Job Advertising - Attracting your Perfect Candidate

Karen McTackett By Karen McTackett, 18th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

It is easy to find help for employees; how to write an application, how to interview, and on and on. But what about the employer? With potential employees fighting each other for the best jobs, how do you make sure your job is one that the best candidates are fighting FOR? By giving them the information they want.

What do Candidates Want to Know?

I've been a job seeker, I've been a recruiter, I've even worked for Australia's largest online job advertiser and I can tell you there are four questions that every potential employee wants... no, NEEDS to have answered before they will apply for your position. I will reveal those four questions and how you can answer them in a moment, first let me point something out to you. If you do not answer these four very important questions in your ad, you will probably still get applicants but they will not be as high quality. Sure, you may get lucky and find your gem in that group, but why risk it? That gem will apply either way so why not see if they sparkle as bright when surrounded by other gems? You want the best role fit, right? Then give the gems what they want because if you do not, most gems will “save” your position... as a backup.

You see, most of the GEMS are not desperate. They are looking in their field for a position that gives them all they want. If your position seems interesting but does not answer all their questions, they will take note and save it but they will keep looking for something else. If they cannot find that something else, then down the track (if they remember), they may come back to your position. So you are left with only a few possible gems out of the plethora that were originally looking. So let’s have a look now at what they want to know.

Question 1: Who are you?

This one is the easiest to answer yet the one that is most often overlooked! Your potential employee needs to know who they are considering working for. Large, multi-million dollar companies are not too concerned about this because their name is all that is required. Try this exercise. I am going to write the name of a company and I want you to think of everything that comes to mind about that company. Take about a minute and see what you come up with. Ready?


How did you go? Did you think – large company, multiple locations, well-known, sell toys, huge range? And hundreds of other words you may have come up with. Now let’s try again. Same exercise. Ready?


How did you go this time? Did you think – maybe toys, because you have ToyWorld stuck in your head? Maybe you thought mechanic? Anything else? Probably not because I don’t know if that actually is a real company, I made it up. The point is, if you are a small business, you may be known locally but your business name alone will not be enough. The problems this present are in relation to your reliability as an employer. Are you a new business? Are you a growing business? Are you top of your specialised field? As a minimum, here is what your potential employee wants to know:

* Your company name
* How established is your company
* How large is your company
* What does your company do

Here’s an example of how you can easily cover all this information in one short paragraph. Of course, more is better but I am talking about MINIMUM information that your potential employees need to know:

"Tom’s Workshop has been providing quality customised home carpentry services in the eastern region for over 15 years. As a two person outfit, we are now expanding our business into landscape design and creation."

All done in two lines. The beauty of this section of your ad is that it rarely needs to change. Once you write a Company introduction you are happy with, save it. Then it is as simple as copy and paste every time you place a new ad.

Question 2: What do I have to do?

Your potential employee would simply like to know what the job involves. What are the hours, what are the duties, what are the expectations? Your ad should include the below as a minimum:

* Employment type: Full-Time, Part-Time, Causal, Contract, etc
* Days and hours
* Duties of the role
* Duties outside job description
* Expectations

It is very important to provide accurate information and to ANSWER the question. So, if the hours will be variable, do not just say “variable”. What does “variable” mean? It could mean your potential employee will only work 4 hours one week and 50 the next. It could also mean they get to choose their hours. So be clear. If it is variable, include a range between minimum to maximum hours dependent on (availability, workload, etc) so there is no confusion. This same rule applies for days of work and hours of operation such as a rotating roster. If the employee will have an option as to when they work, ensure you mention any restrictions. For example, list your hours of operations: “25 hours/week – Hours of operation 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday. Working 5 hours a day across Monday to Friday – Flexible start time to suit you.”

When listing duties, it is just as important to be thorough as it is to be honest! List all daily duties and duties that would be required on a regular basis. Don’t think that if you leave out some of the more mundane stuff, that is OK because that mundane stuff may be the difference between a happy worker and an unseen potential injury.

Your potential employee wants to know what is expected of them. Are there KPI’s or targets that must be achieved? This is the one area where detail can be harmful so be careful and limiting with what you include here. For instance, your potential employee would definitely want to know that one of their expectations is to: “Achieve monthly KPI’s in Quality and Adherence” or “Achieve Sales Targets and Cross Sell Targets in alignment with client needs”. They do not NEED to know that they must “achieve an adherence rate of 98% and a Quality rate of 100%” or “achieve a sales conversion rate of 65% with a cross sales conversion rate of 80%”. Why? These numbers are based on particular products or campaigns. To someone with experience, they may seem easy or they may seem ridiculously inconceivable based on expectations from previous roles.

Question 3: What do I need?

Your potential employee needs to know what the requirements are for the role. Do they require and qualifications, training, tickets, equipment, experience, etc? This is the most important place to be thorough, so be THOROUGH. If you forget to include something, you will again be wasting both your time and the time of many applicants if you are looking for those with a specification you did not ask for. Another lesson here is to not assume that your time is more valuable than that of a job seeker’s. Did that comment sting a little? If so, come down a few notches to where we are all people. Yes, you are busy. Of course you are, you are running a business. But job seeking is extremely time consuming for no monetary reward until you get a “yes”. Some job hunters spend a full working day of 8 hours searching for jobs and applying. It is just as frustrating for them (and probably more so) if they spend an hour writing up a brilliant cover letter for you to find out that they never had a chance. What should you include here?

* Qualifications
* Licenses and tickets
* Other requirements
* Personality traits
* Experience

Qualifications include any degree, certificate or training that is relevant or may be relevant. Include the obvious licenses such as a Driver’s license but don’t forget about other licenses such as MR/HR license, Forklift license, boat license or anything else that will be necessary in the role. The other thing to include is any tickets, cards, etc. Make a full list of all these elements before you even consider putting your ad in front of possible candidates. Other requirements may include providing their own tools, uniforms, safety gear, work boots, adhering to a dress code, a knowledge of geographic locations, mechanical aptitude, the latest phone technology, the list is endless.

Personality traits are subjective, but they are nice to include and may weed out a few that were never going to fit in. I would recommend steering clear of things like, “great personality, reliable, willing to learn, etc.” Never before in history has someone decided not to apply for a position because they have an annoying personality, are unreliable or don’t want to learn how to do the job. If you do include anything like that, it would be for aesthetics and fluff only.

Experience is the tricky one. Why? Because it may be indirect age discrimination to request that someone has a certain number of years experience unless it is for exempt reasons. Instead of putting in an arbitrary number that gets you nowhere and may breach discrimination laws, ask for experience itself – what do you want your employee to be able to do when they start or what kind of experience do you want them to have? If you want them to have experience managing a group of 15 plus sales staff with proven sales results, say that!

Your potential employee also wants to know if they need any particular skills or experience with machinery, software, hardware, etc. Below is a vast though far from extensive list of the things you may wish to consider here:

* Microsoft suite of products
* Wordpress
* Switchboard
* Graphic Design
* Data Entry
* Photoshop
* Adobe
* MIG Welding
* Circular Saw
* Apple products
* Payroll
* Telecommunications
* Cash Handling
* Sales
* Administration

These are just some starting points to get you thinking. Expand and be clear about your needs. Are you looking for someone with basic, intermediate or advanced knowledge or Microsoft, Excel, SAP etc? “Sales experience” is quite generic so what environment should they have obtained the experience in – call centre, retail, showroom? You get the idea.

Question 4: What’s in it for me?

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? Oh yes, that’s right, it’s not all about you as the employer. So many employers forget this. It’s funny how many times I have stumped a client when I have asked them, “Why would someone want to work for you, what makes you stand out?” If you cannot tell an employee WHY they should choose you, they won’t. Don’t be fooled, this is not all about you finding the right person, you need the right person to find you and yes, to CHOOSE you. If your ad holds no appeal, they will slip through your fingers before you even know they are out there. Don’t let that happen. Be confident in what your business has to offer. What keeps YOU there? What keeps your other staff there? If you don’t know, ask them. If they don’t know, you probably have a high turnover.

Here are some things to help you out and may be included in your ad:

* Incentives and bonuses
* Ongoing training, Growth and opportunities
* Daily Breakfast, weekly lunch, Friday drinks
* Other Benefits

“Achievable bonuses”... Really? You aren’t going to say they are “unachievable”, are you? Achievable suggests doubt. Don’t use it. Potential employees would prefer to know about the bonuses rather than if they are “achievable”. For example, “You will be eligible for monthly bonuses based of achievement of KPIs after completion of 3 months probation.” This tells your potential employees immediately that the first three months is all about getting them up to speed so that they can achieve their KPIs and potentially receive their bonus. It is setting a realistic target.

Most potential employees will want to know if the Company will provide them with a career path, ongoing stability and opportunities to improve and expand. If you have a well structure training and coaching program with emphasis on continued improvement, please mention this and tell your potential employees if you have a policy of internal promotion. To leave out such details WILL cost you several potential gem employees.

If you provide daily breakfast, weekly deliveries of fruit, lunch once and week, Friday night drinks, social gatherings, etc, tell your potential employee. It may not seem like a big deal to you but despite the technological evolution, we are still a social society and your consideration for your employees and encouraging social interaction will be respected and appreciated. Include any other benefits you can think of. Anything that will make you stand out and show that your potential employee is not just a number. Show them that you have considered what is important to them.

Give your potential employee what they want in your job advertisement and it will be the start of a mutually beneficial business relationship. Good luck with your advertising.

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author avatar Songbird B
28th May 2013 (#)

An excellent article and really interesting to see it from an employees angle too..Great pointers and an informative read..Nice work my friend..\0/x

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