Quit Making the Labor Crunch Worse!

Part 4: How do you really write a help-wanted advertisement without attracting rent-a-winos?

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Listen to the podcast on this subject! 

In case you forgot, here is a quick review of what we discussed over the last three installments of this series:

  • Part 1: What is your reputation in the community? Are you attracting the wrong people? Does the line of job candidates outside your door resemble a police lineup? Or worse, do job candidates not show up?
  • Part 2: What are the critical factors of the job? Have you spent the time to understand how the job fits into your processes? Are the desired knowledge, skills, and certifications a wish list or based on performance?
  • Part 3: How do you get beyond the bull? How do you sift through all the truth-stretching to find people capable of doing the job?

This month, we combine all the earlier articles into writing killer ad copy that attracts the right people.

Creating a Magnetic Title and Introduction

Start with what the job produces—not what it does. It reminds me of an old story about a file clerk. (Yes, there were people in the day of paper who were responsible for filing.) Except that was not the job. Filing meant documents could be placed anywhere as long as it was in a folder. The real job was retrieval: If you couldn’t find the information, it does not matter how well it was filed.

Moral of the story: Describe the job in terms of the value it provides, the results produced or the impact on business.

Summary of Knowledge, Skills and Certifications

What do job candidates need to know, what must they be able to do, and what certificates must they hold or tests must they pass? There is always a dance between providing people with too little or too much information. Giving too little could minimize the probability of finding several qualified candidates. Giving too much information and you could communicate how to manipulate the interview.

Instead of the porridge being too hot or too cold, focus on what candidates should know, what they must be able to do and what certifications they have. Each of these can be verified with a combination of background checks and on-the-job testing. For example, if candidates claim expertise on a pedal tractor mower and are selected for the next step in the interview process—the interview—put them on one and make them perform.

Remember, your goal is to collect information to screen candidates and only invest the time necessary to interview the qualified. Don’t waste time interviewing over the phone or in person until you are certain they can do the job. Should they work for you is the next question we address in this series.

What Makes Us Different

This is all about how job candidates can contribute to the future—yours and theirs. Remember our first article? We covered the three things most prospective employees are looking for:

  • An employer that makes a positive impact in the community and positions itself as a market leader.
  • An employer that solicits and values each employee’s contribution.
  • An employer that inspires excellence throughout the organization, rewarding good people and refusing to tolerate slackers.

What are the implications for the business? Does your company contribute to the local community? If you do—make it public. If you don’t—this is a hint for the future.

The next implication is how you lead and manage. If your approach is to treat people as warms bodies, just a strong back and weak mind, you cannot keep people who want more.  

The last implication is how well you suffer turkeys. If the fear of finding warm bodies affects your firing decisions, consistent high performance is difficult. Remember, eagles—the people you want to hire—eat turkeys.

Write your help-wanted advertisement copy so it addresses these issues, focusing on soliciting job candidate contributions and maintaining standards of excellence.

William Eastman is a senior consultant at GreenMark Consulting Group. The company’s unique three-pronged approach to coaching appeals to landscape and snow companies of all shapes and sizes from around the country. Regardless of which phase your company is going through, GreenMark’s offering of business toolkits, virtual coaching, live business boot-camp workshops and deep-dive one-on-one consulting can provide the insights and direction your company needs to thrive. For more information, please visit greenmarkgroup.com.