Could Re-shape The Way We Look For Talent?


One of the stand-out tools talked about at this month’s Christmas meetup was This tool has been knocking on the door of my awareness all year.

Hung Lee,’s founder, told me all about it back in May at the launch of Andy Headworth’s Social Recruiting book and the conversation really stuck with me. won Best Newcomer at the National Online Recruitment Awards (NORAs) in November. Then, earlier this month at our Christmas meetup, Kasia Borowicz of The Sandpit told us about some great hires she has made with Workshape. I can’t ignore this one any longer, I thought to myself.

Hung Lee - Workshape.ioSo, it was time to have another chat with Hung. Here he is answering a few of my questions about…

Should I call you Workshape or

We’re officially But either’s fine. Just don’t call us ‘Workspace’!

What is

We’re a talent matching platform for tech. We connect employers with software developers by matching them on their ‘Workshapes’ – visual signatures of the work they want, based on time allocated over tasks.
Matched Overlay -

What made you decide to build a tool that’s so different?

You know what Kat, I don’t think we set out to do so.

Our initial thoughts was to tackle a persistent problem in the recruitment marketplace – how noisy it is for in-demand talent. Speak to any developer friend you have and they will tell you they get 30-50 contact events related to recruitment every week. Do a quick Boolean search on ‘No Recruiters, please’ on LinkedIn and you will find dozens of pages of people who are so overwhelmed by the noise in the recruitment market that they’ve taken the unprecedented step of defacing their own headlines with a message for recruiters to leave them alone!

There’s a reason why recruiters behave like this. Too often, we just like to hammer the industry and blame bad actors for ‘bad practice’. There is a systematic reason why recruiters message in the way they do (lack of customisation) and at the volume they do (mass email, via some sort mail merge software). It is because the recruitment toolkit we currently have available produces the same type of information – historical data about what this candidate has done. There is nothing at all about what he or she wants to do in future. And recruiting – of course – is necessarily about the future. It is what this person wants to do next that is important. And this information isn’t available. So recruiters have to shoot blind and message as many candidates as they can and hope to convert their 1-2% into interested candidates.

What would happen if there was a platform that was able to tell you whether they person was interested in a certain type of work, in advance of your recruitment email or cold call? What if we could present this information in an easily consumable way that doesn’t require interpretation or even much cognitive processing? The answer is it will save everyone a huge amount of time. Recruiters can be more targeted with their messages, and candidates get less noise and are subsequently more likely to engage.

So, to answer the question, Workshape is different from other recruiting tools because we are trying to solve a different problem. We are trying to understand what a candidate wants to do, rather than what he has done.

How many techies have you matched up with the right companies so far?

6622 as of 10-12-2015.

Wow, That’s a lot of matches! What sort of businesses are using Workshape?

We’ve got huge variety in the types of businesses that are using Workshape. Of course, we are being heavily used by Startups – such as Qubit, Rocket Internet, Blinkist, Brainly and the like. But also we’ve had bigger companies – M&S Digital Services, Government Digital Services using the product. We think our market is basically any business that hires software developers.

What’s coming next in 2016?

We’ve got really exciting plans in 2016. We’ll kick it off with the release of possibly the largest developer sentiment survey ever conducted (over 15,000 people have gave us their opinion on what they want from employers), continue our expansion into the EU and build on the customer base we currently have in Germany & the Netherlands.

We’re also close to several partnership deals which will see Workshape technology implemented on other services. It’s exciting times!

That sounds like something a lot of employers would be interested in. What should recruiters do if they want to ask you something / connect / give a try?

Have them email me directly on or if they prefer Twitter DM @HungLee. Alternatively, you can just apply for an employer account and give us a try.

You can meet Hung at our first UK Sourcers meetup of 2016 on 26th January in London. Register now to secure your place.

How to Write Job Advertising Copy – Tips from Alastair Cartwright

Recruitment advertisers often complain about the response they get from advertising online, especially on job boards. Much of this can be attributed to whether or not they are advertising on the right site. Does their chosen job board have an audience relevant to the position they are trying to fill?

Let’s be honest though, response is usually dictated by the quality of the ads you write and post online. When looking at recruitment ads on job boards or corporate career sites the overwhelming impression I get is…

Why are they still copy and pasting job descriptions?!

Listen up people – a job ad is NOT a job description, they perform different roles. A job ad is designed to grab people’s attention and get them interested in your opportunity.

Do not copy and paste the job description into an online ad.Make it your goal to write separate job ads for every role you advertise online.

You want some help with this? Ok here we go…

Key points when writing a recruitment ad online:

  • People read 25% slower online. Therefore cut the copy of the ad. Keep it short and snappy.
  • Break up your ad using paragraph breaks and bullet points. Large blocks of text are almost impossible to read online.
  • When people are looking at job ads online they are scanning for information. Therefore get the important information at the top of the ad and use keywords.
  • Finally always get someone else to read through your ad to check for spelling mistakes and grammar.

I encourage all our clients to work to a simple structure when writing an online job ad. Break the ad down into 5 paragraphs, ideally no more than 2 lines per paragraph:


“Attention Grabber”, insert keywords, use positive adjectives, generate interest. 85% of your readers will only read the first two lines, what are the most interesting aspects of the job? Don’t start the ads with “corporate waffle”.


“Set the scene” – refer to the job itself, the company, culture, market, or sector.


Highlight the key aspects of the job in terms of responsibility, areas covered, support, opportunities and status, etc.


Include a clear outline of the essential requirements for the successful candidate.


Outline the package offered including all benefits.

Not having salary information on a job ad will adversely effect the response. However many companies have a policy of not publishing any salary information, so there is little you can do.

Including salary information will increase response and improve the quality of responses, so there is an opportunity to differentiate against competitors.

Basic choices of salary presentation are:

  • a number: £37,000
  • a guide: C £37,000
  • a range: £30-40K
  • a floor: £30K+
  • a ceiling: Up to £40K
  • an open ceiling: Up to £40K+

Don’t forget a call to action

Finally, make sure the candidates know what to do next. There needs to be an explicit call to action at the end of each ad.

Good luck and remember most recruitment ads are woeful – it is easy to differentiate yourself online!

This post was originally written in January 2013 by Alastair Cartwright for the UK Sourcers New Year Sourcing Assignments and shared in the UK Sourcers LinkedIn group.

See Alastair run a session using data to help you write better job ads at Discover Sourcing in September 2013