My first job in HR was at United Airlines. I was working at the airport and my boss’s wife worked in recruitment for our area. They had an opening for a “techie type person”, he recommended me, and I got the job. I was somewhere in between an HR assistant and tech support — and in all honesty, I don’t remember the tech support side. I assisted with screening applications and interviewing candidates for customer service and baggage service. One morning, some of us were standing around chatting and one of the recruiters was feeling a little frustrated that another candidate had declined the offer. As she was venting, she said (and I do remember this) “It’s not my job to talk you into taking this job.” My very first thought was “but of course it is” and from that moment on I knew that to be in recruitment was to be in sales.
Which means today’s post is about selling that awesome seat we put together in my last post. And HR, I hate to tell you this, you do NOT know sales.
When I did recruitment in a hospital, it was a radical idea when I asked that we work with the marketing department on our advertising needs – work with them to create fliers, a standard paragraph on the culture in our organization (the Why). We were still writing job ads like:
Do you like to work with people? Are you an RN? Come work for us!
I am not in marketing, but I do know that we in HR are not putting our best foot forward when we are writing our own ads. So HR, once again, I hate to tell you this, but you do NOT know Marketing.
I think this DisruptHR talk from Philadelphia hits the nail on the head.
We’ve got to get out of the way we’ve always done it, get away from the focus on compliance & policy and look to making our seats attractive so we can find the right candidate. Because we all know the #RightPerson is NOT the one who meets every single one of your qualifications as listed in the job description. Even though in the beginning we think that. We need someone who meets the Why of the job before they meet the What.
The purpose of the job is not to give someone who has a bachelor’s degree and 7 years of experience a job. You have a need, something that needs to be done, and you need someone who has more than just meets the minimum qualifications. You want people who get your values, who can be a representative of who you are at any level within your organization.
This is why branding is so important and that HR needs to understand the brand to help promote it and use it – not just in recruitment, but in all communications from you to your employees. You need to continually share the message.
Your first step is to name your values. Share them with your staff. Then use them to brand your company or department. Then share them with the outside world. Tell your story in your job ads (though one part at a time). Is your job ad specific to your company or could it fit in anywhere? Your ad needs to stand apart & make someone want to work for you. If this isn’t your strong suit, find someone who is – look to your own marketing department or hire someone to help you with your brand. There are a lot of great people out there who will help you figure out your values, your brand, your strategy.
If you want to stand apart and get the cream of the crop, you need to start doing things differently. And getting out of the traditional Want Ad is one of the best starting points.