We recently (and rather excitedly) had to increase our team. One of our interview questions was ‘Why do you want to leave your current employer?’. Interestingly a number of the applicants answered that they had lost the passion for the work they were doing. One even went so far as to say they didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning and they didn’t like that. A key motivator for these people was to do something that they enjoy.

Aruspex is a growing business (fast growing at that!) so we work very hard to attract high caliber candidates. And I am pleased to say, that the caliber was great (and if any of are applicants are reading this – as we said. The decision was hard). And more than one commented that the words in the job ad really appealed to them. The way in which we ‘marketed’ ourselves worked. This of course is not a surprise for us, for as many of you know Stacy and I subscribe to marketing principles for employment. Yes the badge of employment brand is part of it but its more than the brand, the whole thing has to be marketed. Not in a cheesy sales way, as the last thing you want to do is promise something you can’t deliver – that won’t work, it will just lead to increasing first year turnover. We are talking about the need to recognize the motivators of the people you are targeting and in your ads work on marketing them. Of course we all believe we do this and reviewing our own job ads may be hard for us to be objective in our review. So a technique we use with our clients is to review/critique other people’s job adverts. Asking: who is the job targeting? What are the key features being promoted in the job advert? How do the job features match with the profile of the people most likely to be available?

This type of analysis can uncover some pretty basic, but recurring peculiarities, particularly when asking that final question: how do the job features match with the profile of the people most likely to be available? To cite an example, we came across a job ad for telemarketers, supposedly targeted at older mothers looking to re-enter the workforce part-time. I say ‘supposedly’, because the way the job was structured was quite peculiar given the target audience. For one thing, training for this part-time role was structured in FULL-TIME blocks. But that wasn’t really a major consideration, because the overwhelming majority of applicants wouldn’t even be able to get that far. Why? Before applicants were interviewed, they had to pass a comprehensive computer/technology skills test, and let’s just say that applicants in the target audience were generally minimal computer users. What they could do, however, was communicate really well, and that is the core skill required of telemarketers. So the advertisers lost a lot of excellent candidates through the poor design of their ad and the poor structure of the positions.

It always pays to consider who you are targetting before you write the ad, then read and re-read the ad in light of the target audience. Once you’ve done that, show it to someone else in your organisation and see if they have any suggestions. Even better, show it to someone in your target audience and ask for their feedback, not only on the ad, but on the structure of the position itself. What you find out will surprise you!

Good luck hitting your target!