Want to Attract Top-Level Talent? Write Like a Marketer.
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Last week, we looked at some of the ways that online applications – and the subsequent lack of follow up, can hurt your recruiting efforts. This week, we will look at using a marketing approach to posting job descriptions that attract rock star talent.
When posting a job online, do you think about who might read it?
Of course, you do. If you don’t, then you really may need to take some time to evaluate why you are posting openings at all.
Before you post, you sit down and answer all of those questions I mentioned last week; the ‘who, what, where, why, and when’ of the position. When you have formulated all of the possible answers to these questions, you, or the hiring manager, work up a neatly summarized description with a few bullet points here and there. Then you post it on LinkedIn, Indeed or whatever job board you decide to use, and then you wait. Applications come flooding in and you may begin to notice that many of the candidates do not seem to fill the ‘rock star’ ideal you had envisioned. Dejected, you take a second look at the posting and begin to notice that the written details of the job you posted aren’t necessarily geared to interest the types of candidates you are actually looking for. Before you revise the description and post it again, after taking a moment to send an automated ‘we went another direction’ message to those applicants who did not come close to fitting the criteria, take a second to ask yourself, ‘What would a marketer do?’
In marketing and advertising, those who create written information with the goal of obtaining an action from the reader, have to carefully consider the information presented and how the reader will receive it. When I say ‘receive’ I do not mean whether the information shows up in their inbox or in their physical mailbox. I mean the way that the reader will internalize the information upon reading it.
Would you apply for the job you posted?
Put yourself in the rock star candidate’s shoes and read your post. Did your description include a bunch of ‘position will require Microsoft Word skills, proper understanding of the English language, ability to breathe without being reminded’ statements? Did you mean to say, ‘We are looking for a highly skilled candidate that will engage our current and potential customers by using strategy to create informative communications’? The latter statement is far more likely to attract the type of candidates that you are looking for.
You MUST think about who you are trying to reach with your post.
If you’re trying to reach an entry-level candidate with little to no formal education, that will receive constant supervision, then the first description might suffice. If you want an innovative rock star that will launch the organization with occasional guidance, then the second description is a far better choice. Talented people want to be able to envision themselves positively in potential roles. The first description gives the vision of sitting in an office; staring at a computer and having your boss stare over your shoulder and telling you what to click next. While some people may want that, those are not the candidates that will make a difference for your company.
Flaunt pain points and benefits to the employee for solving them.
Attracting highly skilled employees requires a fantastic job description that accurately describes your pain points for the potential employee to solve. Another important aspect of the job description should illustrate how you will solve an employee’s pain points too. Employee pain points can include financial stability, a need for health insurance, and an environment that fosters continuous learning. Make sure that your post addresses these things. Many highly skilled candidates won’t even bother applying to a job that doesn’t list a pay range since they see this as their time being potentially wasted with an offer much lower than expected. Some may not apply because you don’t list that you offer the awesome benefits packages that you have. Candidates want a mutually beneficial relationship with their employers. They don’t want to just hear about what they can do for your company. They also want to know what your company can do for them.
In his previously mentioned interview, Sebastien Girard, Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Workforce Planning for Parkland Health and Hospital System, agreed, “Candidates want to make sure that you understand what they need. We are in an employee market now, not an employer market. Having that trend changing from what it was even just five years ago, it’s more of a ‘what’s in it for them’ versus ‘what’s in it for the company’ approach.”
When you take the time and effort to think about whom you are trying to entice when creating a job posting, you will attract the right candidates.
After all, why wouldn’t you put time and effort into the job description? Think about how much time and effort it would take to post the wrong type of job description, go through the interview process, realize that you didn’t attract the right person for the job and have to start at square one.
Columns reflect the opinions of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Human Resources IQ.