The Secret to Attracting Top Talent

by: Sarah Krueger

I recently ran across a job posting for an executive-level position at a large corporation.

It made me yawn.

It started with a job summary that had all the typical stuff … the ideal candidate is someone who will coordinate such-and-such and formulate this-and-that.

A long list of “Essential Functions” followed… Oversee the team. Direct activities. Review Operations. Etc. Etc. Blah. Blah. Blah.

The post had plenty of words about what the company’s new employee would do.

Yet, not a single word about WHY a prospective employee might want to apply. Nothing about the company. Nothing about the organization’s mission. Nothing to inspire.

This doesn’t surprise me as I’ve helped close to 100 organizations fill critical leadership positions.

Many organizations begin the search process with an assumption that they are offering prospective candidates the best opportunity in the world. While that may be true, the assumption that “if you post it, they will come” is not.

It’s rarely as easy as a job post.

Organizations, both for profit and not-for-profit, still need to sell opportunities to applicants. If opportunities are sold well, they will attract top talent, minimize bad hires and turnover, and achieve greater business success.

How to begin? We start with our clients by writing a Position Announcement, not the typical, yawn-worthy job description.

A position announcement trumpets opportunity. It sells the job. It doesn’t merely list tasks.

You can’t sell the opportunity without selling your organization. What’s your company’s mission? What’s your vision? Your values? What’s amazing about your culture?

A well-crafted position announcement oozes with life and paints a candidate value proposition. It inspires a prospect to say, “That spoke to me. I want to work there.”

You also can’t sell an opportunity without selling the role. A task list won’t cut it. Imagine the prospect is asking you, “What’s in it for me?” Describe how the role is mission-critical. People want to make an impact. Show them how that’s possible in this role. Show them that your organization is craving their experience and expertise.

What are the goals for this new hire? What will this new leader be asked to transform? How will this individual contribute? What will success look like? And how will they be held accountable?

For some businesses, producing this type of marketing document is hard. Some organizations enter this process without a clear sense of themselves, without a clear mission, vision, values or culture.

Rest assured, it doesn’t all come in a blink. That’s fine. That’s where we come in.

The beauty of our search process is the journey. Our team will take it step-by-step with your team, serving as an extension of your hiring managers or search committee and helping you craft your candidate value proposition. What is critical in developing a top-notch position announcement is also critical in selling products and services, in inspiring existing employees, and, in attracting partners and investors.

So, when you define your role as something more than a list of tasks or activities, when you define roles as part of a meaningful mission, with opportunities for real achievement and an opportunity for the successful candidate to make an impact, you position your company for greater success.

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