Steve Jobs on Hiring

Is Your Job Description Scaring Away the Top Talent?

Steve Jobs on Hiring

There is a war for talent going on. This war has been raging wildly in the promotional product industry for some time. It shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. The survival of your business depends on your ability to meet the needs of your top salespeople. If you fail to meet their needs, they’ll leave you for a competitor that’s crafting a more compelling story. In the war for talent, the business with the most differentiating factors and the ability to sell those factors wins.

In HR, as in sales, you need the proper bait to land the big fish. The big producer. The bright, young executive. The rainmaker. They have no lack of options. You have to separate yourself from the rest of the industry. Buzzwords like “creativity”, “branding agency”, and “industry leadership” don’t really count for much. Often times, what you need to set your business apart is a job description that cuts through all the fluff. These job description best practices will move you ahead of the competition.

 

Starting Elements

Every job description has to have these elements in some form or fashion. Verbiage can be different, but the general idea needs to be the there.

  • Job Title – This is just a title and a few sentences on why the position exists within your business.
  • Core Functions – List the top 5 responsibilities that candidates are expected to perform. Keep it short. Go with bullets.
  • Skills/Qualifications – What skills or experience is necessary to complete the core functions of the job?
  • Company Overview – Honestly, a decent candidate should be able to do homework on their own, but this provides them with a good start. Feel free to blow your own horn and brag a bit. This is your first impression you make with the candidate. Make the most of it.
  • Location – Where is your office located? Is work from home an option? Also, include your business hours here.
  • Employee or 1099?
  • Salary/Benefits – Many businesses hold back here. That’s a mistake. During the job search process, employers hold nearly all the power. Meet your candidates in the middle and give them a fair idea of what’s in it for them.
  • Contact Info/Desired State Date

 

Beyond the Basics

So you have the basic elements down and you’ve filled in all the details based on what you know about the position. There’s a 99% chance that what you’ve written is a very boring, dry, internal HR document.

Now, delete everything that you wrote. Leave the list of the basic job description elements and head over to marketing. A great job description is a piece of marketing literature. It’s the result of a combined effort of HR and marketing putting their heads together.

Great job descriptions, the ones that get real attention, help candidates to imagine themselves working at your business and compel them to act. The goal is to “hook” candidates with your job description so that they spend their own time learning your company. Don’t overload candidates with information. Instead, motivate them to learn more. Strong candidates with do plenty of research on their own to fill in the gaps.

It’s OK to hunt around on the internet and find bits and pieces from other job descriptions, but you need to make the final product uniquely yours. The more unique, the more it will resonate with the right candidates. This is a good time to mention that great job descriptions turn some people off. That’s part of the deal. Those who are put off weren’t the right person for the job so it’s no big loss.

 

Make it Personable

We get it. A piece of paper or a HTML page can’t be personable, but what you write on it definitely can. This is where you separate yourself from the pack and draw the top talent to you.

  • Customize your “About Us” information. Each department needs its own version. Details that will entice a sales rep are not the same as the details that will entice an accountant. Speak to their respective motivations and you’ll get more interest.
  • Insert keywords where you can. Most job board searches are performed using keywords selected by the job seeker. You, or marketing, should have a good idea of what these words are.
  • Add these 3 elements to the list that was provided above.

Opportunity – What’s in it for the candidate aside from a paycheck? What experience or tools will he or she develop in this position? What positions might be a fit for him or her after a few years of success? Appeal to their ambition and career focus.

Future – Where is your business going? What’s the mission? What does success look like?

Personality – What’s the personality of your office? Corporate culture is usually HR mumbo jumbo. Keep it simple and straightforward. What’s it like in your office?

  • Make it about them. This is copywriting 101. You have to sell top candidates on the job. Keep the focus on the reader and what’s in it for them, not on your business.
  • Be upfront and transparent. This will save you from wasting a lot of time interviewing the wrong people.
  • Just like this blog post, use a lot of bullets!

What great job descriptions have you seen?

"Your brand is your culture."

How To Maintain Your Company Culture While Hiring

Workplace culture is much more important than you think. Often, top candidates (especially younger ones) spur higher paying positions to work in an environment that “feels like home”. It’s critical that you sell your culture when courting job candidates.

"Your brand is your culture."

Corporate culture comes from the top. It should be the ongoing contribution of the founders and/or the C-suite. However, times goes by. Founders leave or become disinterested. The C-suite has enough on their plate. Your company culture can end up in the utility closet next to the broken printer and reams of matte printer paper.

We’re not going to tell you how to create a strong corporate culture. Maybe in another blog post, but not this one. We’ll assume that you’ve put in the work to create a unique, dynamic culture that sets you apart.

This article will tell you how to protect and maintain your corporate culture while hiring and ensure new hires are a cultural fit.

Be open

When discussing your corporate culture with a candidate, you need to be transparent and upfront. It’s something to be proud of, not something to brush under the rug.

If you are interviewing an outgoing candidate and are concerned about his or her fit in your button-downed, reserved organization, you owe it to yourself, your organization, and the candidate to address you concerns.  Maybe the candidate is just chatty out of nervousness. Address it and save everyone a lot of problems down the road.

Set clear expectations

Take the time to some things down in writing. You don’t want to end of playing a game of telephone with something as important as your corporate culture. Be clear about what behaviors and principles your business values. Don’t leave the candidate guessing.

Do as you say

This one is easy and is you don’t do it, you’re done for. You can’t sell your culture or effectively share it with a candidate if you don’t believe in it yourself. Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk. Many things that appear on formalized job documents don’t translate at all to daily job performance. Make it clear that your company culture can be seen every day.

Recruit the right people

Drill HR or your recruiting team on your culture. Let them know how they can leverage it to get the attention of top candidates, but more importantly make sure that they are finding candidates whose values are consistent with it. You can identify candidates who would be good cultural fits by spending time learning about their motivation, past behavior, and they type of culture they are seeking in their next role.

Hire leaders who buy in

Leaders need to be the defenders of your corporate culture. They need to be on the same page and ready to buy in before they start. Extra time spent vetting, testing, and interviewing leadership candidates will pay dividends down the road.

Keep it personal

Develop relationships with your team. It’s much easier to share values, motivations, and goals with people when you know them well. The more your know about you employees the better you can relate to them.

Re-inforce the community

Culture, like all things in the business world, won’t take care of itself. It’s a living, breathing, growing thing and you need to care for it. A golf outing, family picnic, or leadership retreat can go a long way in strengthening your culture and your team. Make the investment, it’s not optional.

What’s your corporate culture? How do you maintain it when making new hires?