When it comes to job postings, what makes a talented applicant click?
According to Lou Adler, CEO of the Adler Group and author of “The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired,” the answer is simple. Strong candidates are looking for jobs with career opportunities. And that’s what most recruiters and hiring managers don’t get.
While most job listings enumerate the specific skills a position requires, Adler says it’s smarter to post a creative description that promises career growth and challenges.
“Don’t advertise on skills and experience. Advertise on what people can do and become, and tell a story about your company,” Adler explains. He believes hiring should be about telling stories and “attracting people in rather than weeding them out.”
Adler took this approach with two recent job postings. The first advertised an opening for an “Oscar Winning Controller or Director of Accounting” and the second wanted an “Ops Manager, HR Manager, Analyst, Admin and JOATs* Wizard.”
In both those ads, the quirky job titles alone were enough to get people to click. An asterisk in the description of the second ad explained that “JOATs” stood for “Jack-of-all-Trades and master of a few.” Both listings described the room for advancement and career growth that the position offered.
Adler says both postings yielded strong results, and furthered his belief that most hiring managers have the wrong approach these days. Faced with a slew of online applications, many companies use automated systems to weed candidates out based on skill requirements, work history, and other factors.
“A lot of the technology now is geared toward filtering out in a very impersonal way those who are not qualified,” Adler explains. But he thinks this system can let the best applicants slip through the cracks. Candidates that get through the automated screening may have the right skills but lack other intangibles — personality, drive, passion.
Those candidates are the ones companies should be focused on attracting, he says. And that means moving away from the skills-based hiring advertisement.
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