How a Good Job Listing Attracts and Repels the Right Candidates

In her groundbreaking 2010 book, “”The Cultural Fit Factor: Creating an Employment Brand That Attracts, Retains, and Repels the Right Employees,” recruitment and employer branding expert Lizz Pellet puts forth the premise that companies want to repel certain job candidates.

The idea initially met with some skepticism. Repel job candidates? Say what? Isn’t the goal to attract candidates?

Yes, the goal is to attract candidates, but you want to attract the right candidates, those who are a fit for your company’s culture and the job. At the same time, you want to repel other candidates, those who aren’t a fit, so that they don’t waste your time or theirs by applying for the job.

This was great advice in 2010. Today, it’s a practice best companies strive to follow.

It makes perfect sense, if you think about it. So, how do you create a job listing that both attracts and repels job candidates?

Talk about the workplace

Make sure you share information about your company’s culture in the ad you post to a local job board.

This is important because you want to hire people who connect with your company, its values, mission and vision, and management style. An employee who is a good fit will be more engaged in the job, and therefore more productive. In addition, he or she will stay in the job longer, which means you won’t have to perpetually recruit for the position.

At the same time, by sharing information about your company’s culture, you screen out, or repel, candidates you might mistakenly hire.

Connecting to culture

Of course, you first have to identify the key elements of your company’s culture. Note the word “identify.” This is not something you have to make up; your culture already exists.

Here are a few examples. Southwest Airlines is known as fast, fun, and friendly, and the culture is ingrained in employee behavior and company processes. Fast-food Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays because of its faith-based culture.

Google, meanwhile, includes this information in the Our Culture section at its website: “We strive to maintain the open culture often associated with startups, in which everyone is a hands-on contributor and feels comfortable sharing ideas and opinions.”

What are the messages here?

If you’re a job seeker who doesn’t like to work in teams, you should avoid Google. If you are interested in working weekends and prefer to keep religion separate from business, Chick-fil-A probably isn’t for you. And if crazy workplace behavior drives you crazy, you’re going to feel uncomfortable at Southwest.

Even if your company is a small business in Alaska it has a culture. Sharing information about that culture in your job listing will help you attract and repel the right candidates, which will lead to better hires.

Paula Santonocito, a business journalist specializing in employment issues, has covered online recruitment since the early days of Web-based employment advertising and candidate sourcing.

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