October 2018 – It’s hip to be square! – Considering the level of appeal of your vacancy and adapting to overcome potential objections and bias.

The best jobs to recruit for are square. What do I mean by square? Well they are equal in appeal in four key areas, being remuneration, location, brands and employer. A role that ticks all the boxes, will be a position that is quite marketable and should result in the advertiser receiving a good level of interest. Second-best are triangles, in that 3 out of the 4 major appeal factors are present. If your role only ticks two boxes, well remuneration better be one of them.

Whether we like it or not, money is always going to be a very important factor that candidates will consider. It is the easiest metric for applicants to use to compare one job against the other. Whilst to some it is not the be all and end all, let us not kid ourselves, money provides choice, and that works both ways.

Almost as important as money is location. In the short-term, a candidate who lives further away from work, but is receiving a very good level of remuneration, will tolerate extended travel time. 99 times out of 100, you will probably get somewhere between 6 months and 12 months service out of someone who falls in to this category. Likewise, if you are looking to attract someone to move to your area, you need to take a very critical approach to analysing how enticing an area it is that you are based in, what it has to offer, and what its detractions might be.

Now it comes down to you. What is the perception of your employment brand? Are you “liked” in the marketplace? Do you struggle to get applicants for your roles? Do you have a staff retention problem? We have seen our fair share of dealerships who might be in the right location, they might even offer good remuneration, but when it comes time to recruit for them, we hear the familiar phrase of “you couldn’t pay me enough to work for him / her / them”.

Next comes the brands themselves. Just like oils ain’t oils, there are clearly some brands that are far more popular than others, which on the inverse means there are some brands that people do not want to be involved with, at all. Whether brands are important will depend on the position. Brands will probably weigh heavier in the minds of a Sales Manager or Service Manager, as opposed to an Accounts Payable Clerk or Receptionist. For the purposes of this article though, let’s assume brands are of moderate importance.

Considering these four areas as forming a quadrant, each element impacts upon the other elements, requiring a push or pull back in another area to even out or offset its influence. In reality, there is really only two out of the four areas, maybe three, that can be affected to improve the marketability of the position. The easiest is in remuneration. If the position is based in an area of low appeal, with brands people do not want to work with, or with an employer who is known for having issues, you’re going to have to be very strong in the income stakes. However, even if you are strong with the dollars, depending on what aspect(s) it is that reduces the attractiveness of the role, money is only going to go so far.

If the position is let down by your employment brand, or perhaps by the brands that you are associated with, that makes things a little more complicated, but not insurmountable. If your employment brand is not the best, then you need to establish what is holding you back. Remembering that staff do not leave bad companies, they leave bad people, what is it that is going on in your business that is making people consciously choose not to send you their details? This can be a difficult thing to do, we as people find it far easier to identify the faults in others, versus the faults in ourselves. But, if you do not do this, the business will likely continue to struggle with high turnover and higher than average payroll levels, as you seek to “pay away” the issues.

If brands are the issue, then you need to change the perception of those brands. Obviously you don’t lie or sugar coat things, but like a square clothes peg wont roll away, you need to think about what a candidate that is applying for a role like this wants to hear, and tell them. Brands normally only become an issue due to a perception of low demand, which really means, “this all sounds too hard and I am not going to make any money”. This is not always the case, but when the truth is blurred by misinformation and a lack of understanding, perception becomes reality.

If location is the issue, then an adjustment in your expectations may be in order, because unless you are considering moving your operations, you are automatically limited in the potential candidate pool to draw on. In this instance, you either need to market the role in similar locations, seek referrals from existing staff, pay big dollars, or accept less experience. Or it may be a mixture of all of these things. If a superstar from Perth is not going to move to Cloncurry, why market the position to them?

Risk aversion is an important aspect of recruitment, balancing on the one hand which candidate represents the greatest benefit to the company and the position, whilst simultaneously presenting the least amount of risk to the business. Recruitment advertising is very much a sales opportunity in so far as your employment brand is concerned, allowing you the chance to develop a proactive campaign, which overcomes the possible objections to the role in so far as the area, brands or employer are concerned.

So, the next time you are writing a job ad, write it from the perspective of sell, rather than tell. Yes, the ultimate aim of any job advertisement is to uncover a suitable selection of candidates to review, but by generating high interest, by enticing the applicants to apply, to want to know more, to think, “wow, this sounds like a great opportunity”, you may end up finding a great candidate, instead of a good candidate. Consider what the applicant wants to know, play to your strengths, consider your weaknesses and leave them wanting more.

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