After nearly 15 years in recruitment I would like to think I can write a pretty good job ad. “Position the organisation, sell the job and describe what’s in it for the candidate” – It may sound easy but so many are doing it wrong.
How do I know this?
Every 6 weeks for the past 18 months Richard Triggs and I have run our “Always Stand Out” workshop somewhere. At every event we have 25 to 50 senior managers and executives (CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s, GM’s, NED’s) keen to understand the changing marketplace, LinkedIn and how to uncover the hidden job market.
Without failure, attendees always discuss the challenges for executives when applying to advertised roles.
- There is no name listed on the ad – thus I can’t ask questions.
- There is no name AND no telephone number AND I have to upload my details to an online portal
- There is no salary listed its just listed in $200K and above
- There is a name however the recruiter is a junior level person who cannot answer my questions
- I apply for the job AND I never hear from the organisation again
- All of the above!
The majority of clients we work with are or are striving to truly be an employer of choice. To be considered an employer of choice you need to be conscious of your employer brand and when advertising for a vacant position, any position let alone a mission critical senior leadership role, it’s important to remember who you are speaking to and how your are engaging with them.
- Senior Executives are more considered in their approach to job applications. They want to ensure there is good alignment with the company vision and values. Before applying they want to ensure they do meet the criteria for the role – ensure their experience meets with what the ad is asking for.
- If a Senior Executive is already employed they want to be sure the role is what they are looking for before they apply – Confidentiality is a big issue.
- Senior Executives want to ensure the dollars are commensurate with what they are seeking. You don’t want to start engaging with an organisation if the dollars are not in line with what you are seeking.
- Senior Executives like to ask questions before applying to a job ad. It is fair and reasonable to think your job ad doesn’t answer all the questions. If you want to capture the best candidates in the market then let them speak with a real person who can answer their questions or seek the answer for them. Remember this is the executive’s first experience with your company – make it as positive as possible. “Birds of feather flock together” i.e.: they talk amongst each other.
- Treat your candidates as you want to be treated yourself. Respond at least with an acknowledgement of your candidate’s application. If they are unsuccessful a “thanks but no thanks” email is the least you can offer. Don’t leave them hanging. Many describe the process as “lodging your details into a black hole – never to be heard from again!”
I don’t profess to be a perfect recruiter however as an organisation we try and if we make a mistake we acknowledge it. I understand why many organisations have increased their internal recruitment capabilities. Just remember if you are going to recruit senior management and executive roles internally make sure you really think about your candidate attraction and engagement campaign and ensure it aligns with your employer brand.
There are many great candidates looking in the market at the moment however every time they have a bad experience they tell their mates and their mates tell their friends. It may be a clients market at this time in recruitment however the tide will turn and the best candidates will remember how they were treated by your brand when they applied to an advertised role.
Fiona Cochran is a Managing Partner of Arete Executive, an Executive Search specialist and an Executive Career Coach.