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Sourcing the Heat: Five Tales of Passion . . . In Recruitment

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By Tom Brennan, Senior Writer

Part 1: Passion Attracts Passion

True confession: if you’re looking for a blog about intimate desire, I may have misled you. But if you are tasked with finding candidates who bring passion along with skills and experience, I think you’ll find some juicy bits here.

To attract passionate talent in a highly competitive market, you need to communicate passion in your job postings. As a member of Decision Toolbox’s (DT) Creative team, I have interviewed some 3500 hiring managers (HMs) in order to clarify what the HM is looking for in a candidate and, more importantly, what it is about a particular opening that will tempt the right candidate. Based on those interviews I develop targeted marketing pieces called a Jobinfo Writeup. No two positions are the same, and even the passion varies from position to position.

In this two-part blog I’ll share five stories as examples of how you can not only communicate the passion associated with a position, but also leverage it to attract engaged and enthusiastic talent.

Oh, my darlin’ . . . you have to mine for it

To communicate the passion, first you need identify it. Yes, passion for your company’s mission is important, but you also need to dig deeper to understand what is unique about the specific opening that will inspire a passionate candidate to apply.

I once worked on a search for a Manufacturing Engineer and held a Discovery Call/brainstorm session with the Product Development Manager and the Lead Engineer. “Great,” I thought, “this should be a goldmine of information.” And so it was, until the conversation moved from topics like dimensional tolerancing to what will attract the passion candidate. In the silence that followed it seemed the mother lode had been played out. 

Tease out the passion

With a different tack, however, I hit pay dirt again: “What do YOU love about working there?” The two engineers waxed enthusiastic: they love being involved in projects from beginning to end (as opposed to just one part), getting hands-on on the manufacturing floor and in the on-site tooling shop, and more. In a blink we went from two somber professionals to two kids in a candy store.

The passion is there. You may have to dig for it or tease it out, but find out what gets your top people motivated to come to work each day and share it with the talent pool.

Put your passion where your pen is

Share it right away, starting with your job postings. On another project, the client had posted this in their careers portal: “You will be responsible for providing periodic and ad-hoc financial analysis for decision makers.” Oooh! Talk dirty to me!

Yet on the Discovery Call the HM revealed that this was a pivotal role. Try this in a low, breathy voice: “Your mission will be to provide the insights and ideas that drive key executive decisions in our organization.” The first version will help you attract some candidates, but the second will help you draw more AND better-qualified ones.

You can infuse passion into any part of your posting. For example, when DT was searching for a Director of Business Development for our own company, we didn’t want to post a specific compensation range, as that can narrow the pool. Instead, we crafted a simple statement that (1) appealed to our target candidates and (2) conveyed something of the culture and passion at DT: “If you make it rain, we’ll make sure you can afford to buy an umbrella anywhere in the world.”

All innuendo aside, passion is important. In order to attract and retain the passionate candidate, you need to share with candidates how each role will allow them to channel their passion. Coming in Part 2: more stories to spice up your recruiting efforts.

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