I happened to land on the career site of Bayard, the recruitment ad agency the other day and was a bit surprised at what I saw. They had no job postings.
Instead they broke down the page into skills or departments with only a short paragraph or two of text. The only exception was the biz dev role which is a full description. Take a peek via the screencast below.
I contacted Bayard and asked their Chief Creative Officer, Matthew Gilbert some questions about the origins of this approach. Here’s what he told me.
Why this strategy vs traditional job postings?
Several years ago, we noticed a pattern between time spent engaged in a posting and time disengaged by that very posting. It is effectively the last touchpoint in a search process. A great deal of study about how we perceive value, and how we remember an experience after it has taken place comes from the last part of it. That research was aimed at why we tell stories about positive experience on vacations, yet complained about them all during the vacation…it was because the last dinner was amazing, or the flight home was perfect, no traffic…we then took a look at this often under-loved touchpoint and began exploring how to make it brand smart. Companies invest a lot of time and energy into build employer brand, only to erode in the last inch. The posting is the last inch, sometimes the only inch. That led to a strategic approach. There was nothing to compare it to.
We created a model that outlines how to make impact, influence, be remembered and most importantly, perform as hoped. If more apps is one’s goal, we model for that. If fewer apps of more substantive “quality” is the goal, we equally model for that. The writing itself is designed to be dialogue’esqe, because we respond to things that are humanized, welcoming, thoughtful, a little surprising…all much better. Subheads are used to position topics, like boring qualifications to ease in, like “boring qualifications coming but please read”. No surprise, that boring list of qualifications gets read as a result (and chuckled about) approaching 100%. The goal being that the last point in a job search be made a very, very strong one. Modern campaigns often swing around all the high value brand touchpoints so we design postings to be all things to all reader scenarios, yet never feel robotic or canned.
What kind of results are you seeing vs traditional job postings?
They are almost beyond comparison. The numbers increase, almost universally, but so does the fit and quality equally, if not more. We can’t prevent someone from being inspired, even if not a great fit. At the same time, if one is a great fit, they are equally inspired. Job search is often a comparison of similar roles of relatively similar companies. Competitive advantage can sometimes be measured in small things, and is worth its weight in gold, especially in tight talent markets. This strategy not only drives performance quantitatively, it significantly improves it qualitatively, with things like shared values, work ethic hinting, and the like.
Would these ‘skill-based’ postings be good for any employer?
We’d probably call it Influence based, versus skill, but of course. Any employer looking for competitive advantage and making the last point of contact be one of the strongest would greatly benefit from this type of approach. There is literally no down side.
Is this the career site of the future?
The future moves too fast to call ‘of the future’ because we continuously finesse and noodle. It’s an iterative-innovative process, where data helps inform, practice does too, and so does user input. We actually get people write to us, and our clients, that they were impressed by the posting itself and why they applied. That just happened today with a new writer were recruiting. I’d say it is a heading that all roads lead too and that is to drive qualitative impact in addition to metric impact. Being in the right places, right times is important. What happens when a job seeker gets there is becoming insanely important. And, at the end of that path, is a flesh and blood person, with hopes and aspirations for their careers. We don’t lose sight of that real person, with real needs. No one wakes up in the morning asking to be underwhelmed by their job search. But when we impress and surprise, magic happens. Dream jobs happen.
I like how all the descriptions define the ideal candidate. I think this approach helps to inspire the candidate vs your typical laundry list. Here’s the one for the creative side;
You see things differently and strive to bring a new aesthetic to the world. This intrinsic love of design will serve you well here—you’ll work on and with all manners of creative spanning the divide between viewer and message. Your skills will be put to use as part of a skilled and innovative creative team, bringing all knowledge and talent together in creation of amazing work spanning, digital, print, web, brand and guerilla.
That’s really all you need to describe this role isn’t it? Imagine applying this approach with jobs like a customer service role. Do you really need 10 bullet points to describe that job? I think not.
By pointing out interesting and creative ways to pitch your jobs like this, I hope it motivates at least some of you to go back to your career site and look for ways to inspire potential candidates instead of boring them.