In the world of recruiting, there’s no substitute for a strong attraction. And, while current employees can court candidates during interviews, an inspiring job announcement makes great candidates say “yes” to the first date.
To get a passive candidate to apply, you need an inspiring job announcement: one that stirs emotion, piques curiosity, prompts wonder, and triggers surprise.
There are five principles for creating inspiring job announcements: arouse emotion, stress strengths, emphasize opportunity, be optimistic, and keep it short.
It doesn’t matter how sophisticated science gets: Stories will always trump statistics. That’s because stories arouse emotion. We crave stories of virtue, triumph, connection, and compassion. Here are the lead statements from five job announcements. See if the images and emotions stir up in you.
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- International Community Health Services: an Oasis in a Foreign Desert. For thousands of immigrants in Seattle, Washington, International Community Health Services is an oasis in a foreign desert. It is a place where a Vietnamese mother can talk to a nurse about her baby’s development, where an elderly Somali man can pick up a prescription with translated instructions, and where a Chinese immigrant can get acupuncture for back pain.
- Powerful Voices: A Place to Dream and Succeed. In every corner of America, there is will and wonder in young girls. A 12-year-old daughter asks why we go to war. A niece in the eighth grade dreams of becoming a pediatrician. A girl down the street wants to end domestic violence. Girls are dauntless in their intentions to change the world and are steadfast in their hopes to succeed. With powerful voices, they can.
- Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI): a Solution to Poverty. For a low-wage immigrant worker, SJI offers a path to prosperity. For a single mother, SJI provides an avenue to advancement. For adults who have previously struggled in the workplace, school, and other things in life, SJI offers a chance to succeed. It is a solution to poverty, one family at a time.
Everyone wants to work for a winner. We like organizations that had a great year, change with the times, and are solid. Ferret out the strengths of your company and incorporate them into your announcements. Does your organization’s culture encourage deep discussions like those found in college courses? Are afternoon meetings as lively as a party? Is your company a stable ship that can navigate rough waters when the market sways? Here are some sample statements from job announcements that convey strength:
- Organizational Growth. Since its founding three decades ago, Puget Sound Neighborhood Health Centers has grown steadily in size and scope. The organization has created teen health centers in schools, acquired independent clinics, and built new ones where needed. Today, Puget Sound Neighborhood Health Centers is a vibrant consortium of 18 clinics with a total annual budget of $26 million.
- Track Record. For 15 years, People for Puget Sound has been the leading citizen organization working to protect our region’s greatest jewel.
- Caring Organizational Culture. Staff members are drawn to Cancer Lifeline because of their commitment to the mission; they stay because of the organization’s commitment to them. The organization’s executive director has served the agency for 22 years; its associate program director has been there for 20 years; and several others have stayed for more than a decade.
- Financial Stability. With its reserve fund of $21 million, the Comprehensive Health Education Foundation is the envy of the Northwest nonprofit sector. The organization generates all of its revenue from earned income, giving its staff financial security, flexibility over where to spend money, and protection from market sways and government cuts.
No matter what the color of our collar, we all seek similar qualities in our work. We want to make a decent living, to create and achieve something, to earn respect, and to contribute. Most of us also want to learn from our work and to make friends. The qualities a job offers are its selling points. Before mentioning duties or qualifications, weave in your job’s selling points, such as:
- Lead Us into the Future. The executive director of Social Justice Fund is an excellent opportunity for a leader with an unyielding commitment to social justice and human rights. The organization has all of the necessary ingredients for growth and success: a timely mission, a 30-year track record, a large pool of individual donors, an excellent reputation, a committed staff, and an active board.
- Join a Great Team. The staff at Icicle Creek Music Center (“the Center”) do what they love and love what they do. They also care about each other: While each person has a particular role, the staff also works together to support the Center as a whole.
- Strong Salary and Benefits. The starting salary for the MissionWise director is $80,000-$90,000 plus excellent benefits.
Every organization has warts, but warts only attract toads. To attract great candidates, sound an optimistic tone. A dip in sales is an opportunity to innovate. A discovery of bad side effects can be a chance to learn and improve. An inaccurate public statement can fuel a new policy to get the facts right.
Keep it Short
While the trend in recruiting is to post full announcements with lengthy lists of qualifications and responsibilities, nothing can make a passive candidate click away faster than an announcement that drones on like an absent-minded professor. Make job announcements 2-3 pages. If you feel the need to include a complete list of duties or required skills and experience, consider a second pop-up box linked into the job announcement.