potential of the role.

15. Lyft’s Clever Billboard

A great Lyft recruiting campaign aimed to persuade workers with standard jobs to become Lyft drivers. A bold pink billboard displayed a simple, crisp message

It cleverly signaled to potential drivers that they didn’t need to follow the usual ‘nine-to-five’ workday––without even having to spell it out. With many aspiring to have more flexibility and control over their work hours, this directly appealed to their interests. 

Go Beyond Ads: Recruit Better With Unmudl!

We’ve seen how creative recruitment ads grab attention and attract potential employees, but you can go even further to build a truly skilled and diverse workforce. 

Unmudl goes beyond ads and connects you with a potent talent pool of working learners ready to upskill and join your team. 

Our platform bridges the gap between employers and community colleges, creating custom training programs that address your specific needs. 

Our team of experts identifies skill gaps, manages partnerships with colleges, and designs curricula that perfectly align with your requirements. 

Contact Unmudl today––your partner for talent development and achieving your recruitment goals!

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