Why Does Top Talent Consider Your Job Ads to be Repulsive?

Candidate disgusted by your job advertisement

The vast majority of high-performing, top talent candidates consider your ads to be repulsive. The are disgusted, aghast, turned-off, repulsed, and consider your company’s attempt to hire to be an utter “fail.” They literally want to vomit when they read your job ads.

I see thousands of job ads on a weekly basis. Over 99% possess the same common element – the content of the ad is either the entire job description or a modified version of it.

Let’s be clear about two issues once and for all:

  • First, using the job description for your ad is not an ad! It’s a job description masquerading as a job ad.
  • Second, top caliber job candidates couldn’t give a darn about what you want as an employer.

Top Talent is motivated by a different set of criteria than desperately getting a paycheck. They want to be in a role where they’ll learn something new, have an impact, and become something better for having been in that role.

Traditional Job Descriptions masquerading as a Job Ad miss the mark entirely. It’s like shooting arrows at a target and purposely trying to miss. If you can’t hit the bulls eye on why candidates would want to leave their existing job and come to work for you, finding and attracting candidates becomes a random activity focused on luck and hope.

When a top performer reads your job description as your attempt to recruit them, they immediately TURN-OFF! They think “I couldn’t give a hoot that XYZ Company wants 4 of this, and 8 of that, and 12-14 years of whatever. I just don’t care” The next step is that they take their hand and pull it down. You never even get to see these candidates since they are REPULSED” by your inability to capture their interest and passion.

When do you plan on putting a stop to the traditional and tribal hiring cycle of using job descriptions masquerading as ads, and begin to craft more attractive marketing-oriented statements of work?

As you may know, in our executive search practice, and hiring manager training programs, we call this document a Compelling Marketing Statement, one that gets to the heart of our LIB Curve of Candidate Motivation. Check out some of our FREE examples of Compelling Marketing Statements by clicking here.

Also, make sure to read our previous blog article on the LIB Curve of Candidate Motivation by clicking here.

Once again, I ask the question:

When will you stop using outdated, tired, old, and inadequate recruiting techniques like posting a job description to attract good employees – when the evidence is overwhelming that it doesn’t work?

Here’s a better question:

Why do most companies keep doing the same thing over and over hoping for a better result when they know nothing will change or be better than the last time they attempted to use a job description as their advertisement?

I’d love to hear in the comments how you’ve used a more Compelling Marketing Statement instead of the traditional job description to attract great talent to your organization.

Four Things Companies Do To Shoot Themselves In The Foot When Hiring – Part 2

I recently asked over one hundred CEOs and their key executives, “Is hiring top talent critical to the success of your organization?” Not surprising that everyone replied “Yes.” Not simply important, but critical. So then I asked,”If it is critical, then how many of you spend time each month focusing on hiring, excluding when you are actively looking to fill a position?” Not surprising, only three people raised their hand.

WOW, something that is critical to the success of the organization, gets virtually zero time unless there is a current need. Is that the way most critical issues are handled in your company? No strategic planning. No thought or action discussed or taken until the problem arises? Only once the problem arises is it dealt with it. Until then it is that famous management strategy, “Out of sight, out of mind?” or “We will cross that bridge when we get there.”

I believe this management style only happens with hiring. Most other critical issues are regularly discussed, on-going programs such as, cost reductions, product development, increasing sales or market share, customer service, improving operational efficiencies are all constantly discussed and often major components of the company's strategic plan. In fact, I have seen many strategic plans that all have great plans for growth. Yet few ever include a strategy for hiring the people needed to execute the plan as the company grows. Strategic hiring is rarely part of a strategic plan.

I believe companies that truly want to hire top talent and do it on a consistent basis must avoid these four major land mines when hiring:

1) Untrained Managers – Discussed in part 1.

2) Poorly Defined Job – Discussed in part 1.

3) Finding candidates – This is one of the biggest problems faced by companies. This happens as a result of number two. Most companies search for the least qualified to start with. Then they complain that all they are seeing is unqualified candidates.

The other issue causing this problem is that most companies start the hiring process too late. They wait until they absolutely need someone. Then they expect that when they are ready to hire someone, at that moment in time, top talent will also magically appear on the market, find them, and be so compelled after reading the minimum job description to update their resume, and respond. YEAH and a multimillion dollar customer will also magically call too.

Reactive hiring is a thing of the past. Hiring top talent requires proactive hiring. This means your hiring managers must be in the market engaging people all the time. They should be connecting with people on LinkedIn, involved in professional associations, and commit at least an hour or two a month to hiring. Few managers spend any time engaging potential candidates when they aren't actively hiring. In fact, many even discard resumes as they come in if they aren't hiring. Finding top talent doesn't take a lot of time each month, but it does take a consistent monthly effort of an hour or two.

4) Disrespecting the Candidates – Top talent, especially those candidates who are working and in no hurry to make a job change (referred to as passive candidates) will walk away from a manager or company if they aren't respected in the interviewing process.

Some common complaints that left candidates feeling disrespected include:

  • The hiring manager being late for the interview. Few managers would accept it if the candidate was late, so why should it be OK for the manager?
  • Lack of  preparation by the interviewer. Again, if the candidate came in unprepared would that be acceptable?
  • Taking calls during the interview.
  • Finally, telling the candidate that if they have any further questions to call them. Then ignoring the calls. If managers don't respect the candidate during the hiring process, it isn't going to get any better once they are hired.

The interview is a PR event. These candidates will make sure others know how they were treated. They may post it on a website or hear about a person they know is interviewing and ask them about their experience. Bad PR is never a good thing. This is an easy thing to fix. It only takes treating candidates the same way you would treat a customer.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, You're NOT The Person I Hired. Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad

How Important Is Hiring and Retaining Great People?

Is Hiring and Retaining Top Talent Important To Your Organization?

On a recent Harvard Business Review Blog Article, titled Good Managers Lead Through a Team, Linda Hill & Kent Lineback spoke about how the ability to manage teams is one of the key pillars of success for managers and executives. This an excellent and well-written article that all managers and executives should read.

I commented on the article since I felt the authors missed the key point about people and teams. It’s not as much the ability to manage them – as it is the issue of hiring and retaining them.

Here were my comments to the authors. What are your thoughts?

 

Excellent post about a key pillar of successful managers and leaders. I'll go one step further. In our executive search practice, we've completed well over 1,000 projects and interviewed over 250,000 managerial and executive candidates over the last 25 years. We've identified that the NUMBER ONE element of success for managers and executives is hiring and retaining a top-notch team.

Even hiring managers and executives with technical weaknesses in their functional niche or specialty out-performed their more technically adept peers due to their stronger teams. It affects career progression, job opportunities, bonus and incentives, and job satisfaction.

Managers and Executives who hired middle-of-the-road minimally qualified candidates, and accepted mediocrity among their team members, had average and mediocre careers – passed over for promotions, denied new opportunities, and failed to earn their full bonus potential.

No other trait or ability appears to come close to the correlation of success for managers and executives and their ability to hire and retain top talent.

Unfortunately, most companies give the concept of hiring top talent and “our people are our most important asset” lip service. Rewards, incentives, goals, objectives, and consequences don't match the propaganda most companies spew out about their people and teams. You can find isolated cases of companies that make hiring and retaining a top priority – but the list is very small. More likely, you'll find a few managers and executives scattered through-out different companies who instinctively “GET IT.”

Why do you think there is such a gap between the generic words about the importance of people and team members vs. the practical application on a day-to-day basis?

 

Share your experience of what happens when managers and executives do a great job of hiring and retaining top talent vs. what happens when weak, average, and mediocre people are hired and “tolerated.”

If you would like to read the full article, click the link below:

Good Managers Lead Through A Team

Barry Deutsch

 

PS: Download a copy of our best-selling book “You’re NOT the Person I Hired” and take our Hiring Process Assessment to determine if your organization is capable of hiring top talent.

Protect Your Reputation When Letting Employees Go

Most have heard that hiring is a PR event. You should make sure that, whether you hire the person or not, they leave your company wishing they got the job. That way, they will speak highly of your company to others that might want to work there. This is especially true in small industries and communities where everybody knows everybody else.

The last thing you want is people telling future potential employees how bad the company or hiring manager was when they interviewed and that they would never work for that hiring manager or company.

Not good PR if you plan on attracting top talent to your company. In fact, a great way to ensure top talent will work for your competitors.

I don’t think some (not all) companies or managers recognize the same principles apply when laying people off or even firing them.

Well they do, and I can  demonstrate this, because I recently encountered bad PR. Twice.

First example

I was recruiting for a Regional Director of Sales in the upper northeast. Because of the weather, it isn’t easy to relocate people there.  The company was in a very niche industry, and because it was a senior level sales job, industry experience was important.

It didn’t take long before trouble set in. Did I mention the reason for the opening was that the previous person was fired? Apparently, the manner in which the person’s boss fired him was at best inappropriate and at worst down right wrong and disrespectful.

The fired employee had spread the word about his treatment all around, stating what a jerk this person was to work for and how he badly he treated people. He also took the time to go into great detail about how he was fired. Now, what I heard when I tried to recruit people was, “I’m open to talking as long as it isn’t for X company working for X?” WOW, what a way to start a search in a small industry in a small geographical area.

This all happened because the VP didn’t see firing as a PR event. The best way to fire someone is to make them think you are doing them a favor, not by degrading them, surprising them, or throwing them out of the building. This VP took a bad situation (firing someone) and made it worse by the manner in which he did it. If the VP had done it correctly, he would have still reached his goal of letting the person go, but he also could have set himself up as a person that cares and people want to work for.

Second example

I live in Orange County, California. Most people think it is part of Los Angeles. It isn’t. For such a large area, it is actually its own community. Large enough to get lost, but small enough that people get to know people. There are so many networking groups that it is literally hard to plan an event because the first thing that comes up is, you know XYZ networking group meets then. At almost any time day and night, every day of the week, some group is getting together. Some groups have attendance in the hundreds and some have less. Regardless, there are a lot and this is how people get to know people in Orange County, California.

At a recent event I noticed a lot of people were saying, “Did you hear about ABC Company and how they did the RIF?”  RIF stands for reduction in force, or in plain English laid people off.  This was the buzz while people were standing around talking before the meeting started. Apparently, some of the people that got laid off were at the meeting and telling horror stories about how the company treated the employees they let go. Many of whom had been with the company for some time.

How many other meetings do you think these people attended in the next week and started telling the same stories? Not to mention all the people at the first meeting perpetuating the stories to their network, colleagues, friends and family. We used to say, this is how rumors start. Now we say this story is going viral. It won’t be long before this company’s reputation precedes them. When the economy shifts, and they need to hire people, it will not be easy.

All because they didn’t think of letting people go as a PR event. An event that impacts the company’s reputation and how it is viewed in its industry and community.

If you found this helpful, please forward it on to others so they will be helped. You can email it to your team, forward it to your network, post on Linkedin or company Web site. Let's help everyone build teams of top talent.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

 

Do Unemployed Candidates Stink?

Holding your nose because the candidate your considering stinks or has a stigma attached to them

What’s your bias regarding unemployed candidates? Do they have a stink or have a stigma attached to them?

I’ve been doing executive search for 25 years and the bias of the vast majority of hiring managers/executives is to consider a candidate who has been out of work (especially one with long-term unemployment) to be “damaged goods”. Something must be wrong with them if they’ve been out of work for so long. Do you subscribe to this theory? Many of my clients who have been out of work for an extended period of time apply a different standard to the potential members of their team.

Why do we have this bias?

I’ll admit I have a pretty powerful biased and judgmental approach to candidates who have been out of work – even during a recession. Historically, I’ve always felt that a top caliber candidate should have an extraordinary network in place, and bring the same passion, initiative, and energy to their job search that they bring to work everyday. The last 3 plus years of this recession have rocked that assumption a little – and I’m trying to reconcile it (but I’m not being very successful changing my historical bias).

I’m always willing to make an exception to the rule. I try to be open and not run my search business on a series of “absolute” rules. Unfortunately, my bias toward out of work candidates – perhaps based on some tribal myth – is hard to overcome. For example, I recently placed a VP of Sales and Marketing with one of my clients where the specification for the job was so narrow, the very best candidate had been out of work for a year (by the way, I cannot remember the last time I placed a candidate that was not currently working). The big issue was if he can’t put the energy into finding a job, how can we expect him to bring a high level of energy to this role.

I spent an excessive amount of time validating the candidate’s energy, passion, focus, and initiative. He was clearly the best candidate for the job. However, I still have this nagging sensation at the back of my neck as to why he had been out of work for a year. When I dug really deep with him, I discovered that he conducted a terrible job search as if it was 1970 – which unfortunately is the strategy most executives apply when they’ve been forced to look for a job for the first time in 15-20 years. Is that an appropriate excuse or rationalization for conducting a terrible and ineffective job search?

That raised a number of other questions for me about the candidate. If he didn’t know how to conduct a job search, shouldn’t he have done research to discover current best practices, methods, tips, and techniques in this “new normal” of job searching in a digital age with tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter? 90% of this information is free on the internet on blogs (like the one we write for executive job search candidates), and wide range of other sites, such as jobsearch.about.com. I believe Steven Covey called this being “unconsciously incompetent.” We don’t know what we don’t know. Should my candidate have realized he was unconsciously incompetent in conducting a job search, and focused on learning everything he could about an effective executive job search?

The answer is YES!

Just attending a few networking meetings with other people who are up to speed on an effective job search should have given him a clue that he was not conducting a job search that would generate an abundance of leads and opportunities. Most executives and managers spend the vast majority of their job search applying to open positions advertised on job boards. This is the same technique as reading the want ads in the paper 30-40 years ago. The result is pretty much the same now as it was back then.

The vast majority of jobs are not advertised. They are buried in the hidden job market. Studies show that the hidden job market is probably 80% or more of all open managerial and executive roles. If that’s true, shouldn’t a job search candidate at this level conduct a search focused on the hidden job market and uncovering those opportunities vs. the passive approach of answering ads?

What does this say about my candidate? Can we extrapolate that he’s passive? Would a top caliber candidate bring a different level of energy and initiative to their job search vs. their on the job performance?

What do you think? I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments to this blog and the experiences if you’ve had being unemployed, and your experiences of interviewing or hiring candidates that were unemployed.

Barry Deutsch

 

P.S. Download a FREE version of our famous e-book You're NOT the Person I Hired if you would like to learn how to improve your hiring accuracy and success.

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