The Perfect Ad for Finding the Perfect Employee

"I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way." - Lee Iacocca

Are you running ads that target the right type of people for your company or are you just running ads for anyone who holds a specific job title? The difference can be spectacular as I will share with you from a recent personal experience.

A little over a year ago I ran an ad for an advertising copywriter for golf courses. I got hundreds of responses, most from people who couldn’t write a thank-you card. I also got a great many people who could write but could not write sales copy. That is to say, they could accurately describe what’s in the picture but couldn’t motivate a dog to lick a bone. They all thought they could write good copy, but I had high expectations. I play golf and at one time expected to win the Masters and I wanted a Masters-level copywriter.

So I designed a different ad, an exclusionary ad, an ad that would attract the right people and drive the rest away. Before you read it, I have to tell you that within minutes of posting the ad on I got the following response:

Mr. Wood:
After reading your obnoxious ad, it’s no wonder you can’t get good people to work for a @#$^^& like you!

Followed almost immediately by:

Mr. Wood:
I don’t know who wrote the copy in your ad but it’s obvious you don’t need a copywriter, whoever wrote it is a talented genius! I would be glad to work with such a master!
Please find my resume attached.

Interestingly enough, this ad produced ten talented applicants, nine more than my more traditional previous effort.

Here’s the ad I placed:

I am looking for a Legendary, Direct Response, Golf Copywriter to Work for a Legendary Company. I am tired of wasting my time with amateurs, so please read the following with care before sending anything.
If you do not play golf at least once a week and do not have an undying passion for the game, PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND.

If you do not have samples of direct mail sales letters that you can attach with your resume, PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND.

If you are not familiar with, and agree with the philosophy of at least one the following marketing pros (Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert, or a similar direct-response genius), PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND.
If you are not willing to MOVE to the nicest county in all of Florida (Citrus County), PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND.

If you are not willing to do a sample project (for which we will compensate you) to DEMONSTRATE that your ability is a match for our needs, PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND.

If you are not willing to work your ass off, PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND.

If you are not FULL of piss and vinegar, PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND.

If you are still reading, I have an opportunity for you that transcends the ordinary.

We are not your typical company, we are LEGENDARY MARKETING, the world’s leader in golf marketing. We are growing fast, very fast! If you’re the right person, you can write your own ticket!

Current benefits include staring salary of $80K plus, with the potential for much more for the right person. We offer a flexible but challenging work environment, free golf on over 200 courses (courtesy of our wonderful partners), very low cost of living (no state taxes and you can buy a beautiful brand-new three-bedroom house with a pool on a huge lot for under $200K), and a great group of 18 dedicated, fun-loving employees.

I couldn’t give a toss about your resume but send it anyway; what I want is:

1) Samples of your direct mail work. (Can you write copy that sells?)
2) Lighting-fast turn-around on a project I provide, to see if your copy can sell a dog a bone.

If I like what I see, I want you in our office within 48 hours to discuss things further, so don’t bother sending anything if you are “tied up” for a while!

AND PLEASE don’t tell me a good writer can write anything…they can’t! Either you know how to do direct response or you don’t! If you qualify, ACT NOW. It will be the BEST career move YOU EVER MAKE!

Life is short; say what you mean, mean what you say, and target those employees who are most likely to be a good fit for your company at the exclusion of all others. The more clearly you go after the people you want, the more of them you will get!

Taking the time to write great and specific ad copy for your position will attract far fewer—and far better—candidates.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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