What type of trap would you use to catch Big Foot? What would be your Big Foot hunting strategy? Where in the world would you go to catch Big Foot? How would you convince Sir David Attenborough to narrate the documentary you film catching Big Foot?
You might be laughing. But there are seriously people in the wilderness right now trying to catch Big Foot. They are called hiring managers and they are using job postings as traps.
Any good hiring manager is looking to recruit the best candidate possible. They look for a jack of all trades that can do all of the things, that also fits perfectly with their team, works on holidays and Christmas, has 2 PhDs, is under 30 years old with 45 years of relevant experience, and is 8 feet tall with a thick full healthy coat of fur (that is hypoallergenic and doesn’t shed).
I’ve done more research than I’d like to admit on the topic… and I can say with a high-degree of certainty that trying to catch Big Foot is a waste of time and resources (I won’t knock you for trying… because you never know). But, everyday I see job postings written to catch Big Foot.
You know what happens when you use your job postings as a Big Foot trap? You get awesome, right-fit candidates bouncing out of the candidate experience because they aren’t interested in what is offered. Or, you get candidates buying Chewbacca costumes at Party City showing up to interviews pretending to be something they are not. It’s a waste of time and resources for everyone involved (except the people who now have a Chewbacca costume for Halloween).
Job postings that are written to look for Big Foot are missing out on amazing future employees simply because expectations are unrealistic, not enticing and misaligned. An endless list of near-impossible qualifications will scare off right-fit candidates, and will ultimately leave hiring managers frustrated with the low volume or low quality applicants they receive in response.
I can’t help you catch a Big Foot. But, I can help you better invest your time and resources into attracting top talent with a few job posting tips.
Rethink your requirements
When it comes to crafting requirements and skills in job descriptions you should focus on looking for right-fit, not perfect-fit candidates. Don’t just checklist your requirements. Take it a step further and add context as to why those specific requirements are necessary to be successful at that position. You need to answer three main questions — What skill/requirement is required, why is it important to have, and how will they be using that skill to make an impact at the organization?
Implementing this context-first strategy does a couple things. First, it’ll eliminate unnecessary placeholder requirements and allow you to focus more on the essential skills necessary to be successful in the role. And second, it’ll help you communicate directly to your target candidates in a much more impactful, and candidate-centric way. Ultimately you will help your candidates better understand the expectations and the opportunity available.
Promote your potential
You’re not the only organization hiring for certain positions. You’re competing, not only against your direct competitors, but thousands of other organizations actively seeking top talent. Majority of job descriptions focus on describing jobs and not selling opportunities.
In your job descriptions, don’t just tell candidates what they will be doing. Tell your candidates the impact they will make on the organization or team, what tools they’ll be using to be successful in the role and the opportunities for growth they’ll have in the future. Remember, you’re not trying to track down Big Foot, you’re looking for a candidate that’ll be successful in the role, and help you grow as an organization and you do that by selling the opportunity, not just telling the opportunity.
Communicate your culture
Ultimately, the most important thing to seek out in a candidate is whether or not they are right-fit for your organizational culture. Like I said, in trying to catch a Big Foot — you’ll end up with many people in Chewbacca costumes pretending to be something they aren’t. The only times that this is appropriate is on Halloween, May 4th, and at the premier of the Han Solo movie this summer.
Culture is what differentiates your organization from everyone else. And thus communicating your culture to your candidates is more important than ever. Today’s candidates are searching for purpose that aligns with their own goals. They are seeking opportunities to make a meaningful impact and they want to do work that matters, in an environment that promotes their growth. Job seekers that read job postings that don’t answer these questions will bounce out of the experience and continue seeking jobs. However, job seekers that read job postings that directly answer these questions will convert into engaged candidates.
Whether you create a branded video, or get testimonials from current employees, or get creative in ways like crowd-sourced story telling — it’s absolutely crucial to communicate your culture because you’ll be able to answer the number one question today’s top talent wants answered: “Why should I work for you?”
By implementing these approaches to crafting your job postings, you’ll stop trying to catch Big Foot and start making an impact with the right-fit talent you’re looking for. If you need help with writing your job postings or finding the right candidates, feel free to contact me for more help!