Would You Apply in Response to Your Own Job Ads? If Not, Please Read This!

Cultural fit is the key factor determining whether an employee develops further, stays with a company, and becomes a top performer. This is the unanimous opinion of recruiters and leaders. Cultural fit means that the employee shares the values of the company, fits into the team as a person and has the ideal qualities for the position.

The search for candidates with the best fit already begins with the job ad. But wherever you look, job ads are based on templates, consisting of boring lists of the tasks that have to be performed and profile platitudes ranging from “team minded” to “success oriented.”

Who cares, you might say, just post and pray. If the job ad addresses everyone, that will include appropriate candidates. This view is not only wrong; it endangers the success of your recruiting.

Boring job ads do not lead you to top candidates

There is a reason for this. The best people already have an attractive job. They are not desperately looking for work and do not apply for every halfway suitable job they see advertised. If they are going to give up a secure and attractive position, they want to know exactly why they should work for you.

Perhaps you look at job postings now and then. Do you really think you have a chance if you say things like “We’re looking for someone as soon as possible…” To be able to lure a top performer, the person should have only one thought after reading your job advertisement: That’s for me! A dream job!

Three issues that have to be addressed in a job description

There are three main criteria on whose basis top performers switch companies and stay at the new one – or not:

  • Leadership culture
  • Corporate culture
  • Team culture

Do you allude to these topics in your job description? And do you do so without using platitudes such as “young, dynamic team” and “flat hierarchies”? Do you use this opportunity to address the issue of cultural fit?

The scope of duties, which is often given the most space, is secondary, however. As a rule, experienced candidates know which tasks have to be performed in a given position. And the responsibilities often change over time.

A job ad is a personal letter to candidates

Naturally, your job description still has to fit on one sheet of paper. So for each job ad, work out what should be included in the text on an individual basis. Find answers to the following questions:

  • Why do we really need a new employee? What are our real needs, our objectives? (After all, it’s not just a question of someone doing the work.)
  • What qualities do top performers have?
  • What qualities do your top performers have in common? (soft skills, hard skills, golf handicap, family with kids, etc.)
  • Why should your preferred candidate want precisely this job?

Sketch a detailed picture of a candidate who would fit the position perfectly, who has the perfect cultural fit. View your job description as a personal letter to this individual. Although no one else will feel addressed, this one candidate will immediately recognize that he is meant. And they only want her.

Make honest and concrete statements

Please do not soften up the individually developed job profile with a lot of general blah blah blah. Have the courage to be specific. Describe the following:

Should the employee stick to precise specifications or will he only be given targets he has to achieve? How will you measure his success? Does the new position involve teamwork or is it more of a one-man show? Will the person sit in an open-plan office with 50 other IT freaks? Are overtime and weekend work par for the course? Are vegan meals served in the cafeteria?

All of this information should make your preferred candidate say: Where can I sign?

Unfortunately, many companies are afraid of being too honest because they think they will frighten off applicants. Instead of admitting that 50-hour weeks are normal for a managerial position, they bashfully call for “resilience” and “stress resistance.” But the fact is: Anyone who is excited about her work and puts her career above everything else will gladly accept these terms. And if not, then the person doesn’t belong in the company. If a job ad is nonspecific, or dishonest, candidates with no cultural fit will not be filtered out or filtered out too late.

Only outstanding job ads are recommended to others

The probability that your tailor-made, personally formulated job ad will reach the one top performer who fits the bill is much higher than the probability that a standardized, generalized job ad will reach your dream candidate.

With an exceptional job ad, you will have an ace up your sleeve. Have you ever seen a job ad that was recommended by many people or that even went viral on social media? Yes, now and then. And were the texts standardized? Ah, now you see. Perhaps your job ad won’t reach your preferred candidate directly. But maybe someone who knows him will think of him immediately when reading the job ad and forward it to him.

Would you apply for the position advertised?

Put your standardized texts where they belong: on the mothballs of HR. Before you publish your next job ad, ask yourself: Does it really describe the exact candidate we’re looking for –the one with the perfect cultural fit? Does it mention the factors that will determine whether the candidate is successful in this position? And would you feel addressed and apply for the job yourself?

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