Executive Search Firm

Hire Thoughts

Insights to help you build an extraordinary team.

Is Your Job Post Attracting Top Performers? (Hint: They are looking for an opportunity, not just a job.)

In this highly competitive employment market, the company using a job post to attract potential candidates must think from a marketing perspective. In fact, not a bad idea to collaborate with a marketer on your team for recruitment efforts. You may even consider using a copywriter.

Merely focusing on a list of duties and responsibilities will probably not attract top performers. Even worse, a daunting list of qualifications and requirements will not only be a deterrent, but will even rule out some people whose overall abilities might cause the hiring manager to make some trade offs.

When my executive search firm creates a description of the job we are recruiting for, we start with the idea that we are offering an opportunity. In fact, we refer to this write-up as an Opportunity Profile. Recently, I was intrigued by another recruiter’s use of the term “job invitation” and how this influences his presentation of a job opening.  

The idea of “invitation” is a great starting point in communicating your company’s hiring need. Your objective is to engage the potential candidate and draw the person in. With this approach, you are writing with the candidate’s perspective in mind, rather than the company’s. The focus is on what makes your job opening a great opportunity.

Before writing a job posting, ask these questions:

  • What does my company have to offer? (Get input from the people who are most excited about being part of the company.)
  • Why would someone want this job?
  • What motivations do we want to appeal to? (You don’t have to appeal to the masses, just to the people you want to attract.)

 A great job post contains the following:

Company Story: Briefly and engagingly tell the company’s story. What is the company’s mission? What difference is the company making in the world? Why do people enjoy being part of the company? What makes it special? What are the passions that drive the team? What is the culture like? What are the values? What assurances are available of the company’s financial state in terms of funding, profitability or growth potential? If a startup or earlier stage company, what motivated the founders to start the company?

The Role: Start with a summary of the role that states the job’s purpose or mission. In other words, why does this job exist? List the primary objectives or responsibilities. This is not a laundry list. In listing job requirements, limit these to only the most relevant and those that will help the right candidate see him- or herself in the role. Include desirable attributes or qualities that will signal to someone that the culture is a fit (or not).

Opportunity: A recruiting firm I once worked with included a section “What makes this great?” on every job post. Although the entire description should contribute to presenting the job opening as an opportunity, some aspects of the opportunity can be highlighted answering questions such as: Why would someone want to be in this role? How does the role fit into the larger mission of the company? What are the exciting challenges? What is the opportunity for a sense of ownership? What does success in the role look like? What motivations will this role satisfy? What is the difference made by this role? What are the opportunities for a sense of professional fulfillment?

A public job post is not the place for mundane details. If there are important pieces of information that contribute to a make or break situation, such as whether or not you will help with relocation, then this should be included.

A job post, whether on a job board or your company’s website, is an opportunity to invite someone to join your team. If you are excited about what your company is doing and what it has to offer, convey this with conviction and enthusiasm. This highly competitive employment market demands your best effort.

Donna White

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