5 Easy Steps to Sell Your Job Opening in a Job Seeker’s Market
Have you ever noticed that the most successful companies are the ones who have been able to recruit the right talent into the right roles, and keep them there? In every job, there is an ideal candidate at a certain stage of their career who will outperform all the others – you just have to find them, right? Well… not exactly.
First, sure, you have to find them. Then, you have to get them to explore the idea of working for your company. You have to convince them your company and the role are both the right options, or at least that they could be if all other elements fall into place. There are so many variables in any one person’s job search, from what they view as an ideal opportunity to how much time they are willing to spend on the initial application.
These days, the job search experience is largely a shopping experience. Candidates are the buyers, and what they are buying is not just a job opening. The job seeker is buying the idea of what the job opening will be like. Just like someone shopping for a new car might imagine sitting behind the wheel, a job seeker imagines sitting in that office seat.
The job seeker is also buying the reward they will earn. Much like someone searching for the perfect restaurant imagines how satisfied they will be after eating the best meal of their life, a job seeker imagines how satisfied they will be after a major accomplishment at work. (Or, maybe for a different job seeker, they imagine how they will feel after they are able to buy that new car they were imagining above.)
And, much like other shopping experiences of modern times, job seekers have many options and a wealth of information at their fingertips.
Modern job boards and aggregators make it easy for a job seeker to go “shopping” for the right type of job. On any given job board, they may find hundreds of job openings near them, in a variety of industries, along with all the details of the company right in one place.
The information available on job boards and online employment review sites make it easy for a job seeker to understand whether your company provides competitive compensation and benefits, a great work environment, or any extra perks. They can also see whether your company is growing, stable, how you react to employee feedback, whether you promote from within, how adaptive you are to new technology and trends, and so much more.
Luckily for employers, much like a house search, a job search may require a candidate to weigh pros and cons, and make sacrifices in one area or another. So, how do you go about winning the best candidate in a buyer’s market?
You sell it. You do everything you would do to sell a product or service that generates revenue for your company.
Recruiting is selling. The job is the product you want to sell. The job applicant is your buyer. The interviews are the sales calls.
All you have to do is to make the job seeker interested in your product so that candidate will consider your business as their first choice of employment (and potentially discard other opportunities).
Here are some tips on how to sell your job openings in a buyer’s market:
KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR
Before any sales representative can engage in an effective sale, they need to choose their target market with accuracy. Selling a job works the same way. When looking for the right candidate you should list the desired traits, years of experience and skills the candidate should have to meet your requirements.
Now consider the candidate you have defined. What stage of their career are they in? What is life like for him or her? Is what you are offering in compensation, responsibilities, title and benefits in line with the person you expect to recruit?
If not, you first should start by adjusting one end of the equation – either more flexibility in the requirements, or redefining your total package to align with the candidate in their current stage of life.
KNOW WHAT MATTERS TO BUYERS (JOB SEEKERS)
Most candidates know that money isn’t everything. In fact, smart job seekers are savvy enough to understand that a far above-average compensation package might even be a red flag. And while higher compensation might sway someone if all else were equal, money typically is not the main reason the best candidates would consider your job.
What else might play into your ideal candidate’s decision to apply for and accept employment with your company? Going back to that picture of your ideal job candidate from earlier – what matters to him or her in this particular stage of their career?
Some selling points could be: challenging work; opportunity for advancement; location; flexible hours; career development pathways and perks; tuition reimbursement; telecommuting; mentorship programs; leadership responsibilities; working with respected colleagues.
Once you have enticed a job seeker to apply for your role, be sure you are asking them about what they are looking for in their next career opportunity. Ask what would make an employer or job opening stand out above the rest. Then, connect the dots with the specific ways your company addresses the candidate’s desires.
DIFFERENTIATE THE JOB USING A DOSE OF REALITY
Describe the major challenges which must be met to succeed. Presenting an opportunity this way helps you to create nuance between your position and others the job seeker may be considering. Additionally, it lends credibility to you and your company. Sharing a little bit of truth in this way helps illustrate that you understand what will be challenging about the role, and that the eventual employee will be supported in overcoming those challenges.
Applying the same advice in a different way, recognize if your salary range is less than stellar by making sure the compensation package you advertise and share with job seekers truly includes all of the relevant details. Does the position offer bonus opportunities, retirement benefits, health/vision/dental benefits, mileage reimbursement, vacation days and any other perks?
WEIGH THE PROS AND CONS
Most candidates today are not looking simply for a job, they are looking for THE job. Often, in hiring, we think of the candidate as the one who must convince the employer to hire them. In reality, the best candidates are using all of the information available to them, including the interview process, to determine whether they want to ultimately purchase what you are selling.
Think the job you are trying to sell. What are the best aspects of the job? What are the worst? And, what are those in relation to the company? Ask yourself if you would take the job based on your own evaluation.
Now consider whether the way you are showcasing your company and the job accurately reflect your evaluation. Do you do a good job of demonstrating that the pros outweigh the cons?
Consider whether you need to add anything to help weight the scales. Often, just a few extra perks can help your job opportunity stand out. Could you offer continuing education, supplement child care costs, cater lunch every so often? If these are too extravagant, maybe you could have a book exchange program or a book club where everyone brings a sack lunch.
DEMONSTRATE, REITERATE, REPEAT
No matter what stage you are in – from job post to offer letter – you should fully take advantage of every opportunity to demonstrate or reiterate how this job fits with the job candidate’s needs and wants.
In initial appeals, such as job posts and advertisements, explain the job’s importance and key tasks in a creative way that appeals directly to a broad audience of potential candidates.
In later interactions where you have greater insight into the candidate’s specific motivations, always reiterate the specific ways this opportunity addresses what they told you they were looking for in their next career step.
To sum it all up, you must first know your audience in order to determine whether what you are selling is what they are buying. If not, you either adjust the product, or you try to sell to a different audience. If you truly have a great product, then you just have to work on the packaging – the way you talk about the product, and whether other “shoppers” will back you up. Lastly, once everything syncs up with the right candidate, keep reminding them of all the great ways you are a fit for them. If you follow these steps, and you have a much better chance having him buy your job.
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