In the current economic climate one of the biggest concerns for most every employer is finding enough quality employees. With employment rates at a 60 year high it appears that applicants can have their pick of positions, often pitting prospective employers against each other in an effort to increase compensation packages.
So what do you do when you have a job opening? If you’re like most companies you get your HR person (department?) to write a job description as the basis for a job listing.
And here is where the problem starts
Job listings are generally formulaic, most just consisting of a list of responsibilities and as a consequence they are boring to write and boring to read. Your copy reads like an AP English essay, and whilst it may be grammatically and factually correct, no one wants to read it! In short it sucks! And if your listing sucks then the applicant pool is also going to suck. Why? Because boring ad’s attract boring applicants.
The other mistake that almost every employer is making is that they are trying to hire a skill set not a person. It’s “easy” to write a page describing what the last guy who had the job did, but you’re making the assumption that you’re the only game in town and that a job description is enough to attract a potential candidate. You’re wrong! With so many potential opportunities around they have likely seen dozens of job adverts just like yours and are getting fed up of being treated like a number. What they are really looking for is somewhere they will “fit”, somewhere they will actually enjoy going to work, so you need to think differently.
It’s also possible that your job ad is great, but the application process is driving people away. While you don’t want everyone, qualified or not, to be able to apply with one click, you also need to be mindful that job seekers are applying to dozens of jobs and a laborious process can deter even the most qualified candidates. If you require a cover letter, resume, as well as a large application form that repeats the same information, candidates may decide they don’t have the time.
So what’s the solution?
You need to change your paradigm and stop describing what you’re looking for and start describing who you’re looking for. I tell my clients “Hire for character, train for skill”. Skills can be taught, character can’t. You either have it or you don’t. So in your job listings start talking about your company culture, your core values and what it is that motivates the people that work for you. Make it obvious the sort of person that will “fit”. If you all like to socialize together outside of work hours – let them know. If you are a work hard/play hard culture, make sure applicants know about it before they apply and know they can’t expect to leave at 4:30pm everyday.
That’s all great Simon, but I think I need an example
Well funny you should ask, because there are a couple of job listing examples I think are great at explaining culture.
Careers: We’re Hiring!
Thanks for your interest in Codeless!
Here are a few open positions:
Hi there, We’re looking for a writer. Preferably, one that doesn’t suck.
Seriously though. This person should be:
- A Digital Native: Ya gots to know how to use the computers. We’ll teach you the technical marketing stuff. But we don’t give Microsoft Office lessons. (Because we don’t use Microsoft Office. Because it’s awful.)
- Marketing Obsessed: You better read Kissmetrics, Unbounce, AdEspresso, etc. Because we write for Kissmetrics, Unbounce, AdEspresso, etc.
- Comfortable Writing. A Lot: Average content is 2k+ words. Each typically takes ~4 hours. Most of that is research and prep. Sounds boring… because it is. You have to derive some weird pleasure out of that process. Most don’t. I don’t blame them.
- We’re a B2B content company. We create content — primarily long-form, data-driven articles and lead magnets — for some of the web’s top SaaS & service companies.
- Personality is a plus. We write about boring, dry, technical topics. But that doesn’t mean the content should be boring. In fact, we go out of our way to spice things up. Storytelling is a must. Inappropriate jokes and pop culture reference almost always work, too.
This position is virtual. You can be sitting on a beach for all we care. You could stay up all night and write after some rave (crazy kids). But your writing better be on time. And attention to detail better be spot on.
Otherwise, we’re fun and laid back. Life’s too short.
I hope this sounds interesting. At least, not ungodly boring like that last position you just read about at some nameless, faceless, insurance company.
Apply here: https://getcodeless.com/writer
Questions? Lemme know.
Thanks and hope to talk soon,
So in this job listing Getcodeless, uses a lot of humor and even pokes fun at some of its competition, but what it does most effectively is explain some of its culture and core values – they like people to hit deadlines, although they don’t care where the work is actually completed; they like the work place to be both fun and relaxed; they recognize that a lot of what they do is boring, but they are not boring; they like to think that they have a personality.
Here’s another one.
Other companies have “perks”; We just have the Carrot experience. Of course we cover the basic benefits…
While you are working your hardest on opportunities that will define your career, Carrot makes sure your environment provides for you. On day one, you’re indoctrinated into our family with a welcome kit. Soon after, we brand you as one of our own. Day-to-day, you’ll enjoy a bright, open layout, killer views, and unconditional happiness. You will do your best work, and you will work your hardest … and there will be plenty to celebrate.
If you follow us on Instagram, you know that we feed people, a lot… in honor of a project launch, for anyone celebrating a #Carrotversary, or just for hustling hard. While our fully-funded committees are partially to blame (slash thank), our big deck events also keep our bellies content … in addition to many parties throughout the year.
I’m sure you can pretty quickly tell that the demographic that Carrot is aiming for is younger Millennials, who like to work hard/play hard, have a creative bent and appreciate the recognition.
So in your next job listing try and add some humor and company personality. Let potential applicants know what it’s like to work for your company, not just what you expect them to be doing.
If you are struggling with attracting the right candidates to your organization give Jager a call on (440) 385-6737 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what we might be able to do for you.