18 05 2010

Ever wonder why you get so few candidates who even remotely approach what you were looking for in this or that role? After all, you made it perfectly clear, both in the ad and in the recruitment pack! Why do you have a shortlist of only “maybes”?

The issue is this: there is a difference between describing a role accurately and being ruthlessly intentional in finding the person you need.

A good early example is David Ogilvy’s ad calling for “Trumpeter Swans” (google it or buy Ogilvy on Advertising). An ordinary job ad would have set out requirements for the creative director role. Ogilvy BEGAN where other ads finished, by describing 3 kinds of creative director – and then saying, “I am only interested in the third and rarest type.”

The difference works in two ways.

1. Even if you are intentional, you can’t stop people desperate to clutch at any straw from applying. BUT you can make it much more likely that your perfect candidate will hear about it (I once got a job because a friend called me and said he had just seen a job ad that described me in such (unique) detail he presumed I must have written it – I hadn’t, but I was the only person I could think of who fitted it, and the recruiting organisation agreed). By being specific and intentional you signal to the perfect candidate that it is indeed worth their while considering you (even if they are currently very happy where they are). Talent loves to be recognised.

2. It gives you more courage to be ruthless when shortlisting. If you have asked for Trumpeter Swans and all you have found so far are Starlings – don’t waste your time. Cancel the interviews and get even more intentional about finding what you are looking for!




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