Better Job Applicants through Better Job Postings

Money motivated...... Prior industry experience...... Calling on C-level executives...... Ability to close...... Strong presentation skills...... Outgoing...... 

These are some of the popular words and phrases I often see in job advertisements or want ads. They aren't so much bad as they are vague. None of the words really describe the particular job being advertised. 

Last month, my newsletter focused on how a well-crafted job description improves the overall hiring process. In this issue, I will discuss the next step - writing a strong job posting.

Typical Job Posting 

Job advertisements are typically built around 6 sections: 

  • Company description
  • Responsibilities
  • Skill sets
  • Previous industry experience
  • Benefits
  • Contact information

Let's take a look at skill sets specifically. It's the section of the job advertisement where clients most often struggle.

Understand Skill Sets 

Competence, aptitude, and proficiency come to mind when I think of successful salespeople. But competence in which areas? An aptitude for what? The specifics sometimes get missed when writing the job advertisement. 

To determine the skill set necessary to succeed at your particular organization, ask yourself questions like:

  • How do you present or demonstrate your product or service to clients?
  • What technology (if any) is used?
  • How long is the presentation?
  • How many people typically watch the presentation?
  • What are their most common objections?
  • Is the final decision made by group consensus or by one decision maker?

Additional questions you could ask might include the average dollar amount of the sale or the length of a sales cycle. As you start to give thought to the questions above and others that you come up with, the true skill set needed by your new hire will begin to emerge.

Specifics are Important 

All sales positions call for the ability to close. Salespeople must be able to ask for the business. But closing can differ depending on the product and the sales cycle.

For example, companies with a shorter cycle need a sales representative who can accurately assess buying signs and ask directly for the sale without hesitation. A salesperson like this might find a long sales cycle tedious and without enough immediate gratification. 

A lengthier sales cycle requires a salesperson with strong consensus-building skills. They must be able to work within a customer's buying process and know when everything is in order before they attempt to close. They may be more strategic and might not gain as much satisfaction from a shorter sales cycle. 

Being specific about your company's sales cycle in the advertisement will increase the chances that the right type of closer will apply for the position from the beginning.

Working with Recruiters 

Some of my clients work directly with recruiters. They rarely place ads on the web. That's fine. In order to work effectively with a recruiter, however, the hiring company needs to provide precise details about the qualifications necessary for their open position. In doing so, they will make it far easier for a recruiter to present appropriate candidates.

Fewer but Better Applicants 

When I craft and then post a more detailed job advertisement for my clients, many are disappointed to receive fewer resumes than they're accustomed to. As they quickly scan the resumes, though, most are surprised at what a good match most applicants are for their open position. They also discover that the interview process is much more efficient and productive. They aren't wasting their time talking to candidates without the right background to do the job. 

Make an effort to write a job advertisement for the salesperson you really want. Specifics never scare truly qualified people away. Candidates that do apply will be more interested in the job, not less. They know what they have to offer and want to work for a company looking for that type of sales representative.