We recently, and rather excitedly, had to increase our team.

Like most companies, we work very hard to attract high caliber candidates, and we ended up with a great pool to choose from. (And if any of our applicants are reading this, as we said, the decision was hard.)

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 their current work. One even went so far as to say that they didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning and they didn’t like that feeling. They were motivated by doing something that they enjoyed, and they hoped that Aruspex would give them the opportunity to do this.

More than one applicant 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 to us for, as many of you know, Stacy and I subscribe to marketing principles for employment. Employment brand is part of it, but it’s more than the brand. The whole thing has to be marketed, but not in a cheesy sales way. The last thing you want to do is promise something you can’t deliver  all that does is increase first year turnover. You need to recognize the motivators of the people you are targeting, and market these in your ads. Of course, we all believe we do this and we may find it hard to objectively review our own job ads. A technique we use with our clients is to review/critique other people’s job adverts, asking questions. Who is the job targeting? What are the key features being promoted in the job advert? How do the job features match 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 about matching job features to the available workforce.

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 job was not structured to match 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 applicants in the target audience were not generally computer-lovers. However, they were good communicators, which is the real 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 your target applicants before you write the ad, then read and re-read the ad in light of the audience. Once you’ve done that, show it to someone else in your organization 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!

A Real-World Approach to Planning the Right Workforce for Tomorrow’s Organizations. Part 2: Getting Down to Business: How to Workforce Plan.