DCS Technical recently advertised for a new technical staff member. The nature of the duties was such that any number of candidates would have the skills to do the job. But the right candidate would have a special combination of intelligence, enthusiasm and entrepreneurism that would make them the right ‘fit’ for the company.
I finished the job ad with the words “But don’t just send me a routine application. I need that particular, ‘perfect fit’ individual who isn’t just a face in the crowd. Look me up, do your research. Then tell my why you want THIS job. Tell me what makes you special. And show me in your application that you have the skills you need to do this job well.”
This was the critical portion of the whole ad. The rest of the text was mostly just telling the candidate why they want the job. This paragraph was stating why I would want the candidate.
Think about this: I literally told the candidates outright what was most important to me. So what difference did that make?
I had a lot of applications, but less than 10% of them actually took the trouble to address this part of the ad. For the rest, either they didn’t read that far, or they didn’t pay attention. But I was paying attention, and this was a major factor in my selection among the applicants.
Now, my job ad might have been a little different from the run of the mill. But the basic lesson is true of all job ads. Every advertised position contains two sets of messages – the direct text and the subtext. The best candidates will read every job ad with an eye to both messages. They will do their research, learn about the employer and the role. They will use their networks, the internet and all of the resources they have at hand.
The best candidates will determine that they want the job at hand, and why. Then they will succinctly articulate to the employer the key attributes that they possess that give them the advantage over the other the rest of the field.
And the best candidates will be the ones that get their foot in the door.