Who’s Your Customer?

By Dan Ridge, Senior Contributing Consultant, Q4B

Ask any successful business leader who is their customer and you are likely to get a pretty detailed answer. Some could provide you with demographics and statistics on age, gender, education, income level and buying habits. Others might base their answer on type of product or service offered and their specific market’s competitive landscape. Still others could offer a price breakdown comparison within certain product or service segments and advertising dollars spent.

In other words, all successful business leaders know their customer. After all, businesses need customers who will buy, rent or use their products or services. Companies can spend huge amounts of money compiling up to date information, conducting point of sale surveys, and reacting to customer satisfaction surveys and complaints all in an effort to make sure that they are offering the right product or service that their customers would want or need.

So why then does the vast majority of companies treat some customers well and treat other customers as though they don’t exist. The customers who are treated well, the customers that companies spend vast amounts of money on, the buyers of product or service customers are treated well, are wooed are catered to.

The customers who are not treated well, who are by and large ignored are those customers who are applying for your open positions. They are your candidate customers.

Candidates are customers. They could also be buyers of your products and services. But first and foremost they are buyers of your brand, your company, your job opportunity. And they should be treated as such.

Imagine a company attempting to attract the buyer of product or service customer with advertising that did not excite, did not attract, did not create interest in their product or service but merely listed everything about a particular product or service including all disclaimers and legal formalities. Chances are that not many of the buyer customers would respond. Chances are that the company would not be in business for too much longer.

Now look at how most companies attempt to attract the best candidate customer for their job openings. Most job postings (company job sites, job boards, social media sites, newsprint) do not excite, do not attract and do not create any interest on the part of the candidate customer that the company is hoping to target.

The majority of job postings contain every bit of information about a job including disclaimers and legal formalities and they are an insult to the candidate customers who are being targeted.

Here is what should change with job postings.

  • The job posting should contain just enough information about the position, reflect the company’s brand, provide only absolute must-haves for the position, list any possible restrictions, and if required the mandatory legalese, that will grab the attention of the candidate customer and excite them, make them respond, and have a call to action.
  • The job posting should show respect for the type of candidate customer who is being targeted. In other words if the job requires a certain number of years of experience in a particular field, it should not be necessary to list every possible tool, application, instrument, program, etc. that may or may not be used in this particular job. If the candidate customer has the years of experience in a field and similar environment, chances are he/she could do the job.

Valeria Maltoni, who writes a very successful blog, Conversation Agent, suggests that “there is an opportunity for businesses to understand each customer as an individual — and they can do that through direct interaction”. Isn’t that what treating your job candidates as customers is all about?

As recruiters we certainly get to understand each candidate customer as an individual and we do so through direct interaction (sourcing, screening and selecting).

And it all could start with a well written, exciting, creative and respectful job posting.

Here at Q4B we are on a mission to rewrite the book on job postings and in the process help educate our client companies on a better way to attract, excite and create interest from the talent that they are looking to hire.

Check out our Talent Hub and see our progress as we start to rewrite our existing job postings and post new opportunities as we get them.

We look forward to any comments or suggestions that you may have.

So, Who’s your customer now?

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