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Viewpoint: In a hiring drought? Turn to marketing tactics

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By Dan Shortridge
Guest Columnist

Dan Shortridge

As editor of a Delaware marketing and communications jobs list, I’ve seen many jobs posted and reposted, for weeks or months on end, as businesses and nonprofits struggle to hire. A recent national survey found fully 49% of executives reporting hiring and retention as the chief threats to their business in Q3.

For the foreseeable future, this will continue to be an employee’s market. If you’re striking out, don’t approach hiring from a traditional human resources perspective — put on your marketing hat.

Your job posting is often your first contact point with prospects. It needs to spark an applicant’s interest, hold their attention, and persuade them to apply. Here are five ways to optimize your listings and get better resumes on your desk.

First: Include the salary.

The bare minimum you can do is let applicants know in advance what you’re paying. Candidates are screening you just like you’re screening them. Studies have found that salary and benefits are the first things applicants look at in postings. Money is a strong motivator to more than two-thirds of candidates, and listing salary also increases transparency and trust.

(If you don’t list salary, career sites like Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn may estimate it for you – and they could get it wrong.)

Second: Make sure the job title is accurate and in line with industry standards.

Applicants should understand exactly what the job is and where it fits in their career progression. If your posting seeks a “director of marketing” with two years of experience, then go back to the drawing board; you aren’t looking for a director-level candidate. Avoid non-standard titles like “Sales Ninja” or “Developer Guru” — or at least include a standard job title in the posting as well.

Third: List the benefits. Be specific. 

Don’t describe vacation time as “generous” or health care coverage as “robust.” Give real numbers that will help qualified candidates decide if they want to apply. If your health care plan is only for employees and not dependents, be sure to include that. (And be honest: Don’t mention “flexible scheduling” if that just means being able to leave 15 minutes early every other Friday.)

Fourth: Tell a story about the job.

This is your main chance to convince your prospects that they want to work for you and not the next company. Don’t waste time on boilerplate or a list of mundane duties.

One operation that does this right is recruitment firm Toptal, which includes what the hire will be doing in their first week, month, three months, six months, and year. That’s a powerful level of detail that lets prospects picture themselves doing the actual job.

Fifth: Include your company’s COVID and remote work plans.

Do you have a target date for returning to the office? Do you offer WFH options or have a stipend? What days do you need people in? Do you require vaccinations or testing? In this age, you need to provide those solid answers up front.


Dan Shortridge is an authorand marketing and communications consultant. He lives in Camden.

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1 Comment

  1. Peter Osborne September 3, 2021

    Two additional suggestions. (1) Don’t use job postings as a way to collect resumes when you don’t have a position to fill or you already know you’re going to promote an internal candidate and (2) Remember that candidates may spend a few hours customizing their resumes and writing a cover note. Don’t insult them by leaving them hanging and wondering what’s going on. And don’t use phrases in your automated decline letters that say “after careful consideration, we’ve decided you’re not the right fit” if you are going to send that letter an hour after the candidate applies..

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