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  • Writer's pictureEva Baluchova

Are you using YOU language in your recruitment copy?

The one thing that I see repeatedly is career websites (job posts etc.) that constantly bang on about the company...

"We were established in …."

"We are an international company …."

"We .... we... we..."


"In copywriting, the term "we" is a no-no. Every line that begins with "we" should be rewritten to "you." Whether in an email or on your career website. Rephrase it. Don’t be full of yourself. Write for them. Speak directly to them.

So what do you think about these sentences?

"You will join the company established in … which means that you … ."

"You will be part of an international team that… ."

"This is your chance to be part of something big..."

"An effective career website will make your company stand out and get you noticed…."

How much better does that sound, right? Why?

First, you're speaking directly to the reader. You're demonstrating precisely what you can accomplish for them. They will see right away that yours is a firm that prioritises their needs — a company that cares.

The majority of the copy in any job ad or recruitment piece should be written in the second person.

  • first person (I, me, my, mine, we, us, our, ours)

  • second-person (you, your, yours)

For example, do you prefer a copy that says, "Through our application process, we respond to the application within 24-hours," or "You can have your feedback, whether you are fit or not by tomorrow"?

While the first copy example focuses on the company, the second example focuses on candidates and speaks directly to them. It's more personal and, thus, more effective. Getting personal in your process means better candidate experience, and in the end, that's what all of us want.

Rule number one: It's not about you; it's about them. Nobody cares. Don't be full of yourself!

Make your copy personal to your audience by using YOU language. YOU language means writing in a second language. Why is it important?

Remember that writing in the second person allows your audience to instantly relate the points in your content to their own life and personalise the ad or marketing piece.

Rule number two: Put yourself in your candidates' shoes

What do you think of when you're chatting to someone, and the other person is solely talking about himself or herself? After a while, you probably ignore what the other person says. However, suppose the topic is more balanced or about you. In that case, you will pay far more attention and participate actively in the discussion.

The same idea applies to copywriting. An ad or marketing piece that simply speaks about the company in the first person isn't as appealing to candidates as one that talks about and to those candidates in the second person.

Rule number three: Do it.

The word YOU and variations of it, such as YOUR..., should account for at least 5% of your material. You can say "I" or "We." But only after you've used the word "you" a lot. It's an excellent habit to redo every phrase with "you" at the beginning.

So when you've finished writing the copy for your recruitment piece, go back and count how many times you use "you" (or another second-person pronoun) vs. "us" (or another first-person pronoun).

As a general rule, use second-person pronouns in at least 80% of your material and first-person pronouns in no more than 20% of your copy. This will provide you with a decent balance and guarantee that your job advertisement speaks directly to your candidates.


Do you want to learn how to write engaging recruitment copy? Don’t hesitate to. check out our digital book

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