By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech
On the surface, astrophysics and recruiting are … well, two very different worlds. There’s no overlap or even a connection between the exploration of the universe’s origin and something as prosaic as writing effective job postings. And yet, a recent article in a scientific journal may well hold the secret to a new dimension in online recruitment advertising.
We’ve all heard of the Big Bang, of course. It’s the event that created the universe. It marks instant 0, the point when all matter was created and time, as we know and measure it, began. But now, scientists are speculating that the Big Bank wasn’t the beginning at all. Some, at least, now believe there was a pre-Big Bang, a period of time before instant 0.
In this new conceptualization of existence – a period called the “anti-universe” – everything is reversed as if it were a mirror image of what we can see here on planet Earth. As far-fetched as the idea sounds, it fills in some of the gaps in our understanding of the cosmos, even as it posits an existential experience that is somehow both distinctly different from yet fundamentally entangled with our own.
What does that have to do with online recruitment advertising? It suggests that there may be an experience that is distinctly different from yet fundamentally entangled with that of the candidate. More importantly, if we begin to acknowledge both of those dimensions in our job postings, we can harness their combined power in expressing the value of our employment opportunities.
The Contemporary Candidate Experience
If you’ve been in the recruiting field for more than fifteen minutes, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the importance of optimizing the candidate experience. Thanks to the good work of the Talent Board, we now understand that getting the candidate experience right is both extremely important to recruiting success and extremely difficult to pull off.
There are a substantial number of variables that must be effectively addressed to create a compelling candidate experience. In a job posting, it includes content that answers all of the questions a candidate will have about an opening and the employer. In effect, it paints a picture of the employer’s culture by describing for the candidate:
• What they will get to do,
• What they will get to learn,
• What they will get to accomplish,
• With whom they will get to work, and
• How they will be recognized and rewarded.
Job postings that answer those questions are some of the most powerful in recruiting today. But, that power could be significantly strengthened by addressing a new dimension in recruitment advertising that is the equivalent of the “anti-universe.” It might best be described as the “pro-market.”
The Pro-Market Dimension in Job Postings
Whereas traditional job postings address the candidate experience, a pro-market ad addresses that experience and its mirror image – the employee experience. If the information in today’s online recruitment ads detail the open job and an employer’s benefits and paint a picture of that organization’s culture, a pro-market posting adds content about what happens to employees on-the-job. It verifies the future existence described for the candidate by describing the past existence that has been experienced by the individuals who would be their peers.
This second dimension in the ad isn’t created by answering questions, but by making fact-based statements. It doesn’t go into the detail of the employee experience that is provided on the best corporate career pages, but it does present a picture of what has happened to the organization’s workers before the ad was published. It is, in essence, a mirror image of the culture depiction provided for the candidate.
To achieve that perspective, an organization’s pro-market ad must describe:
• The work its employees were able to do,
• The knowledge and skills they were able to attain,
• The significant outcomes they were able to achieve,
• The talent they expressed in accomplishing their work, and
• The way they were celebrated and compensated for their contribution.
I recognize that we live in an era of compressed attention spans and adding this new dimension to a job posting makes it a longer engagement. Nevertheless, including a portrait of what has already happened to those who work for an employer with the information provided to those who may do so in the future makes reading the ad a far more compelling experience for them. It is as close as you can get to a Big Bang in recruiting.
Food for Thought,
Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can download his latest book – The Neonaissance – FOR FREE at OneStoryforAll.com. And, if you don't have time to read the entire book, just download a short excerpt of his inspirational message.