January 04, 2022

#016: How To Attract Top Candidates To Your Job Post

Written by George Randle

Every company aims for success for their respective businesses. One of the critical elements to business success is hiring the right employees. This episode discusses the different steps on how companies and businesses can acquire the necessary roles and resources to get them closer to success. Having just the right talent, the correct personality type, and possibly identifying the right amount of experience. All of these should align with the company’s mission and make an impact!

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How To Attract Top Candidates To Your Job Post

Talent Warriors welcome to episode 16. We’re going to do a little bit of a short segment on how to attract candidates to your job posts better. I know that a lot of the searches for a lot of the people who read are active searches, looking for those candidates who are what we call passive, not looking for jobs and who are not going to see your job posts. Many of you out there have to make sure that your job posts can stand out from the rest. Standby, and we’ll tell you how to do it.

We’re talking about a short segment about how to attract top candidates to your job description. For the professional level, hopefully, your talent consultants are out there looking for the people, first and foremost, that are passive hires. People that aren’t necessarily looking for a new role, and you’re finding them that way. As talent acquisition specialists, we always have to post something. The crazy thing is if you go to Indeed or LinkedIn and you look at the majority of the millions of job posts, formatting and objective requirements are all the same. There’s no sizzle whatsoever.

If your company brand is not a Google or Facebook, to use the most common ones if you don’t have the cachet in your brand, what is it that people are looking for when they’re searching? You need to make sure that you have a good title because that’s what people are going to be searching for. I wanted to share with you a couple of tips that I think might help.

The Talent Worker coaches a number of firms. Before we even walk in the door and make our pitch, we take a good look at their website, do our research, but a lot of times, we go into the jobs and take a look at them. We go through the process of clicking into them, seeing how hard the application process is and how difficult it is. Time and time again, we see very boilerplate messages. Jobs that I don’t know how they’re getting applicants.

When you’re trying to attract the most attention to your company, those job descriptions are front and center. With job aggregators, they are shared all over the place. First of all, before we even get to defining success and figuring out what should be on the job description, do you know who you are? Most companies have some boilerplate about what they do and the service they provide, the product they create, the security, and the financial.

They’ve got all of that, but it doesn’t say who they are at their core. There’s no expression of culture and personality. There’s nothing that says, “I like what they’re talking about there.” The first thing is to know who you are. In many companies out there, the job description or the company boilerplate is auto-populated. Most people move in with pure speed because they’re overwhelmed, and the talent acquisition space totally gets it.

They don’t change that company description. Sometimes it’s pretty controlled, but you have to make sure that statement speaks to people about who you are, what you do, why you do what you do, and the difference you make to your clients, customers, and community. You have got to send something out there because the job they’re applying to is one portion.

When putting out a job description, you have to define success in the role. Click To Tweet

A candidate looks at the entire company and what’s down the road. Where can they go? What can they do? What can they achieve? How can they impact? Beyond the job description, before you even get to what you’re looking for, you have to be very clear and personalized about who you are. A great thing to do is take some testimonials from some of your top talents and then combine those into a statement of why people like working there. There are a few companies out there that do it well. You can always look for the best job descriptions, but the best ones always say, first and foremost, who they are.

Second, you’ve got to define success in the role. It’s one of the things that we’ve talked about on several episodes and with our clients. One of the critical factors well said differently, and the people that have worked with me and that I’ve worked with, the teams I’ve been a part of, they’ve heard me say, and it sounds pretty cruel at first. With enough bananas, I can teach a monkey to do the mechanics of recruiting.

The mechanics aren’t what make great recruiters great talent scouts and acquisition business partners. It’s not what makes students of the business. It’s that great talent acquisition consultants understand the attributes and the character traits that go into being successful in their company, in that department, and in that team. They understand the human dynamic. They know what they’re looking for and are going to assess those. The second part of a job description that you have to get right is what success looks like over and above the basic requirements.

Do you need somebody who’s a curious person? Do you need people that are intuitive, high on the emotional intelligence and effective intelligence scales? Do you need somebody with a keen eye for detail? Do you need somebody who has to be imaginative, with a great outgoing personality because they’re very much client-facing, and with great relationship-building skills?

What are the things that are needed for success in the role? The best way to find those is to find the top performers in that team or that department and describe them outside of their resume. Make sure you get those down and below the statement of who you are, “This is the person that we are looking for.” I’ll give you one of the most simple tricks or tips to getting that right, especially if you’re the hiring manager and the talent acquisition consultant.

When you look at that job description, is it something you would apply to? Would you, with your talent and all you have to offer and how much you value yourself, is that a company that you’re attracted to? Are those descriptors in there something that describes you or describe the people that you want to be around? Nobody comes up and says, “George, I want to find a job where there are fifteen people on the team, and each has 5 to 7 years of experience. They have this coding language they’ve been with this company.”

Nobody says, “I want objective requirements.” They want a lifestyle, an environment, a culture, character, or attributes. We cited in the book, Google did. This project called Project Oxygen is about the things they were looking for in a good boss. Tens of thousands of people surveyed, and Google knows this. If I have this right, technical skills came in 8th place out of 10 criteria. They don’t want the smartest person in the room, but it was a great study to prove that this is what people are looking for in bosses.

They’re also looking for that in teammates. Know who you are, and then second, know what defined success and be able to describe that so it calls the people. Somebody can see in descriptive, “That’s me.” You’ll get some stickability on people that applied to that position. Those two things are the biggest thing. Everything after those two things are things that will keep somebody from applying because they don’t have the minimum requirements.

I want to start out and share with you. It’s been my preference and practice that you don’t list what this person will do day-to-day responsibilities. It’s boring. It’s like, “You’re going to do A through S, sometimes T, sometimes U, and on occasion, X, Y, and Z.” I couldn’t tell that from the job description. The other thing is, that’s a very limiting statement. Talking about the responsibilities is something that I would tell you not to do. Instead, after you’ve described what success looks like and the person you’re looking for, describe the impact that they’re going to make. We need the talent to do the following things in support of our mission. These are some of the things that this role will be involved in and will impact. That was number three.

Think more broadly about what talent looks like. Click To Tweet

Number four, when you get down to requirements, be careful. Especially now, as we tell people to open the aperture and think more broadly about what talent looks like. Anytime you put down as a hard requirement, 2 to 3, 5 to 7, 10 years in management, those are exclusive statements. Effectively, you may be very well ruling out people or causing them to move on after seeing your job description that might have all of the factors of success. It’s aligned with your company mission and can do and make the impact you stated they should do, but then you’ve screened them out.

Be mindful of what you put down as a requirement. Frankly, the job descriptions that we help people write, we put preferred qualifications, “This would be helpful.” Familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite is a basic example. If a position normally would be 5 to 7 years of experience, take a hard look at that and say, “Do we need the 5 to 7 years in management?” Instead, you might say, “Demonstrated experience managing small teams or teams greater than ten people in multiple locations.” Describe the circumstance.

Don’t put a numerical qualifier in years of experience. Where I’ve seen this go wildly wrong, especially in the tech space, is putting 2 to 3 or 4 years in a particular coding language or something to do with software hardware. Otherwise, IoT, it’s not with engineers because there are so many that you run into those two years into working in the space. They are built for that. The years of experience don’t add a whole lot to the equation. Their curiosity, effective intelligence, drive, resiliency for bouncing back when they design a product and know they have to keep improving or working the bugs out shows up very early.

When you put in a ton of years of experience, be very careful that you’re not excluding possibly A players. Any time you can list things out as a preferred gives your talent acquisition team the widest latitude to consider talent and who’s going to impact the most. Admittedly, there are some table stakes out there. I completely get that. Obviously, as we say, we don’t hire a recent graduate to be a C-Suite executive. We get that.

For most job descriptions out there, I’m willing to bet a significant sum of money. When somebody puts 7 to 10 years of experience, there are so many people that I know that maybe have 4 or 5. If I put them in front of them, they go, “Yeah, I got to have that person. This is an impact on A player all the way around. I want to hire them.” I would have to say, “They don’t have the minimum years of experience. I’ll look overlook that this is a great person.” That’s my point. When you’re writing a job description, be very careful that it’s preferred, but that you are emphasizing, you are looking for the attributes.

With that, we wanted to keep it simple. It’s easy to go back. Remember, the cardinal rule is, especially if you’re a hiring manager, would you apply to this role? First, get clear and give your talent acquisition consultants free rein. Your HR business partners, if they’re dabbling in recruiting, give them the ability to redo the company boilerplate to make it something personal. It’s something that includes the mission, the why, why somebody should consider their next career with you. Even if that isn’t a career and it’s a job, talk about your culture, what it’s like to work there and why people love working there. If you don’t know, then you do have a big problem. Do call me. We’ll figure it out.

Second, no success for those attributes. Number three, don’t write down item after item or a line of this is what the person will be doing. Describe the impact that this person needs to make instead, what they will be doing with other teams, other departments, with the customers or clients, be descriptive about it. Make sure that the requirements you have down there are listed as preferred and not hard requirements.

Remember folks, it used to be pretty standard on generally accepted professional roles that have Bachelor’s degrees. Does that mean anything anymore? A hard requirement must be bilingual and have a government security clearance at a certain level. I understand those requirements. If those are hard requirements, put that in line. It says, “Candidate must possess A and B,” but where there’s the opportunity instead of 4 to 5 years, describe the attributes, not the number of years of experience needed. Remember, as you write this, it has to reach out beyond the vertical, the specific industry that you’re in. Make sure that it appeals to anybody and everybody, the widest audience possible.

I hope these tips are helpful. If there’s something that you’d like to add to that, by all means, drop me a note. You go to the TalentWarGroup.com/Podcast section, click the button, scroll down, send a question, a concern, or a correction. If you’re selected, you’ll get a copy of The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent. If writing job descriptions and attracting candidates is something is difficult to do, please give us a call. The teams that we have built have hired over 80,000 people over 2,500 executives.

We’ve been in our fair share of dumpster fires when it comes to talent acquisition organizations, and we’re pretty good at straightening them out. We’d love to help. More importantly, we’d like to help the human capital leaders and talent acquisition leaders to make sure that they have the right message to C-Suite leadership. That HR is the table. Talent is everything, and sourcing, assessing, and selecting the next generation of talent for your company should be on the forefront of everybody’s line, not a buttoned seat. You can reach out to us at TalentWarGroup.com. We would love to help you and hear your comments.

If you write a review and it’s selected, we will also send you a free copy of The Talent War. Folks, thank you so much. From time to time, we are going to do very short segments on simple tips like this to help business leaders. Remember, as Mike and I’ve said, when we’ve been in front of groups, as much as people think the US military is the most powerful force in the world, that is the US economy. We love contributing to that in the way of talent.

What you’re doing out there, our readers are doing when it comes to talent, you are powering that engine. It’s always your people and your talent. I hope that this was helpful. I hope you tune in, send comments, corrections, or whatever, to me at the Talent War Group, or connect with me at LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. I hope this was helpful. I hope you will always continue to up your talent game and help your companies win.

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About the author

George Randle
Managing Partner & Co-Director of Talent Advisory | View Bio | More From the Author

George Randle is an experienced talent executive, veteran, coach, mentor, and leader known for selecting, building, and reorganizing teams to reach their full business potential. George has 20+ years of Fortune 100 and Fortune 1000 global Human Resources and Talent Acquisition experience building elite teams. George began his professional life by enlisting in the US Army Reserves.  While serving in the USAR, he received his bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University and was commissioned an officer. His career assignments included Berlin, US CENTCOM, and III Corps with deployments to Africa (Somalia and Kenya), Central America, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Following his successful military career, George transitioned to the corporate world, experiencing many of the same challenges the Military and Veterans face today. These challenges along with the recognition that building elite teams are his true passion, George ultimately transitioned to the Human Resources and Talent Acquisition function. He later went on to create one of the largest and most successful Veteran Hiring Programs for a Global Fortune 50 firm. Collectively, the teams George has built have hired over 85,000 professionals, including over 2000 executives. He is also a Hogan (HPI, HDS, and MVPI) Leadership Assessment Certified coach.

George currently resides in Austin, Texas, and is the co-author of the best-selling book, “The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent” and the Host of "The Talent War" Podcast.

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