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Using Your USP to Hire Staff

Aug 17, 2007
Marketing and Human Resources have more in common than most people realize. At present most industries are finding it really tough to get applicants for vacant positions, let alone a good quality of applicant. I have heard many businesses moaning that they haven't had a single application to an ad - and yet some businesses are snowed under with applications. What's the difference?

The smart business knows that in a candidate poor market you have to sell the benefits of working for your company BEFORE the candidate will consider applying for a job with you.

Gone are the days when you would say "Bookkeeper, Brisbane" and then list off the basic duties you expect and expect a flood of applications. These days it is a two way street ... what the candidate is expected to do and what you can do for the candidate.

You need to sell candidates on the idea that you are a great place for them to invest their time and share their talents. You need to attract attention to your business and find a way to tempt candidates to send in their application to you. You can also use this as a chance to extend your brand in the marketplace - after all generally you are paying for an ad so why not use the chance to sell your brand at the same time.

This is where marketing and human resources come together. Go back to your unique selling proposition (USP).

What is unique about your business - what makes you special and stand out from the other businesses in the industry? Chances are that your USP that attracts customers will also attract staff (if used the right way).

Lets make this practical - say your USP is that you provide exceptional service, an experience every time a customer does business with you. How do you provide exceptional service and a quality experience to your staff? What do you do that shows you care about and value your staff (and no just saying that you do won't cut it). Tell some stories in your ads. For example - "Would you like your boss to make YOU coffee every the morning?" or "We are happy to roster you around school sports days, speech days and reading group. We believe your family is important too!"

If your USP is that you think outside the square - well your ad for staff needs to stand out and be different. "Round pegs wanted", "Bathroom philosophers required".

Is your USP that you serve a particular niche market - you are the only left handed widget maker in your country. So your recruitment ads need to show how you value people who are different and out of the ordinary, people who love to specialize in one thing in depth rather than a lot of things in general.

Do you get the idea?

Be really clear about the sort of people that will make your USP come alive and then write your ad in a way that it is like a big neon sign saying "Hey you - over here. I have just the right job to make you happy". Of course, you may have another challenge if the way you treat your staff is not in line with your USP - but that is a whole other article.

If you are clear on who you are, what you are looking for and how you can benefit candidates then you are more likely to get the right candidates applying for your jobs.

The bottom line is that good candidates are hard to find in the present recruitment market. That is - unless you combine great marketing with your Human Resources and sell your company to potential candidates.
About the Author
Ingrid Cliff is a leader in People Management and Business Communications. Find out how to get your People and your Communications aligned with your vision at www.heartharmony.com.au
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