Some job orders on a recruiter’s desk are easy sells – the ones for companies that offer generous packages and great working environments with on-site gyms, or roles in locations that are hotbeds for that industry, or clients who hold spots on “Best Places to Work” lists. Then… then there are the other orders – positions in rural areas, roles at companies that aren’t so “sexy,” jobs that require long hours or lots of travel, etc.
How do you post the job order or present it to a candidate when you don’t have a great first line like: “Work for a booming startup in the heart of Manhattan; this client offers great perks like a company vehicle and generous PTO policy…”?
Of course, you have to be honest… you can’t tell a candidate that your client offers something that is totally false. But there is always a way to spin a negative into a positive (for example, rural areas can be lauded for their low cost-of-living, and long hours might be the first steps in a company with a road to advancement). You need to be up-front about any drawbacks regarding the role — 1) to prevent a potential fall-off, because 2) the candidate will eventually find out anyway, and you will likely ruin the relationship with them because they won’t trust you anymore.
Here’s some tips on selling your “less-than-perfect” job orders:
- Emotion is always number 1. While fat paychecks and great benefits are always a plus, candidates want to work for a company they align with and feel connected to. What is at the core of the organization’s mission and value of its work?
- It’s easier to sell jobs at big companies who are leaders in their field. If your client is a smaller business/organization, stress to your candidate that its employees may have more opportunity for advancement, or they may have more “say” in decision-making, etc. Big fish, smaller pond.
- Not located in a major city or desirable location? Stress the company culture – a strong culture reduces turnover, improves employee productivity and satisfaction, and is linked to greater profits.
- What if the candidate thinks they could get a bigger salary from the same role elsewhere? Explain that your client is in a location with a low cost of living, low taxes, low crime rates, high quality of schools, etc. Do some research on the area and present this to your candidate – they may prefer small-town life, and realize that it all equals out – a higher salary elsewhere will also come with a higher cost of living.
- If the workplace itself is difficult — long hours or problematic leadership — point out the room for opportunity. Without challenge, there is no change. Working in a challenging environment can build skills, and can create more opportunities in the long run.
As a recruiter, you must be honest and point out your client’s challenges and shortcomings, but also do some research to emphasize the overall opportunity for the candidate.