This is a multi-part series. If you haven’t yet read Part 1 below, read it first, then continue reading Part 2 here.
Assuming you write a job description for roles you’re trying to fill, you likely are at least covering the basics of identifying the skills and traits you are looking for. Years of experience, types of experience, certain types of education or training, etc. All of those are important aspects of narrowing the field of candidates you are targeting. But are you being specific enough?
At my company, we had to ask ourselves that question during a recent search for a business development manager. Our job description (and hence our own clarity around what we were looking for) was too general. Sales, marketing, and business development roles are highly performance driven by their very nature. As a result, we needed someone who was extremely confident in his or her abilities and who was a risk taker. Problem was, we were afraid we were going to scare off candidates if we were too bold in highlighting the highly variable nature of the person’s compensation based on performance. (To be blunt—low base salary, high incentive compensation.) We got lots of resume submissions from uninspiring candidates. So we got aggressive. In direct–and some might say “brash”–terms, we started emphasizing our expectations of candidates. Yes, resume submissions dropped, but so too did time wasted screening unqualified candidates.
The recruiting lesson is, be honest with yourself and your needs, then get detailed about what you’re looking for in a given role. What types of companies have your ideal candidates worked at (or better yet, what specific companies have they worked at), what have been their job titles, what keywords would you find in their resumes? In fact, what would you expect them to focus on in their resumes—for example, would you expect lots of comments about teamwork, quantitative results, or lessons learned? And so on. And so on. And so on.
The same goes for marketing. You should be identifying your best prospects, and not just at a general, non-descript level. Spend the time to identify the traits and characteristics of the clients that will gain the most from your product or service. What size is the company? What industry? Where are they located? What roles do they have (or which ones do they lack)? Which individuals (which roles) in the company will be most interested in your product? What very specific and not-too-common keywords would you expect these companies (and the individuals within those companies) to use on their website and in their LinkedIn profiles and pages?
Force yourself to identify granular details about your candidates (if you are hiring) or your prospects (if you are selling and marketing). You will use these details during Part 3.
As a reminder (for those who read Part 1), if you’re a Microsoft partner and you haven’t already registered for as a Cloud Seller MEMBER for FREE, sign up now to not only get notified of updates to this series, but also videos, podcasts, training, news, and reviews related to recruiting, marketing, and other focus areas that will help you grow your business.
Finally, you also have the opportunity to enhance this series. Comment below or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with great examples of candidate or client recruiting you’ve done and I’ll expand the series real time to include other great suggestions.