In your efforts to find the right people for your small business, it can be easy to overreach. You want to fill as many roles in as few jobs as possible, and that can mean some employees will have to double up. Some programmers may have to work social media. Some writers will have to work on design. You want a field of polymaths, but this can often lead to job postings that don’t do the job (pardon the pun) they’re meant to. Nancy Collamer ( @NancyCollamer ), author and contributor to Forbes, explains why putting too much work into your job advertisement can be problematic for candidates:
“All too often, the job postings are cobbled together based on unrealistic wish lists and groupthink (“Hey, my friend’s mother’s brother just hired this guy who does x, y and z. I’m sure we can find someone like that, too!”) rather than solid data and a thoughtful analysis of market realities. They’re not trying to be difficult, they just don’t know better.”
You want your potential candidate to do everything they can to help your business, but sometimes this can be unrealistic. Optimistic business owners end up creating purple squirrels whom they’ll never meet, and never feeling like they found the right person for the job. What business of all sizes should do instead is create a buyer persona that’s in line with their expectations and cater to that person instead.
Creating a Buyer Persona
A buyer persona, in marketing-speak (which recruiters are increasingly encouraged to emulate), is an outline of who the company thinks will buy their product. It could be the coveted 18-34 demographic that watches TV all night and has plenty of disposable income, for example. It could be a hobbyist who’s interested in spending lots of money on something many other people may not have an interest in.
This helps marketers sell their products more effectively, and thinking this way when looking for candidates will help you narrow down who you’re “selling” your job to. Think. Realistically, who’s the person that’s going to apply and get the job? They may not have every single talent your business needs right now, but there’s no reason they can’t grow into it.
Learning new skills on the job is a fundamental aspect of employment nowadays, and 84% of employers agree . Once you’ve gotten a candidate who’s proven they can learn and adapt new processes or responsibilities without missing a beat, then you can start thinking about how they’ll fill out all the other tasks you have in mind for them.
Sell the Job, Market the Company
With the expectations of your job ad in line with reality, how else can your business learn from marketing? Lots of ways! Two that come to mind are sales and special events. If you think about a job as a product to sell, then naturally, you want to advertise what makes your job stand out from all the other jobs on the market. To do this, make sure you let potential candidates that you pay well, and if you don’t, remind them of the other benefits of the job you may be able to offer, such as equity, insurance, or other forms of compensation.
In order to avoid employee turnover, healthcare giant Aetna recently decided to raise the minimum wage from $12 to $16. For a recruiter, this is like having a sale on your job, and while not everyone can afford to make such powerful gestures across their workforce, it shows how a well-maneuvered price cut (or wage increase, in this case), can advertise for your product (or job).
Ensure that your job ad reaches those who have the ability to do the job required, not just the cobbled together skill “list” that many hiring managers seem to desire.
Of course, there are lots of other ways to sell candidates on your company , like taking puppies around to people for the puppy bowl to sell your taxi company. Not everyone has the budget to pull stunts like this off. You’re in luck, because there are less expensive ways of showing people how great your company is to work for, like a video showing off the incredible office space you have, or how cool the people you’ve already hired are or the incredible projects your team is currently working on. Whatever you end up doing, remember: don’t get too hung up on that perfect fit and create a persona that aligns with your current top performers and the culture within your organization.