Attracting the Right Staff Means Selling Your Business Better

There’s an art to writing help-wanted ads that attract savvy salespeople

Consider your weakest salesperson. The amount he or she will sell over the course of the year is probably a lot more than the amount your most important client will spend in the same period. Marketing isn’t just about finding customers. Getting the right staff on board can be infinitely more valuable to your business than any individual customer ever will be. Remember this when hiring. You have to sell yourself to the best candidates in the market.

It doesn’t matter if unemployment is at 15 percent and people are begging to work for nothing. The best applicants, the ones you want, will have their pick of jobs and your goal is to convince them they should work for you.

Coming at the hiring challenge from this angle changes the ballgame. Most people looking to fill positions in their stores trundle out standard advertisements with plenty of “hiring speak” that sounds the same as everyone else’s. These employers don’t realize they are competing for a rare species of candidate. That’s good news for you; if you do a half-decent job of creating an ad that speaks their language, you’ll be that much closer to getting their attention.

First, ask yourself: “Why would someone want to work for me?” Better yet, ask your staff. (Hint: It’s not money.) I’d bet you could name lots of companies that pay well but have unhappy employees. You need to find the selling points about your business that will make the difference and promote them.

Begin by talking to the newest staffers and ask what ultimately sealed the deal for them. What appealed to them about the job? What part of the advertisement caught their eye? It may be flexible hours, location, or something other than what you originally thought.

Tailoring your advertisement to the applicants you are targeting will increase your chances of getting them to respond. Make sure you adopt the same principles that you’d use for an ad designed to appeal to a customer:

1. Make your headline count. Prospects will read on only if there is a what’s-in-it-for-me payoff.

2. Include an image. Give the ad visual appeal with a picture of you and your staff.

3. Use plenty of white space to make your ad stand out.

4. Remember that black writing on a white background works best.

Writing effective help-wanted ads will ensure that you get first pick of the small group of top-quality employees.

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