Each week employers write me letting me know they can’t find the employees they need, given the intense competition employers face for talent.
How can an employer operating with an already low profit margin entice the very best candidates to join their organization? The answer lies in speaking to the heart of what a job candidate wants to hear—that they won’t regret joining the employer’s ranks.
Employees, however, have grown skeptical, given the rounds of layoffs and furloughs. As a result, employers that want to win the talent war need to prove themselves—right from the beginning—with an ad that rings true and doesn’t read like a boring job description or every other employer’s posting.
Two local employers made this easy when we worked together.
With Alaska Mill and Feed & Garden Center, we started with a headline that grabbed attention by focusing on a key employee benefit. Their ad began, “Store Manager for an Employee-owned Business: Does ownership interest you? Do you have the right qualifications to take a store leadership position in a highly successful Alaskan company? At Alaska Mill Feed and Garden Center, we’re employee owned.”
For the Food Bank of Alaska, we wrote an ad that made clear what their organization offered employees—with the ad supplying proof. Their ad began, “If you’ve been looking for a job with meaning, career growth, an employer that treats employees well, and coworkers who respect each other, consider the Food Bank of Alaska, winner of the BBB’s Torch Award for Ethics.
“There’s much that’s special about the Food Bank of Alaska. It’s an employer that doesn’t let its employees down. Here’s what the Food Bank’s 32 employees said on this year’s confidential employee survey:
- 100% of employee respondents stated, “I am proud to work here.”
- 91% stated, “The people I work with care about our mission and vision.”
- 88% responded “My immediate coworkers consistently go the extra mile.”
- 81% stated, “My immediate manager cares about me as a person.”
- 78% responded, “The senior leaders of this food bank demonstrate integrity.”
- 78% stated, “I find my job interesting and challenging.”
The Food Bank’s ad included statements from two current employees. One wrote, “The work I do is one of the most gratifying experiences of my adult life.” Another employee reported, “The work we do makes us proud because we’re helping those in need.”
Similarly, Alaska Mill Feed and Garden Center’s ad spoke to what made their work environment unique. Their ad read, “We are down-to-earth, casual, and from-the heart. There are more than sixty of us, and we share a common culture; one you can feel. Apply with us because you want to be an owner of the place you work and because you want your employer to care about the progression of your career and about helping you afford retirement when the time comes. Apply with us because you want to build a career with a company you can love.”
Both ads included traditional elements—the position’s duties, job requirements and how to apply. Both ads included specific information about employee benefits, including unique ones. Food Bank of Alaska offered, “10 paid holidays, including snow days; whenever the School District closes, our employees receive an additional paid day off and we gave all employees an extra paid week off during the holidays as mental health break from the pandemic.”
Are you an employer who wants to hire the very best? If so, don’t write a job posting that reads like every other employer’s ad. Instead, explain what makes your organization special and how you plan to take care of the employees who link their futures to yours.
If you find this article useful, you’ll find helpful strategies spelled out in detail in Managing for Accountability: A Business Leader’s Toolbox, chapter 3, https://amzn.to/3xAptnz. You’ll find useful information in “Winning the Talent War” https://bit.ly/3FzSnJa and “Writing a Killer Recruitment Ad” https://bit.ly/3hhgItl/. If you want further information on why pay alone doesn’t help you hire the best, you’ll find it in “It Isn’t the Pay; It’s What You Won’t Fix” https://bit.ly/3j9GwIr.
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