Tip of the Week: It’s Not About You

For your #mondayinspo, we’re taking a look at your organization’s job listings. Are they all about what you need, or all about what you can offer your dream candidate? Here’s a scintillating nibble from the fall conference keynote on The Future of Talent Acquisition and Welfare, delivered by Tom Erb this past December. 

As recruiters in all sectors are facing a talent shortage, it’s important to sell yourself to job seekers. You want to be loud and proud about what you have to offer candidates, and that starts with your job descriptions. “Make them into marketing pieces,” encourages staffing & recruiting expert Tom Erb, “and use phrases that are candidate-centric, not employer-centric.”

Language & Phrases Used in Employer-Centric Job Descriptions

  • “The ideal candidate must possess the following skills…”
  • “We are looking for candidates that can do this…”
  • Are you hardworking and dependable?”
  • “Must be able to pass a drug screen”

Language & Phrases Used in Candidate-Centric Job Descriptions

  • “Are you looking for the next stage in your career?”
  • “Plenty of time for your personal life”
  • “Have you always wanted to…”
  • “You are the type of person who enjoys…”

If your org’s JDs have historically sounded more like the one on top, you’re not alone—Erb says that the majority of JDs are. But with a little reframing—you’re offering an opportunity, not asking for requirements—you’ll set yourself apart. And for the animal welfare industry, Erb recommends including simple questions like, “Are you somebody who wants to have purpose-driven work?” and “Do you love animals?” 

Erb explains that these questions can be so effective because they help to create an emotional connection. “It’s kind of like when you buy a house and the realtor walks you through and says, ‘Can you imagine hosting Thanksgiving dinner in this dining room?’ As silly as this sounds, there is a significant emotional component to this. We want to create that emotional component where a candidate thinks, ‘Yes, I could see myself doing this and this would be fulfilling to me.’” 

Conference attendees can log into the conference site and listen to the recording of Tom’s session through the end of February.

Missed the conference? Tom will be presenting more on this topic on March 23 — register for The Future of Talent Acquisition and Retention.

More Tips of the Week

Tip of the Week: Setting the Ground Rules
Tip of the Week: It’s Not About the Toilet Paper…
Tip of the Week: A Very Important Date


The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.


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