Peruvian Onions

Joe Produce: "JAO" - Job Ad Optimization

It seems that we need to revisit, with some alacrity, the descriptions each company creates for a role they are looking to market and fill. I have said it before and once again: Attracting candidates to a job at your company is marketing.

If that sounds familiar, I’m glad to hear you have been reading. We laid the groundwork for job descriptions in Issue 31 of The Snack (I know, a lifetime ago in produce) and now I think it’s time to take it a step further.

There are two very separate documents that are closely related but different: job descriptions and job ads. Job ads are marketing, job descriptions are an HR doc. Here in our office, we jokingly refer to some of them as “OSHA Compliant job descriptions” versus job ads with a marketing strategy.

I love analogies, and so here is one that makes my point:

Definition of automobile
(Entry 1 of 2)
: a usually four-wheeled automotive vehicle designed for passenger transportation

Think Ferrari and you think beautiful, fast, elite, Italian racing car. That notion pops into your mind even if you have never been behind the wheel of one—or even in the showroom.

“Put a Ferrari in the dark,” says Marco Mattiacci, President and CEO of Ferrari North America, “and just by touching the car, you will recognize it as a Ferrari.”

It’s the type of brand and messaging that inspires people. There are cars, and then there are Ferraris. There are companies and jobs,  and there are special places to work. Special teams, cultures, and roles.

Think Inspire versus Inform!

I had one HR professional tell me that a position “may have to work outside, may have to lift a 35 lb case, and that information had to be on our job ad.” No it doesn’t! It’s an ad! That job was for a Sales Coordinator. Do not clutter your message with the legalese and compliance when it comes to your job ads. Inspire!

As for crafting your job ads, one of the most effective copywriting strategies at your disposal is to mirror the candidates’ goals in their next career venture. So, what do they want from their next employer? Obviously, that can vary widely, but there are some common denominators; I bet you and your colleagues can list more, too.

Here are 11 “wants” that we hear often:

1. Security: A financially stable company with relatively predictable performance

2. A great culture and work environment

3. A place where people get along, work as a team, and support one another

4. A company that is growing and dynamic

5. Overall solid leadership

6. Ownership and/or management is pleasant and supportive, with good communication

7. Good medical benefits, 401k, etc.

8. A bonus/commission/reward program that is understandable and documented

9. A clear vision, direction, and mission

10. Upward mobility, such as opportunities to advance in their career

11. Products and/or services that customers want and that the candidate believes in

NOTE: Factors like supporting your community, giving, sustainability, etc. are all climbing the list as meaningful to the younger generations looking at their employment options.

Most big decisions are being made by more than one person. So, you don’t have to market just to the candidate, but also their husband, wife, partner, parent, friend, or confidant. Remember that human beings make decisions with their minds and hearts—speak to both!

The “JAO” Way:

Why is this a great place to work?
“We work hard, expect results, and expect our team to have balance to enjoy their families and lives outside of work.” WOW! If that’s the case, share it.

WIFM (What’s In It For Me?): This is what the candidates want to know. I’ve heard employees say that they were attracted to a company because the leadership was known to listen to their people and use their ideas. Is that your company? If so, share it.

Next Gen: The newer generations place a high value on the environment and culture. If you have that, then share it.

Of course, salary and benefits will always be in the top five. It is why many of us work, after all! Perhaps you want to let candidates know that you pay well and have a solid benefit program. 

Why do people leave employers?
Go back to the “11 Wants List” above. If someone is leaving, some of those things are missing.

So, communicate why you’re a great place to work, and then be a great place to work. You’ll attract and keep more people!

Contributing Author

Founder and President, Joe Produce Search℠. Joe Produce Search (JPS) is the Executive Search division of Joe Produce®. Joe Produce Search is comprised of experienced search consultants and produce professionals. Our placements range from middle management to C-level positions, throughout North America, covering a wide range of produce and produce-related businesses. Joe Pro Resumes is another service of Joe Produce®. Joe Pro Resumes helps you write and refine your resume to help you find the produce industry position of your dreams. We have written hundreds of resumes for many professionals in the produce business in addition to various related sectors.