Your Job Description Doesn’t Sell

Hire the Best - Use for Web applications, emails, etc“What’s your job?” I asked a friend who is an HR Director.  “Keep my managers legal,” was her matter-of-fact response.

I’ve never had a human resource person explain what they do so succinctly and her description put a lot of things in perspective for me as it relates to recruiting people.

HR stands guard; making sure that hiring managers don’t do anything that puts the company in violation of any laws.   While this is important, you have to keep it in perspective.   For example, did you know it is legal to ask someone his or her age in an interview?  Yes, its true look it up.  It is only illegal to use that information to discriminate against hiring someone.   But how often have you heard that you should never ask that question?  I believe that we are told not to ask the age question in order to prevent us from misusing that information or to give fuel to a disgruntled applicant as to why they were not hired.

I’m not proposing that you add the age question to your interview but to point out that too many HR guidelines have crept into the sourcing, screening, and recruiting stages of the hiring process that prevent us from either attracting or screening a person.

Job-DescriptionTake job descriptions for example.  Look at the one HR provided you for your open position and then ask yourself; “Does this description sell the position?”  One quick way to determine this is see if your job description would also apply to a similar position with your direct competitor. If you need further convincing, read your own job description.   Do you get excited about what you read? Or is it something else that gets you excited about what you do that is no were in your job description?  Do you manage, lead and direct your sales team towards company revenue projections or do you get to make a difference in the lives of your salespeople and enable them to make an above-average income?

Job descriptions were invented because an employee lifted a box over fifty-pounds, threw their back out, and sued the company because that was not part of what they perceived they were supposed to be doing.

So when you are recruiting someone, trying to sway them to your team, trying to differentiate your company, and trying to get them excited about what they will be doing, do you think the job description given to you by HR helps or hinders this?

Don’t get me wrong; the legal description of the job and what it entails that comes from HR serves a purpose, but only after someone has decided to join your team.  Do not make job descriptions part of your recruiting process.

Here are three things you can do to attract more qualified applicants:

Create Your F.A.B. Sheet.

It is a document that consists of the Features, Advantages, and Benefits your company and your position may offer a potential employee.  This should be something you can say in thirty-seconds or less.

Describe the Person You Want Not the Position You ‘re Trying to Fill

Exhaustive job descriptions deter solid prospects who worry they don’t fit the overly specific (or ambitious) criteria. Therefore, why not write about how you are looking for:

  • someone who can work without someone looking over their shoulder;
  • the type of person who understands you get what you pay for and therefore, buys quality products for themselves;
  • someone who considers strangers are just friends they have not met yet;
  • a person who’s innate ability is one where they can keep a proposal moving ahead at all levels inside a company;
  • someone that hates to lose; or
  • someone that feels they can contribute more if given the right opportunity.

What is it that your opportunity truly offers and what qualities do you admire in a person?  “A” players will be more attracted to that than any job description.

One of the most successful recruitment ads… not a help wanted ad… but a recruitment ad I have written started with the sentence, “Do You Love to Drive?” It was for our first recruitment client, Speedy Delivery Service.  In our due diligence, we debriefed several of their top drivers.  The one common denominator was that they all loved to drive.  As crazy as that may sound, if you need to fill a route driver position, would you not want someone who loved to drive?  With that one ad, we took their recruitment-advertising budget down from $55,000 in one year to $5,000 and attracted and filled their positions with more qualified candidates. All because we described what qualities we wanted in a driver and what the company could provide other than a paycheck.

Recently, I interviewed Tom Searcy for my weekly radio program, BizTalk, on his book How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett. He described one of the key qualities Warren has which is his ability to put himself in the other person’s shoes and see from their perspective what is important.   Do you know what is important to your ideal employee? Can you describe it in such a manner that when they read it they say, “That’s me!” instead of, “So what?”

Describe Success Criteria and Not Requirements of the Position

I get that they may need a BA degree, 5 years of sales experience, etc., etc.  Again BORING!

Instead, try listing what the success criteria should be.  For example, must have successfully recruited 5 new salespeople in the previous year, must have opened a minimum of 10 new customers in the previous six month, and/or must have had a renewal rate of 80% over the last two years … whatever you would consider they must have accomplished in order to be successful in your position.  Successful people are attracted to success criteria that match their abilities.

Jim Rohn, America’s most foremost business philosopher, said, “In order to attract top people, you must be attractive.”  Employers often complain to me that they are unable find qualified people.   It is because many are looking for such a narrow set of competencies that no candidate could possibly measure up and they bring forward such a generic set of job requirements that their jobs appear to be like everyone else’s jobs.

Let HR do their job when it is appropriate for them to do it.  Your job is to attract top talent. Do that by becoming more attractive.