Every senior living organization runs ads on various job boards. The challenge is not that they are running these ads, but WHAT verbiage they use! Chris Heinz shares powerful insight for effective job postings. What you say and what you omit can make a difference in attracting the right talent!
During our Mindset Moment, BTG Contributor Chris Heinz, Managing Partner of Westport One, discusses the reality of life and time. Focusing on the truly important parts of life rather than busy work will leave you more fulfilled!
Welcome to Bridge the Gap Contributor Wednesday, I’m Chris Heinz. Our senior living industry has been hit incredibly hard by the staffing crisis, but contrary to belief, the pandemic was not the cause. Yes, it exasperated the challenge, but many operators in the industry were dealing with these shortages well before March, 2020. Every level of staffing has been a challenge for most of the operators, whether we’re talking about care staff, dining, nursing, or community leadership, every level has had these challenges. So what have most done to try to fix this hiring crisis? They have run ad after ad after ad. The location of the ad doesn’t matter, whether it’s the company career page, a college career page, monster career builder, LinkedIn jobs, or of course that 200-pound gorilla, Indeed. Last month we discussed the multiple ways to find the right talent to fill your critical positions. And in that episode, I promised to deliver an in-depth, deeper dive in how to create effective ads.
So here I am delivering on that promise. Geez, I sound like a politician right there, don’t I? The problem with many of the ads posted on the majority of the job boards is they’re plain boring. Far too many of these postings, simply list the job, title duties, responsibilities, and the requirements to be qualified to apply. Now, when I read those postings, I get so incredibly excited and they make me want to jump out of my seat and find that apply button as soon as I can. If you didn’t sense my sarcasm there, then I did a poor job in selling it. Duties and responsibilities excite no one. A shopping list of requirements excites no one. Will a job posting written in this format get you applicants? Of course. There are those that are unemployed that will apply. There are those that might consider themselves desperate that will apply to anything. Those that are really wanting to work specifically for your company. They’ll apply too. And there will be a small percentage of passive candidates that realize that most of the ads are just done this way, and they’ll apply too.
But if you are looking to inspire the best talent, those that have only a limited time available to explore new opportunities, a posting that was written in this format will not attract them. So the question is what will? There is a small, but growing contingent of organizations that work to answer a critical question in their ad. Why come work for us? Or they answer the second critical question of why should you be interested in these positions? These are the types of things that we find are most attractive to the best talent. And if you noticed neither of these questions are answered with duties, responsibilities, or requirements.
In my very first episode, way back in January, when I was just a rookie with Bridge the Gap, not the grizzled veteran that you hear today. I discussed creating compelling stories to effectively attract the best talent. We discussed the COT model. Now, does anyone remember what those letters stand for? It’s okay. I’ll wait for an answer. Oh, that’s right. This isn’t live. So let me help you with your recollection. C O T stands for company, opportunity, and team. If you use this acronym to share your story, your job posting will be incredibly stronger. Don’t worry. You could still send your job description of those glorious duties and responsibilities to the right candidates to review. Just don’t use them as your posting.
First sell the company. Why would someone want to come to work for your company? What’s the company culture and ideally have it explained by your employees? Why do they love to come to work? Why do they love working with their team? Now, it’s okay. And probably suggested to have at least a one-liner about how long you’ve been in existence and how many communities you have, because that’s completely fine. They need to know that, but you’ll want to quickly transition your company pitch to the selling points that I just mentioned.
Secondly, sell the opportunity. Why would somebody want this job? What is exciting or challenging about it? How can this position lead to future promotions? Of course, give that one or two line description of what the job entails, but please just don’t give the duties and responsibilities.
Third, sell the team. Now the team encompasses multiple groups. The people they’ll be directly reporting to, whether that be the executive director, a regional divisional, SVP, or even directly to the CEO themselves. We know that typically there are multiple layers of reporting responsibility. So make sure to explain that, but also discuss the team that they’ll be working with. Sell how they will be part of a team where they can both learn from and support each other. And if they’ll be exposed to the truly higher ups in the C-suite, sell that this position is a visible one, and that they will be seen by those that are responsible for future advancement. That is something that would attract somebody.
Now, if you pick up what I’m laying down here, your job posting is your sales pitch on why they should be interested. Remember it does not matter if they’re qualified for the position if they don’t apply. It only matters if they are interested and qualified and apply, you would much rather have the opportunity to review multiple resumes because so many people were interested. This gives you the ability to determine who is qualified for the position. Of course, the other option is to list all those duties, responsibilities, and knockout factors, and only a few people apply and potentially none are qualified, which would you rather have?
The other element of a job posting is to talk about the job title itself. While some titles are self-explanatory, such as executive director or director of nursing. Others can have far too many meetings. Many organizations have worked really hard to have their internal titles have a great meaning to their teams. In fact, these titles are part of their culture, but unless your internal titles make sense to someone who is not currently part of your team, but hoping to become so, you should not use those internal titles in your job postings.
The easiest example that I could think of to bring this point home is the many variations of sales director. Holy cow, there are a lot of variations for this title. Some of the more common ones are Community Sales Director, Community Relations Director, Senior Living Sales Advisor, or Director of Sales. But one of my all-time favorite extreme examples that I saw was Director of Connections for Our Beloved Seniors. What does that mean? The point I’m working to make here is that your title should be used on the posting so that it makes sense to the potential applicant.
Now, the other part of the title is any attention-grabbing words that you choose to use. Now, this is a subject that is controversial to some because the experts that work for the various job boards, whether that be Indeed or LinkedIn jobs or Career Builder, they change their mind on this subject on a regular basis.
Some say it’s all right, heck even encouraged to list your sign-on bonus, your location, or something exciting or ultra-creative in the title of the position, because it’ll make it stand out. Others say that listing anything beyond the actual title will hurt the algorithm and give you less views. It’s kind of akin to those experts who talk about the benefits or detriments to drinking coffee or wine. One day you could read that an expert will say that a glass of wine a day will help you live to a hundred. The next day, a different expert will say drinking a glass of wine will cause liver failure by 60. Just wait another day, and a new expert will give you a new opinion, and maybe you like that one better. I like it when all the experts say that running will destroy your knees. Well, I’m proof positive that isn’t the case, but I digress. Back to titles and add on words.
Our opinion is that if you have something that will jump out at a potential candidate, such as a major sign-on bonus, use it. A thousand or two thousand dollar bonus, unfortunately, is not that special in this hypercompetitive market that we’re in. And that is not intended to be an insult if that is the sign-on bonus you offer. Anything better than the salary is good, but I wouldn’t recommend using that as a jump-out statement in your title.
Finally, let me discuss a dirty little secret on job postings. Location matters. Particularly with the crazy high gas prices that we are seeing across the country. Whenever gas prices go up, location becomes even more important. If you have a position in a small town that is not within driving distance of a larger market, your number of views, your clicks, and your applicants will be lower.
One way to combat this is not to move the community, you can’t. You built it or bought it where it was for a reason, right? But you can do one thing. And that is to sell the opportunity and let the prospective candidate know that relocation assistance is available. This is the perfect example of something that you should add to the title, particularly when you were dealing with a smaller market.
I hope that you gain some value from these tidbits and these tips on things that you can do to improve your job posting. Using the COT model, company, opportunity, boss, and selling the sizzle, as opposed to selling the job description, the duties, and responsibilities, and those knockout factors and requirements, as opposed to doing that and selling that COT model, you will attract more potential candidates that might hit that magical apply button.
It is now time for our mindset moment. Full disclosure, some of my content for this mindset moment is inspired by Jesse Itzler. Now, if you don’t follow him on Instagram, I highly encourage you to do so. You will get a real look into his life. Not some of the fake looks that we see from other influencers. You’ll see his family and life with Sarah Blakely. The inspirational stories that he shares, the amazing endurance adventures that he partake in, how to build your life resume, and many, many more amazing stories. One thing that Jesse talks about regularly is realizing how you spend your time and ensuring that you spend your time on the things that matter the most.
This mindset moment is about how much time do you have left and how are you going to spend it? Based on statistics, the average person lives to 78.6 years old. Now women typically live longer than men. I know how old I am by the time this episode drops, I will have just turned 50. You don’t have to say it. I know, I know I sound much younger to your ears. You know how old you are too. So how many days have you lived, and how many of those days do you actually remember? What’s important to you? Are you spending your time on the things that are important or to spending your time on things?
Just imagine if you free up 90 minutes a day, you would give yourself two full years combined to do things that are more important and matter to you. Let’s break that down to a smaller portion, just free up 45 minutes a day. And that’s an extra full year to spend on those important things.
Many of us are blessed with our parents still living, but as time marches on, they’re getting older. Let’s say that your parents are 75. And let’s say that they are living a very healthy lifestyle. So let’s say that they live well beyond the average and live to 85. That means that you have 10 more years with them, right? Well, as Jesse helps people realize you don’t have 10 more years with them. That is unless you’re living with them. If your parents live outta town like so many do, you might see them two or three times a year. That means that you only have 20 or 30 more visits with them. Let’s say that you talk to them weekly. Well, that still means that you only have less than 500 more times to talk with them. So ask yourself, what’s more important, spending an extra 30 minutes on that spreadsheet or fitting in a bonus conversation with your mom, with your daughter?
Life is not work. Work is part of life. Your relationships matter, your health matters. Your family matters. And yes, your work matters. Spend your time on all of the important things, not just the work ones.
Over the past six episodes, we have covered many things from the power of storytelling, creating a win-win interview process, why people stay or why they go, how to be an industry champion, how to find candidates, and this discussion on effective job postings. I truly hope that you have learned something, hopefully several things, that have already helped you with attracting and hiring the right talent to fill your critical positions. In addition, I’ve had the privilege of sharing six mindset moments that have hopefully helped you with how you look and think about things.
It has been my true honor to lead you on this journey, but our time together is not over. Because of you, the BTG leadership team has asked me to continue with providing you on a monthly basis with ideas and advice on recruiting team, building and mindset.
Thank you for listening. Thank you for your comments and thank you for your ideas. Of course, if you have any comments, questions, complaints, or even conundrums on this subject of job postings from today, message me on LinkedIn. Stay tuned next month for the next chapter in our recruiting and mindset adventures.
This is Chris Heines, and thanks for listening to this week’s BTG Contributor Wednesday, and please make sure to connect with email@example.com.
Thanks for listening to the Contributor Wednesday series on the Bridge the Gap Network for a full library of episodes, visit BTGvoice.com.