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WARNING: Your Want Ads Are Who You Are

by Doug Davidoff | Jul 26, 2007 1:22:44 PM

I recently got an e-mail from a business associate of mine. Apparently, this person was doing a favor for a member of his network who was searching for a new VP of Business Development.

While I’m unfamiliar with the organization (and will not name it in this post), apparently, it is a technology company in or around the publishing space. It claims to be a game changer and brags about its ‘patent pending’ technology. It then goes on to provide a typical (read: boring) description of the ideal candidate, the position, and its responsibilities.

I’ve been traveling the country for the last nine months speaking on the topic of Conquering Your Growth Barriers to CEO groups. Inevitably, the challenge of hiring people in general – and sales talent in particular – comes up. The term ‘Talent War’ has become trite and consultants warn companies that they must fight as never before to attract the talent they need to succeed. Despite this, boring help-wanted ads are still the norm.

An advisor and client of mine, Bob Corlett of Staffing Advisors has made it his mission to “end bad ads.” I’ve used Bob on my hires and I have to tell you that they have been the smoothest, best hires I’ve ever made – in any job market.

Bob says, “The fastest way to prove you don’t care about people? Don’t think about your ads. The fastest way to make a bad first impression on future employees? Don’t think about your ads. The best way to drive away creative class employees? Don’t think about your ads. You are what you post.”

Here’s my advice. Hiring is the most important issue facing fast growth companies today. It is harder to find great people to work for you than it is to find great clients to buy from you. You should approach your hiring process in the same way you plan your business development efforts. You must define who the ideal candidate is, develop a compelling value proposition and communicate it in a meaningful, interesting, and compelling manner.

Here’s a final clue – if your ads look like everyone else’s, you have no chance of winning the talent war.