hr understanding how to target quailified job seekers

How to Target Qualified Job Seekers With A Killer Job Ad

Hiring is just content marketing. Because of this, it's important that you focus on following the proven methods for creating really great content.

Great marketing starts with content and great content comes from knowing your target.

One of the biggest mistakes that I see when companies are writing their job ads, is that HR tends to view their managers as their customers. This puts the focus on figuring out what the manager wants and needs. Which really tends to mess up your sourcing.

Managers aren't always the greatest at setting the requirements and explaining the duties for a job because...

  • They've never actually done the job before.
  • They don't typically slow down to unpack what makes somebody great at the job.

This brings in all different types of biases towards education and more work experiences. Frankly, this doesn't do a great job at predicting performance on the job. And, while finding a candidate that has certain skills that are used on the job sounds nice, it might be just as easy to train somebody.

To be honest...

Some of your best hires might not actually fit the job requirements that you've laid out.

Job Requirement Validation

Identify the REAL qualifications of your ideal job seeker!

If you give me a list of your top employees, would they have applied for the job? Or, do they fit the job based on what you laid out in the job ad?

Hiring is more complicated than just saying that the manager is the customer of HR. The fact of the matter is... the manager is the partner to HR. Together they're trying to attract, source, screen, interview, and select the best candidates for the jobs.

The job seeker is the customer.

Your goal is to help the manager obtain the requirements they need while focusing on the job seekers that you're trying to attract.

This means focusing on things that matter to potential job seekers, not things that matter to managers.

To look at content creation for sourcing applicants, I like to break it into two parts...

  • The job ad is all about convincing as many potential job seekers as possible to apply. That means you don't want to put in your preferences or overstate the requirements. You want to focus 90%+ of it on why a job seeker would want to work for you.
  • The job questions are where you actually set your requirements. Then you can quickly filter and get to the best people who fit your qualifications.

Today, we're focusing on the job ad part.

But you can't write great job ads if you don't understand the target job seeker. So I tend to focus by asking this one simple question...

Who do I know who would be great at this job?

When you think about any job, you want to really focus on the who as quickly as possible. Whether it's a brand new job or a job that you've hired for over and over again.

Who do I wish I could clone for this job?

Most likely, one or two names will come to mind. If you have people currently doing the job, these would be your top performers. But if this is a new role, or if you dislike everybody who's currently doing it, then you're going to have to either look...

Inside your organization,

At your friends and family members,

Just people in your network, or

Even ex-employees

...and say to yourself "Who would be awesome at this job? Who would I love to have in it?" Once we know who that is, then we're able to do two main things...

  • You're able to validate the requirements you came up with when making your big list.
  • You're able to dig into the reasons or motivations that type of person would have to come work for you.

What this requires in order to write a good job ad is to actually do two main things...

First, validate the requirements for the job so that you don't overstate them in the job ad.

Download this Job Requirements Validation worksheet. It basically allows you to...

  • Put in what you think the requirements should be, whether it's education, experience, skills, licenses, etc.
  • Put in your preferences, meaning it's not required, but I would give more power to a job seeker who had it
  • List your clones. Do this by grabbing their resume or their LinkedIn profile, (or even just sitting them down) and make Yes/no checkboxes. Ask specifically "When this individual started here...
    • Did they have a certain level of education?
    • Did they have that experience?
    • What was their previous job title?
    • Did they have those certain skills on their resume?
    • Did they have the license?

If you check "Yes," then it can be a requirement.

If you check "No", then it means it's not technically a requirement.

If you have multiple clones and one of the boxes is checked "no" for every person, then it's not even a preference.

Oftentimes, the skills the manager believes should be required to do the job weren't skills the previous employees had at the time they were hired.

Now, you might be thinking... "But I'd prefer to get better people than I was hiring before." Or, maybe the requirements have increased since the last person was hired. But, in a hyper-competitive job market, you're probably not going to attract better people for the same pay rate as the original hires.

So that's the very first step, validate the requirements you have your mindset on against the actual people who are doing the job today.

Second, get to know the target job seeker

The goal is to write content that speaks to the job seeker and makes them want to apply. So you're either going to talk to target job seekers or current employees that you're trying to clone

I have a separate worksheet that I call the Value Proposition Canvas.

Follow these steps....

Step 1... Download the Value Proposition Canvas

Step 2... Define the segment. If you look at your clones (hopefully you have two or three of them) ask yourself whether those people come from different backgrounds. You're going to fill out this sheet for each segment of your target job seeker. If all three of them have the same background, you're going to fill it out once. If you have two or three different clones with different backgrounds, you'll want to fill this out once for each.

Step 3... Focus on the target employee. Put their name in and focus on the job seeker's "gains". What are the goals and aspirations that this employee had when they left their job to come work for us? What were they trying to accomplish?

And then the next question for pains at the bottom -- "What did this employee dislike about where they were working that made them want to get away?" There are three parts to this...

  • What did they dislike about the company they were working for?
  • What did they dislike about the manager?
  • What did they dislike about the actual functions of the job?

Now we switch over to the other side.

Step 4... Focus on your offer. Ask yourself "How does our offer help the target employee get the gains they are after?" These might include things...

  • More flexibility
  • Better pay and benefits
  • Ability to work remote
  • Growth opportunities

Now, how does your offer help the target employee get away from the pains they are running from? Some of those pains might be...

  • Working on weekends
  • Working holidays
  • Working odd hours
  • Working for jerk managers
  • Working in a dead-end job

How can you create the gains and relieve the pains?

Step 5... Repeat the same steps for each of the different segments. For a job, you might just fill one of these out. But, if you have a couple of different clones that are vastly different from each other in regards to their backgrounds, education, or experience... you might have to fill this out a couple of times.

This might sound like a lot of work... And chances are it's more work than you're used to doing to prepare to write a job ad. You might look at it and say this is gonna be a waste of time, we just need to get the job ad live.

Fill out these worksheets before you post your job ads!

But, if you jump the gun on posting your job ad... you're going to miss out on high-quality job seekers! You'll end up with a job ad that overstates the requirements and doesn't speak to the job seeker.

The job seekers you're hoping for will either never find your job, or they won't find it compelling enough to actually apply for it.

The information you'll gather by diving into these worksheets will allow you to...

  • Write better ads to attract qualified job seekers.
  • And, convince the job seekers that you are interviewing to come work for you.

It's time to move past the list of qualifications and requirements and focus on the job seeker! Who would be a great fit for your job?

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Validating the job requirements before posting your ad!

Ensure you're not missing out on qualified applicants by utilizing our Job Requirement Validation!

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