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8 Tips for Finding Exceptional Employees

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[audio:https://www.polepositionmarketing.com/emp/blog-audio/finding-employees.mp3]

Click to ListenFinding good employees can often be difficult, especially in an “employees market”. Currently it seems it’s harder for employers to fill a job than it is for job seekers to find one. That means it’s incumbent upon us business owners and managers to get a bit more creative in how we find candidates for open positions. And then, like any good marketer, you’ve got to persuade your top candidates that you not only want them, they want you too.

Ad placement

When it comes to posting ads for open positions you really need to determine where the best place is to post for the particular job. We find that some job search boards are more lucrative than others, in that they seem to attract certain types of people. Here are a few we have used:

Monster.com
We’ve only ever posted one ad with monster.com when looking for an SEO. The first time through we didn’t get much of a response and the rep was kind enough to extend it for another 30 days, which I found quite generous. All said and done, Monster didn’t get us what we were looking for. My limited perception of Monster is more for career professionals, who know exactly what kind of job they are looking for.

Craigslist
Most of our ads go up on Craigslist. Here in Reno it’s still free so you can’t beat that. This has been great for us in finding people who may be interested in a job in a certain field, but have not yet made a career out of it, or are looking to apply their trade in a new industry. The type of candidates we get from Craigslist are people who know where their skills and strengths lie, but they are open to where and how they are applied. Although, that may be a result of the industry we are in and the type of jobs we advertise.

RegionalHelpWanted.com
We use this site generally when we are looking to fill entry-level positions. A job posting is a few hundred bucks but we’ve always gotten greater response from here than similar ads run on Craigslist (and more responses than our professional ad run on Monster.com). This, and other local job boards, are great for finding employees that don’t come with any particular area of skill or experience, but are willing to learn. This is not always 100% true, but it’s definitely a place where job seekers looking for their place in the world can go to find a job.

These are just my experiences and your mileage may vary. The bottom line is that just like any good marketing, you want to make sure you are running the right ads in the right places. You’ll probably have to experiment and test for yourself on this a bit to see what works and what doesn’t.

Creating Your Job Ad

Creating your ad is just as important as where you place it. Many job ads I’ve seen are nondescript, boring and really don’t provide the job seeker much information. In an employees market you really have to go out of your way to convince the job seeker to apply. Creating an ad that is just a bit more informative and special than others can ensure that you get noticed by the job seekers you’re looking for.

Introduction
Start your ad with an introduction about your company. The job seeker has already read the headline/job title, which is what enticed them to click to read the ad. Use this to provide a positive first impression about your company and give the seeker information that will cause them to want to join your team rather than another.

Here is an example of a first sentence we use for our ads:

Pole Position Marketing, a leading company in the SEO/SEM industry, is growing!

It’s short and simple, but gives the reader something to be excited about before they even get the details of the job.

Within the intro you want to talk about the type of person that you’re looking for, mixing in colorful language that describes your ideal candidate.

We are looking for highly motivated and creative individuals to work in our Reno, NV office. Candidates should be passionate about marketing and are looking for a career opportunity that will allow them to start at the ground floor and work their way up. You’ll be part of a first-class team…

Here we’ve touched the broad strokes of the kind of person we are looking for, without getting into the skills or qualifications that they’ll need to have. You see that we also worked in another line the puts them with a “first-class team” that keeps them excited about the possibilities of working for our company.

And then finally, we work in a broad overview of the job:

…overseeing various areas of client projects with a concentration in promotional linking. Primary tasks will include internet and keyword research, working in the social media segments and negotiating content placement.

The position from which these samples were taken is one that isn’t so easily defined in language the average job seeker understands, which is why we then provided a bit more detail in another paragraph. This particular ad is designed to speak to the person who doesn’t know what their career is going to be but is open for opportunities. The next paragraph speaks to that individual specifically:

Don’t have a marketing background? Not a problem. Our ideal candidate will be highly motivated to succeed above all else. If you’re willing to work hard, we’ll train you. You only need a passion for marketing, helping clients succeed, and a desire to do what it takes to build a career in the search marketing industry.

Job Tasks

Next up we provide a list of the job tasks and responsibilities. We try to be as thorough and clear as possible so the reader knows what’s involved. It’s important that this information be accurate to avoid (as much as is possible) getting resumes from job seekers that ultimately won’t be interested in the position.

Qualification

Here we list more about the type of candidate we are looking for and what specific skills they’ll need to have to do the job effectively. Here are some typical qualifications we list on most job ads:

  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Strong computer skills
  • Ability to multi-task and thrive in a fast-paced environment
  • Must have a high level of integrity
  • Must be able to work independently and as part of a team
  • Highly motivated and passionate about success (for themselves, the clients and the company)

These are just a few of the more generic qualifications we use, but we add others that are specifically related to the job as well.

Conclusion

Now you want to wrap things up. Give the reader more information about your company and the benefits of working for you. If you offer things such as vacation pay, PTO, health benefits, etc, give the reader the broad strokes. This can be a significant factor in their decision making process.

And then wrap things up with more cleverly written prose that speaks to the job seeker’s emotions. Oh, and don’t forget to add your call to action:

If you want to be part of an incredible marketing team in a creative and collaborative office environment, drive performance for online businesses, learn new skills, and have some fun along the way, let us know why you’d be a good fit and send us your resume today!

The Selection Process

Once you get your candidates then you’ll want to screen carefully. We do this in a number of ways depending on the position. For a copywriter position we sent each candidate an assignment. We found that many dropped out once they saw what the job was actually about. The others completed their assignments and we then scored them. This gave us an idea about exactly how each candidate is able perform the job. In this case, we sent out the assignments before the interview, but you might want to do it the other way around.

For other candidates, we send out a five-page motivational questionnaire asking all kinds of questions about the individual such as what kind of environment they are looking for, and what types of things they expect from the job. These questions are helpful in gaging the person on things that are more job-environment oriented rather than just job oriented.

Obviously the goal here is to find the most qualified candidate for the position, as well as the person who is the best fit for your team. For us, the latter often tends to be more important than the former. I’m willing to invest and train someone a bit if I know they are going to be a good fit for the environment that we have already developed. When working in a close-knit and interactive environment, it only takes one person to drag the atmosphere down.

Ultimately, you want to find the right person who fits best on all levels for what will be required of them. If you do that, not only will you find someone you’re happy with, but someone who will also be happy to be working for you. And that creates a long-term mutually beneficial working relationship.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

2 Responses to 8 Tips for Finding Exceptional Employees

  1. Judd Pickett says:

    I like to use Indeed.com to search for the same type of job I am posting for. Indeed gives me an idea of volume and good filters for qualifications. I completely agree with your article when it comes to testing candidates. It is a good idea to make applicants jump through a few hoops to prove they aren’t just resume blasting.

  2. Stoney G deGeyter
    Stoney deGeyter says:

    Thanks Judd,

    We find that the employee hunt has been hit or miss. Sometimes we get a lot of applicants and sometimes very few. Rarely do we get a lot of quality applicants though. Thanks for the tip on indeed.com.