Think Like a Marketer to Capture Top Talent
The Lingua Franca of Recruiting
By Peter Weddle for BioSpace.com
Despite the popularity of social media these days, job postings remain the lingua franca of recruiting. Whether they appear on a corporate career site, a job board or yes – on a social media site – job postings are the principal way most employers communicate their openings to top talent. Yet, most job postings still have the look and feel of old fashioned print classifieds. They are about as appealing as a statistics textbook written in Swahili.
Job postings are not recruitment ads or position descriptions repurposed online. They are not Help Wanted signs hung in a virtual window. They are electronic sales brochures.
In order to be effective, they must convince basically passive prospects to do the one thing we humans most hate to do: change. They have to persuade them to move from the devil they know (their current boss, employer and commute) to the devil they don’t know (a new boss, employer, commute).
That feat cannot be accomplished with ads that use the vocabulary of employers. The best talent simply doesn’t relate to “requirements” and responsibilities.” They aren’t looking for a job. They are, however, (always) searching for a career advancement opportunity.
How can you structure your ad to deliver that message?
What the best talent wants to know about a position is “what’s in it for them.” So, craft your posting to answer five questions:
• What will they get to do?
• What will they get to learn?
• What will they get to accomplish?
• Whom will they get to work with?
• How will they be recognized and rewarded?
Collectively, those answers express your opening’s value proposition in a language even the most passive, high caliber prospects will understand and appreciate.
The Harmonic for Our Time
The dictionary defines the word “harmonic” as an overtone that is pleasing to the ear. In a job posting, it is the theme that runs through and integrates the information that’s provided about an opening.
Why is a harmonic important?
Because information in and of itself is seldom persuasive. But, information that has a common core element can have an extraordinary impact on the reader. It enables the different information you provide for different questions to pulse with a single, concentrated message that can break through the inattentiveness and distractions of our modern culture.
What harmonic works best?
The traditional harmonic of most recruitment ads is the Great Race. Their vocabulary gives them the overtone of a competition. “The successful candidate” will have this qualification or “the ideal applicant” will be able to perform that task.
Competition doesn’t frighten the best talent, but it doesn’t motivate them either. If you want to convince a top performer to change devils you have to entice them. And today, the best enticement is “The American Dream.”
Ironically, that dream was first enunciated in a time much like that of our recent past. It was introduced in 1931, during the Great Depression. Its author, John Truslow Adams, defined the American Dream as the belief that all Americans, regardless of their station or circumstances, have access to “a better, richer, happier life.”
Only, now they don’t. As last week’s Time magazine cover story put it, more Americans are more concerned about the current status and future prospects of their American Dream than at any other time in their lives. That’s not melodrama; that’s fact.
So, craft your job posting with a harmonic that counteracts their anxiety. In each and all of the answers to the above questions, reassure prospects that employment in your organization opens their way to “a better, richer, happier life.” Encourage them to see your opening as their pathway to the American Dream.
I realize that suggestion may seem overblown, but think about the purpose of a recruitment ad. Its goal is to convince the most reluctant of consumers that they should “buy” an organization’s value proposition as an employer. Injecting a little emotion into your pitch isn’t only appropriate, it’s absolutely essential.
Thanks for reading,
Visit me at Weddles.com
Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including WEDDLE’s 2011/12 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet, The Career Activist Republic, Work Strong, Your Personal Career Fitness System and Recognizing Richard Rabbit. Get them at Amazon.com and www.Weddles.com today.
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