Second, top performers do not read job
ads; they skim them. Passive prospects
don’t have to apply for a job; they’re already
employed. And they don’t have a lot of time
to spend on a job ad. What the best talent
wants is information that is accessible in
the blink of an eye. Your job ads should be
written in headlines and bullets.
Third, top performers work both for
money and for satisfaction. In other words,
an employer’s value proposition must
feature an external and an internal dimension. The ad must prove to top talent that,
as an employee, the candidate will be able
both to achieve conventional measures of
success and to do work that is meaningful
and that they define as worthwhile.
Five Questions, Five Minutes
To write your ad, just write down the
answers to each of these essential questions in
a way that can be read quickly by the talent
you’re trying to attract. Use short, clear, easy-to-grasp phrases. And don’t use the word
“job.” Vocabulary matters, and that word
suggests a discrete, short-term task. Top performers tend to be more focused on their
careers than on any particular job that they
do over the course of those careers.
The first two questions address the
external dimension of an employer’s value
1. What will the person get to do?
To answer this question, start with the
phrase “In this position, you will be able
to….” The remainder of the statement
should identify the most significant
challenge presented or opportunity provided by the position.
2. With whom will the person get to
Start this answer this way: “In this
position, you will be able to work side-by-side with….” Finish the sentence by
describing the caliber of the co-workers
or the culture of the team of people who
will work with the person who takes the
The next two questions address the
3. What will the person get to learn?
internal dimension of an employer’s
Begin this answer “In this position, you
will be able to acquire an understanding
of…” Indicate the developmental opportunities presented by the work that the
person in the open position will perform.
4. What will the person be able to
To answer this question, start “In this
position, you will be able to achieve [or]
contribute to [or] support….” Detail the
potential effects or significance of the
work to be performed in the position.
Finally, the last of the five questions
addresses both the external and internal
5. How will the person be recog-
nized and rewarded?
To answer this question, start with “In
this position, your work will be acknowledged by….” Indicate specific ways that
the person who takes the position will
achieve advancement in his or her career
and earn respect in his or her field.
That’s it—the five-minute job ad. Five
questions, each of which takes just a
minute to answer, will help you focus your
efforts on the information that matters to
those passive prospects you want to attract.
The answers to these questions combine
to form a narrative that is engaging and—
equally important—compelling to top
© 2014 by Weddle’s LLC. Peter Weddle is the
author of more than two dozen employment-related books, including A Multitude of Hope:
A Novel About Rediscovering the American
Dream and The Success Matrix: Wisdom
From the Web on How to Get Hired and
Not Be Fired. He is editor and publisher of
Weddle’s LLC ( weddles.com), a publisher of
print guides to job boards. Send feedback on
this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow ASA on Twitter @Staffing Tweets.
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