Ever have one of those moments where things just clicked for you and everything that was a little hazy before now came into focus? I feel blessed that I have had several of those moments in my life and business career. One of them happened in October 2006. I wrote the following script for a radio ad looking for seasonal help at Toy House.
“Are you reliable and trustworthy? Positive and cheerful? Friendly and outgoing? Do you love to help others, no matter how difficult the challenge might be? Are you continually seeking to improve yourself, to be better tomorrow than you were today? Are you willing to give up your weekends just to bring smiles to people’s faces? Do you desire to work for a company that believes in the value of education, the importance of family, and the merit of hard work? Are you willing to forgo upward mobility for stability and satisfaction of a job well done? Apply in person at Toy House, 400 North Mechanic Street, downtown Jackson.”
This ad was a far cry different from previous help-wanted ads.
This was the first I ran that was more about the person than about the job.
Two things happened when I ran this ad.
First, I had fewer applicants than in previous years. This is not a knock on radio because I had used radio several times looking for seasonal employees.
Second, the quality of applicants went up dramatically. I had far more people I was excited to interview than in any year prior.
Actually, three things happened. the third was that I started to see a cultural shift in the team. Oh don’t get me wrong. We had a crack staff in 2006 and, for the most part, for most of our 57 years in business at that point. The sweetest music to my ears was when people told me they loved hiring former Toy House employees because of the quality people they would get.
After running that ad in 2006, however, I never ran a help-wanted ad again. I made a few posts on Facebook. I put a blurb in the email newsletters I would send out. But I didn’t have to pay for another ad. Partly because I found seasonal people who came back year after year for the season. Partly because the team really began to embrace those traits more openly, which, in turn, attracted more people who shared those traits, without even having to run ads.
It really was amazing to see the difference in the quality of people I attracted when I made the help-wanted ad about the person and not the job. Some people heard that radio ad and said, “Oh wow! He’s talking about me!” Others heard it and said, “No way. Not for me.”
When you write your classified about the person, not the job, you are pre-selecting candidates who believe they have the right traits for the job. You’ll attract more of what you want, less of what you don’t want, and have a better pool (even if smaller) of qualified applicants.
PS I’ll be teaching this along with other tips and techniques for “Building a Better Salesperson” for Main Street Royal Oak tomorrow at noon at Cafe Muse on S. Washington in Royal Oak. Hope you can join me.