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Killing Your Talent Attraction Efforts One Job Description at a Time

Posted on in Recruiting Strategy

Post and pray.

This is the methodology far too many companies still rely on, with the belief that if you post a job description “they will come.” This simply does not work.

We must think about attracting talent differently in today’s world, particularly as research shows a developing trend suggesting that candidates are starting to behave like consumers in their evaluation of potential employers. If you want to attract the right people, with the right skills, at the right time, and ensure they fit your culture, it’s time to think like a marketer.

On the surface, job descriptions and advertisements may seem like one in the same. Let us assure you they are not. Just as your marketing team wouldn’t post a detailed list of your product specifications as a hook to generate sales, you shouldn’t post an old, stale job description with a laundry list of responsibilities and requirements to hook prospective candidates.

We aren’t saying you can skip developing job descriptions. Job descriptions add value by creating alignment around the responsibilities of the role, as well as the knowledge, skills, and abilities that define success. That being said, they should not be used to attract talent. To improve your talent attraction efforts, you need to shift to creating job ads.

Job advertisements sell. Just like any other type of ad, these carefully crafted messages are designed to pull a reader through all the way until they click apply.

A job ad should:

  • Contain a short list of essential criteria
  • Describe the challenges and opportunities of the role
  • Provide insight into your company mission, vision, and values, as well as how the role supports those
  • Give a glimpse into your culture

When developed correctly, a job ad will be simple, easy to read, and compelling. The reader should quickly be able to mentally check the boxes or self-select out.

Here are five tips to develop a successful job ad:

  1. Know your prospective candidates intimately. Create candidate personas so you are targeting the right people in the right places and ensure you are speaking their language.
  2. Refrain from using phrases such as “the successful candidate has” or “individuals in the role will.” Tailor your content to create an image in the mind of the reader by saying “You will have experience delivering” or “You will have the opportunity to solve.”
  3. Get creative with job titles. This is an ad, not a description of where this person sits on the org chart. There would likely be a higher talent attraction rate for a “coordinator of chaos” as compared to “office coordinator.”
  4. Highlight the critical nature of the role in achieving the company mission, vision and values. One of the top three reasons people leave a position is a lack of access to meaningful work. Be the company that can fulfill that need.
  5. Share elements of your culture that make your company unique and different. We can find hundreds of companies who highlight ping pong tables and free lunch. You must have a strong Employee Value Proposition and understanding of what really makes you special.

To learn more about attracting top talent, including a candidate persona template, complete the form below to download our Talent Magnet Blueprint.

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