A few weeks back I was at the Indeed Interactive – Transformational Talent conference. It was two full days of information, networking and sneak peeks of things to come. The entire time I was there it was jam packed with content. One of the biggest themes to the event was transformational talent. So what is that? At the event they defined it as the type of talent that can come into your organization and make significant impact. Essentially it’s what every HR Business Partner, Hiring Manager and Recruiter are trying to find. It’s the type of person, who with their presence alone, is able to make contributions so significant that they are able to single-handedly move the needle on an entire departments productivity.
That sounds great right? Of course it does. These A Players are the type of employees who make contributions that will keep companies relevant and allow them to continue to adapt to a world where disruption seems to be the norm. During the conference indeed shared how some of the top companies in the world value these transformational individuals in terms of contribution relative to an average employee. Google, Apple, IBM and Netflix among others weighed in and gave their thoughts. The rated the impact of these individuals compared to an average employees impact and the lowest of the estimations was 4 to 1. Basically saying that one transformation employee was able to make the impact of four standard employees. One of the estimates had them at 300 to 1.
While that is quite the range you have to figure that it really comes down to how you measure average and exceptional. But for the sake of argument lets be cautious and say that the value of one of these A Players can be 10 to 1 (which again, is extremely conservative given the input of these top companies). At 10 to 1, these workers are absolute game changers and every organization should be clamoring to get as many of them as possible. As someone in recruitment, I know just how hard it is to find these candidates. And once you find them it’s not over, its then just as competitive to get them into your process, keep them engaged and then on top of it be the offer they end up selecting. I think it’s safe to assume that candidates like these will have competition offers.
So, with the talent be this rare and the market being this competitive, what are you doing to position yourself to attract, engage and retain this talent? Maybe a better question is what are you currently doing that is moving you further away from your goal of reaching these talented individuals? Well there are probably a myriad of things we could cover here but let’s start with your job description. According to the data Indeed has gathered, not only are these transformational individuals interested in hearing what’s out there, but about 70% of them are checking the job boards at least monthly. So basically, a monthly basis, if you have a poor job description you are squandering the chance to attract this talent. Essentially, a job description might be your one and only chance to engage the type of talent that propels your company into the future. Now that you understand the gravity, lets jump into the three things you can change right now to move yourself from a job description they look at, to a job description they apply to.
Leave out the meaningless clichés
Does your job description say things like “With competitive salary and benefits” or “ABC Company is an Industry Leader in”? My guess it probably does. Now while all of these things may indeed be true of your company, guess what, every job description says that. Go online right now and search for a position that you are currently trying to hire for. Find a competitor and look at their job description. Does it say a lot of the same stuff? How do you differentiate yourself from them? Do you? The fact of the natter is that you have very limited time to really interest a candidate when they are looking at your job description. If its two pages of the same old same of filled with meaningless cliches that mirror every other job description out there do you really feel as if you are best positioning yourself to get them to say “Yes, this role sounds perfect for me”? Look, if you have something special about your culture or mission, put that in here instead. I have looked through hundreds of job descriptions and if they say the same stuff your simply won’t stand out, find a way to be different.
Talk about the impact this person will have
Transformational talent craves the ability to make an impact. The talent you want doesn’t dream of coming in at 8:30 and counting the hours until 5. They don’t want one day to be indistinguishable from the next. If you really want your job description to be engaging, then write it for the people you want to attract. What will their contribution be? How will they be able to make an impact? Now by this I don’t mean cliché statements like “High visibility” and “cutting edge technologies”. That isn’t specific. How are they high visibility? What is your definition of cutting edge? If you have a tech role and the technology really is game changing, for all the love of all that is holy in this world, put it in there! I cannot state this point enough; atypical talent is not satisfied with typical impact. The people capable of changing the course of a company’s future want to know they will be empowered to do so. Let them know how and will what they will be able to do it and you will immediately make your opening significantly more attractive.
Talk about what the team has made in the past
Not enough companies do this but think about it from a candidate’s perspective. Here you are surfing the job boards looking for a truly exciting opportunity that motivates you to make a move. Job description after job description is the same. You are having a hard time distinguishing one from the next. Then you happen to find one that tells you about something significant or exciting in your industry. As it turns out the team that accomplished this has an opening. You can join the team that are doing the types of things you crave to be a part of. Well guess what, you can do that with your job description. If your team just built a new, exciting, cutting edge product that has impact the entire company, why in the hell would you not talk about that in a job description? I have done hiring for some really cool companies. Companies that have built things that are scientific marvels and companies that have built giant machines that sheer size is astounding. Things that engineers grow up dreaming about building. No matter what your company does, I bet that you can find things your team has done that job seekers would find exciting. If you aren’t including accomplishments of the team you are hiring for in your job description, then you are missing the boat big time. The type of talent you want to add to your team wants to know how they will be able to make an impact. What better way than to specifically talk about the past accomplishments of the team they would be joining?
There are a ton of things you can do to make a job description better and for that matter, your entire hiring process. We will get into a bunch of those in future blog posts but the take away today should be that there are easy ways to immediately make your job descriptions more competitive. If you are hiring a Mechanical Engineer and instead of creating a job description you simply pull out the one you used the last time your hired one you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Talk to your hiring manager. What has your team accomplished over the last few years? What cool technologies are you using now and what cool technologies are you looking into for the future? Why would someone who is already happily employed leave their job to come do the same thing for us? What is exciting? Ask these questions and find a way to get them into the description. Replace the same old same old with enticing glimpses into the progress and impact a person can make and you will find yourself with a much better chance of attracting the talent that success demands. I hope this post will help you inject some energy into your job descriptions. What did I miss? If you are a hiring manager, HRBP or a Recruiter, what else can you do to make a job description better? If you are an applicant, what is the coolest thing you have seen in a job description? Have a great day, thanks for reading and I look forward to your questions!
PS. If you liked this post, I will always appreciate people sharing it!