Do you remember the days of classified job ads in the newspaper? (Do you even remember newspapers?) Those tiny blocks that gave you nearly zero information about a job aside from its title and the phone number of whom to contact? Or maybe you remember the early days of online job postings. Though they made the leap from black and white print to color and multiple fonts, they weren’t much better. Now, online job listings beckon us with dazzling graphics but also often include copious amounts of business jargon and buzzwords that take up a lot of space but don’t actually say much. (Seriously – So. Much. Jargon.)
You may think of job ads as the first necessary, but not particularly impressive, step involved in hiring a new person to fill an open position. Many feel its purpose is to cast a wide net that draws in interested candidates that, in turn, causes HR or management to spend days or even weeks sifting through resumes and conducting interviews to find the person who fits the job requirements best. But what if the job ad itself can help you target the right person from the get-go? Sounds good, but the question remains: how do you compose an ad that’s both informative and attractive to the exact person you want in the job? (Hint: it’s not extra buzzwords.)
It can be a challenge to write a job posting. Covering the technical requirements of a position is usually easy - the education, experience, and specific subject matter knowledge a candidate must possess to be considered. But what about the intangibles - the attributes that can make the difference between someone who simply performs job functions and someone who becomes a superstar within the role and within your organization? If you’re in HR and simply getting a job description from the manager overseeing the position, you may not be completely sure what the role needs in terms of soft skills or personality traits. Even the position’s manager might be at a loss if that person has never held the actual job.
That’s where benchmarking can make a huge impact. Evaluating the people who are (or were) in the position who have proven themselves to be excellent at the job can give you incredible insights into what to look for in future candidates.
The Omnia Assessment measures assertiveness, sociability, pace, and structure. These four dimensions create a well-rounded picture of how a person approaches their work responsibilities and the motivators that get them excited to come to work every day. Having this awareness about your high-performing employees can help you understand why they are so successful in their roles and what you need to emphasize in your job posting to attract people with similar attributes. Also, a job ad that targets these behavioral traits can cause people who think they will do well, but do not possess the behavioral qualities that are optimal for the position, to pass.
Is your phenom account manager someone who loves helping others and acting as the go-to problem solver for your clients? Then the job ad for a new account manager may need to target those team-oriented, accommodating traits (and cause those who are more focused on pursuing individual challenges than on providing support to look for a different position). Does your rockstar salesperson love the thrill of the chase and converting that skeptical prospect into a high-dollar client? Then a job listing for a new salesperson needs to appeal to someone equally ambitious, competitive, and bold (and scare off those uninterested in taking risks).
Of course, you may have several people who excel at the same position. Benchmarking them can help you see where the commonalities lie as well as how they approach the position in different, but equally beneficial, ways. Perhaps your more assertive and extroverted CSR tops the leaderboard in suggestive sales to existing customers while your lower-key, analytical CSR is the first person clients go to when they have questions or need a complex issue resolved. Knowing how their different traits impact various areas of the position can help you tailor your job ad to find precisely the type of personality you need in the role.
Benchmarking can also bring to light the unique needs of a particular department or organization that may differ from the industry standard. Imagine you’re posting for a management position to replace a retiring supervisor who oversees a small team of capable, self-sustaining employees. But, all of the candidates coming through your door are ambitious, take-charge individuals who have told you about the big changes they would make on Day One. You know that type of aggressive management style would demoralize this staff who are already strong performers. So, you decide to benchmark the current supervisor who has successfully managed the department for years.
Through benchmarking, you find out that this person has a moderate level of assertiveness (instead of the extreme boldness of your job candidates) that enables him to step in and take care of issues confidently while also allowing others on the team to give their input. He is a routine-oriented person who implemented systems within the department that enabled the employees to produce thorough results, and he fosters a sense of order and consistency for his team. This manager also offers the staff autonomy to handle their responsibilities independently while still making himself available to answer questions or offer advice when his employees come to him with concerns. Because of benchmarking, you now understand the nuanced management style that works best within this particular department, which can help you compose a job listing that pinpoints exactly what you – and the team – need.
To illustrate the value of benchmarking for job ads, I bring you a true story from our very own halls of Omnia. Years ago, we were looking to bring a new profile analyst onboard. The manager of the department, having worked with the analyst team closely and also having previously been an analyst herself, knew exactly what traits typically equaled success in the position. So, she wrote a job posting that listed all of the traits she knew to be important in an analyst. She phrased much of the listing in “If You…” statements: “If you are the person your friends come to for objective advice; If you want to work in a job where you’ll be valued for your knowledge, accuracy, and strong attention to detail; If you are comfortable working on your own,” along with several others.
The person who was hired based on that job ad is none other than my talented colleague (and fellow blog contributor) Jennifer Lucas who has been an indispensable part of the Omnia family for years. In the interview, she told the manager that she wouldn’t have been surprised if the last “If You” statement was, “If your name is Jennifer.”
That’s the power of benchmarking to create a targeted job ad that brings in just the right candidates. At Omnia, we have seen time and time again the tremendous advantage that benchmarking excellent employees can bring when it’s time to find that next A-player – both for our clients and ourselves. But don’t take my word for it. Have your outstanding employees take our Omnia Assessment so you can create a job ad that’s so clear and sharp, the right candidate practically materializes in front of you!
Let us help. If you’re struggling to turn your benchmarking data into the perfect job posting, Omnia will gladly do it for you. We write job postings for just $29 per ad. Contact our client success team to learn more.