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Two ways to make your next job posting attractive to top talent.

Think about the very beginning of the dating process. There is a moment when your view of this new person might change. I don’t know about you, but at that moment I usually don’t think, “Wow, now here is someone who is completely average and just like every person I’ve ever met.” No, I generally think they’re attractive, on multiple levels.

When meeting a new person, it isn’t how much they’re like everyone else that draws us in. Rather, it’s the ways they stand out and their uniqueness that attracts us. The hiring process is essentially blind dating. And like showing up well on a date, it’s up to us as employers to do our best to make a great first impression too.

The problem is we often try to make sure we appear just like everyone else. We copy the same template, edit the same job description and see what everyone else requires for qualifications. Then we share the exact same info as everyone else, just tweaked slightly. Instead, think annual revenue, contributions, buildings, program size, events and community demographics. Plus, the long and storied history of the organization.

Hiring and recruiting statistics through Q3 2022 according to the Jobvite Employ Quarterly Report include:

  • 81% of talent acquisition cite attracting top talent as a challenge in 2022.
  • 62% say the top priority is increasing the quality of candidates.
  • 72% report navigating situations where the candidate has multiple offers.
  • 63% of recruiters have had new hires leave in the first 90 days.

Here are two ways to make your next job posting attractive to top talent

Make it unique for the person you’re trying to hire.

Nearly every job posting reads like an internal HR memo requesting approval to post a position. It has the accepted minimum standards, all the compliance language required and a list of tasks the person will do. Instead, write a letter to a specific person. Imagine you were on the other side of the job post.

Think, what would I actually want to know if I were to agree to do this work. Then write that job description. It probably includes what the hiring process looks like, what they need to do to be successful, and a little bit about the daily work and people they will be around most often. Then put some of the required details.

Beyond that, envision the characteristics, skills and passion this person needs to succeed. Infuse those attributes throughout the posting. When you do these things something unique happens. You actually tell them a lot more about yourself in a way that tells them if they’re the right fit.

Three strategies to make a job posting unique to a specific person:

  1. Open the job posting with how and what impact they will make through the work. Lives touched, internal collaborations and projects they’ll lead, where and how their ideas will contribute to lives changed.
  2. Start by posing a question or two asking the reader of the job posting if they are the type of person and have the type of passion and skills you’re looking for.
  3. Share books, trainings or the philosophical approach your organization, or department, utilizes to align and deepen the work you do.

Highlight what makes you unique.

It’s not your building, size, community events, programs or even your zip code that make your organization unique. It’s your culture. It’s not where you work or what work you do. What makes you unique is how you approach the work that sets you apart. Even if 85% of what you do is just like what everyone else does, highlight the other 15%. That’s what sets you apart, it’s what fuels the team you have and will attract the people you need.

Three unique ways to attract people in the hiring process:

  1. Include that thing you do different than everyone else. It could be your training program, PTO for volunteering, or throwing huge birthday parties. Whatever it is your team loves. It will benefit you to share it with the people you’re looking to bring on.
  2. Demonstrate your unique perspective about community in the hiring process. When everyone else is going the way of automated email responses and hiring people sight unseen, do something different. Infuse people, connection and communication in every step of the process. Then, share exactly what you did and why you did it.
  3. Say what you do and do what you say. We’ve all heard, we’ll get back to you in two days or two weeks and then nothing. It’s kind of sad really, but an easy way to set yourself apart. Tell the candidate they will get a call – then call. Inform them you will follow up tomorrow – then follow up tomorrow. And if applicable, share that you made a decision. Better yet, share that you choose another candidate and what they can work on for their next interview.

It isn’t average that attracts us – it’s uniqueness. Step into your unique strengths and qualities to make job posting attractive and recruit the future emerging team members you need.

Jon Kidwell

Jon Kidwell coaches leaders in mission-driven organizations. He helps leaders develop the leadership and business skills they need to succeed with a mission-driven, people-centered approach to getting results and growing impact. For over 15 years Jon worked in nonprofits, 11 with the YMCA, most recently as vice president of innovation and operations for the YMCA of Greater Houston. Jon is the founder and president of The Kidwell Team and teaches Organizational Leadership at Concordia University Irvine. Connect with Jon by email at jon@jonkidwell.com, on LinkedIn, or visit his website jonkidwell.com.

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