Collectively, we’re doing a lousy job of attracting great talent to our businesses. “we’re looking for skills in this”“we’re looking for experience in that”“we offer a competitive and flexible package”“you’ll be working with passionate people”“a tremendous opportunity for personal growth”, blah, blah, blah, so most job ads go!

Poor job ads are a symptom of poor recruitment. 

In fact, recent research conducted amongst leaders showed that, when they were asked to consider how successful they were in sourcing talent, fewer than 10% said that they were doing an excellent job. While, 65% said that they were average or below average, in their opinion.

Ask yourself the question. How well do you think you’re doing?

A couple of my previous blogs have made the case for behaviours being the number one focus for the hiring process – and it seems that many of you agree!

However, the people you want to bring into your organisation, with those behaviours, aren’t always so easy to reach.

Those talented performers, you’re looking for, aren’t looking for an average job opportunity. So, is it then that most job ads are, well, average? You need to make your recruitment pitch extraordinary if you want to attract the extraordinary.

Like any market, it’s competitive

You’re in a competitive jobs  market, so you need to think about things competitively, don’t you? Think about sales – that’s competitive. You’ll go through a process of identifying your target customers, try to find where they’re hurting, figure out how to solve their pain, understand what drives their purchases, hone your pitch and highlight your advantage.

We understand the need for competitive differentiation in the pursuit of sales. But when it comes to sourcing talent, we operate as though the people we want are just sitting around with nothing better to do than jump at our undifferentiated, ineffectual  job pitch! No, the people who will respond are those people who are sitting around all day with nothing better to do – the ones you don’t want.

An alternative

So, unless, you want to stay trapped in a world where fewer than 10% of leaders have excellent talent pipelines, then you need to start to do you’re recruitment differently.

The model I use, and I  recommend, is  from Leadership IQ.

It’s based on a simple formula…


P = Probability – of attracting the right person with the right behaviours for your business.

A = Attraction – that they (i.e. your target employee) feel about their own behaviours aligning with those you’re looking for.

U = Urgency – that they feel the need to leave their current situation.

S = Suspicion – that they have about your authenticity.

Get any of the variable wrong, and you’ll struggle to attract what you’re looking for. For example, the people, that you’re targeting, need to understand what differentials your culture and why it’s attractive to them (A). They need to understand and reflect on both the demotivators they face now and motivators they are missing from their current situation (U). Any whiff of inauthenticity, if your pitch doesn’t match your reality (S) is also going to detract from any attraction or urgency they may feel.

Putting the formula to work

Where do you start? Well,  start with the behaviours you’re looking to attract. See my previous blog on how to identify these.

Your pitch can then have behavioural specificity, to attract those with the behaviours you want. You don’t need to appeal to every job seeker on the planet, which is where most job pitches – or ads – go wrong. Just those who are right for your role in yourbusiness.

Equally, you need to provide reasons why someone would want to quit their job and come to work for you…to deliver some urgency. Here you need to work out the “shoves” and “tugs” in respect of those behaviours you’re looking to attract. “Shoves” are things that would demotivate you, stop you giving 100% and eventually want to make you quit. “Tugs” are those issues that motivate and fulfil you. Put simply your job pitch needs to demonstrate that your role has more “tugs” than the “shoves” they might be experiencing in their current role.

So,  a job ad, for a Programmer, for example, when combining these things, might look something like this…

Join the ACME Team

Wouldn’t you rather be writing code than playing corporate politics? Did you get a degree in computer science so you could develop amazing software or did you do all that hard work so you could waste time finger pointing in a mind-numbing meeting? At ACME, our computer scientists and engineers work together to share credit. In fact, glory hogs don’t last very long here. Nor do people who tear down others’ ideas instead of developing their own. When smart people collaborate, instead of competing, amazing things can happen. We also collaborate with our customers, we bend over backwards to make sure they’re happy. 

We’ll be honest, ACME isn’t for everyone. If you hate collaborating and sharing, or if spending hours with customers annoys you, then we’re probably not for you. But if you’ve got a big brained you’d like to use it to make cutting edge software (and not for making excuses) then you need to apply. Now.

Or and don’t forget, be real. What you’re saying, all of this, it has to be a realistic portrayal of your business’ culture and what you have to offer, otherwise they’ll sniff you out, before even applying! Even worse, they’ll get the job and find out it was all a front and you’re not who you say you are.

Recruit a Different and Better Way

So, there you have it, a different and better way to pitch your jobs, which in my experience always delivers better results, which is better candidates, in this case.  Thank you to Leadership IQ for introducing me to this approach – I wouldn’t recruit without it!