10 Ways to Get People Interested in a Not-so-Hot Job Opportunity

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I present quite often on how to get people interested in jobs, also known as “employer branding.” When doing these presentations, I usually get some variation of the following question: “How do I get people interested in a dead-end job?”

Maybe the job pays peanuts. Perhaps there are no real benefits. It might even be a job most people would simply rather not do. I try to help by outlining candidate personas, employer branding campaigns, and editorial calendars for recruitment marketing – but I can guarantee many audience members are thinking, “Sure, but this won’t work for my jobs.”

Yes, it will! To prove it to you, I’d like to share the ten following tips to help you get people interested in any job opportunity, anywhere, anytime. Much of the information contained below actually comes from fellow audience members – read: real recruiters – who were kind enough to chime in on the subject.

1. For a $10-an-Hour Job With No Benefits

As one recruiter put it, your job is to give candidates something to look forward to. That could be something as small as free sodas in the break room or as grand as meaningful impact on the world (ideal for nonprofits!). One recruiter shared the success he had simply telling applicants they could wear what they wanted and listen to their own music while packing boxes in the warehouse – a less-than-glamorous job for sure.

2. For People Who Would Prefer Not to Have a Job at All

The Renaissance may be long over, but there are many artists still in our midst. To those who would rather sketch or sing, your not-so-attractive job may be the perfect way for them to pursue their art while still feeding their families.

3. For the Opposite of a Desk Job

Hiring a waste collector? Need someone to clean out port-a-potties? Emphasize the outdoor nature of the work, or the nobility of taking on a dirty job that someone has to do. Many folks would rather march to the beat of their own drums. Maybe you can give them the rhythm they need to do so.

4. For a Job Most Would Turn Down at First Blush

Trying to sell someone on an industry you (and they) think is abhorrent? Take advice from those who have to recruit animal testers or fill roles in the tobacco industry: Emphasize how much the candidate is needed by the company. For jobs no one else wants, you need to make candidates feel very important. That may also require shelling out a little more in salary.

5. For a Job That Seems Devoid of Meaning

You simply have to find the meaning. Look no further than Mike Rowe, the Dirty Jobs guy. Dude has parlayed a chin dimple into a highly coveted career where he basically just offers gratitude to a group of people who’ve gone constantly overlooked.

Meaning is how a chain of slaughterhouses becomes “a protein company that feeds the world.” It’s how a small HR tech marketing agency strives to “make work better.”

You can also make the job more meaningful by offering some unconventional but highly desirable benefits. Try some of the following:

  1. Flexible scheduling
  2. A set schedule
  3. Job-sharing
  4. Work-from-home hours
  5. Free or low-cost food
  6. Rides to work
  7. Proximity to candidate’s home or school
  8. No dress code
  9. No phone work
  10. All phone work
  11. No computer skills needed
  12. No set offices
  13. Private offices
  14. Lots of coworker interaction
  15. Little or no coworker interaction
  16. Results only work environment (ROWE)
  17. Onsite gym or subsidized gym membership
  18. Health coverage
  19. No customer interaction
  20. The ability to watch TV while working
  21. The ability to listen to music while working
  22. The ability to surf social media while working
  23. A schedule that matches school schedules or daycare schedules
  24. Discounts on company merchandise or services
  25. Access to the latest books/games/music/software/tech/movies
  26. A company phone
  27. A company car
  28. A company computer
  29. Contests
  30. Pay for performance
  31. Meetings or social gatherings
  32. A recognition program
  33. Programs that have defined timelines and goals
  34. Continuing formal education (tuition reimbursement, internal training, certification support)
  35. Continuing informal education (conference stipends, online training, book allowance)
  36. Access to reading clubs, cooking classes, technology classes, or similar classes
  37. Lunch-and-learns
  38. Willing to hire the formerly incarcerated
  39. Willing to hire former stay-at-home mothers
  40. Willing to hire retirees
  41. Willing to hire veterans
  42. Willing to hire LGBTQ people
  43. Willing to hire those without formal degrees
  44. Willing to hire those with gaps in their resumes
  45. “20 percent time” for entrepreneurial employees
  46. Mentoring programs
  47. Volunteer opportunities

6. For a Job That Will Suck the Life Out of You

Offer candidates a picture of what their life might look like after they complete their mission. Perhaps the job will require 60-hour weeks for two years, but after that the employee will have their pick of jobs within the company, including management opportunities. Maybe it will be very difficult to do the job initially, but once the employee has mastered the necessary skills they’ll be able to move on to other things.

7. For a Temporary Job That’s Just Plain Hard

What is the payoff? If there’s no payoff at all, good luck to you. Usually, however, temporary jobs that are especially arduous will reward successful employees with permanent employment or supervisory responsibilities – and a commensurate pay bump. Market the payoff and the life lessons learned from sticking it out.

8. For a Job With No Discernible Upside

The same line of thinking behind “even if you only work out once a week, you’re still doing better than the person on the couch” applies here. Even if you’re doing the worst job you can imagine, it’s still better than doing nothing at all. In fact, the worst jobs can prepare us for the best. My summer spent calling tanning salons all over the US made it easier for me to jump into selling my own company when the time came.

9. For a Job Where You Can’t Use Any of Your Normal Tactics

I’ve had people ask me about how to work with jobs that require security clearance or jobs that require candidates who spend all day away from any media at all. I cannot answer the latter, but the former requires judicious use of boards (if any) and lots of under the radar branding.

However, the one thing these recruiters can control is their own emails and phone calls to the candidates. While this helps less with the sourcing portion of the recruiting puzzle, it does offer the chance to paint a beautiful picture of what the job could look like. With the money you’ve saved not using every board and ad under the sun, you can hire a copywriter to make your emails sing.

10. How to Hire for the Same Old Job in a Brand New Region

Build a candidate persona. Many have heard my story of the Midwest pharmacy company that wanted to expand on both coasts. Using the same tactics to sell a job that’s 10 in Minnesota, a 7 in New York City, and a 6 in California won’t work. Instead, find out what drives candidates in each location and tailor your message accordingly.

A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Maren Hogan is founder and CEO of Red Branch Media. You can read more of her work on Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, and her blog, Marenated.

Read more in Employer Branding

Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Hogan speaks and writes on all career and workforce related subjects. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency that serves clients in the U.K., Africa, China, Israel, Europe and North America. Primarily focused on the Human Resources and Global Workforce vendors, Red Branch Media handles clients of all shapes and sizes.
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