If the hospitality industry complains about
one thing above anything else, itís the lack of good people,
something universally referred to as "the crippling skills
But have you ever asked yourself the
question: "Why arenít the right people coming to me?"
You have a vacancy and you need someone to
fill it. Whatever medium you decide to use to advertise it, be it
newspaper, magazine or Internet, you need to do it in a way that
makes people want to come and work for you.
A job advertisement is exactly that Ė
an advertisement. You are selling the job and the company to the
reader. Ironically, the biggest mistake recruiters make when
writing a job advert is exactly the same as that made by poor
applicants Ė they just donít sell themselves.
A good ad, no matter what size, can be easily
split into five key areas and all need to be covered:
What is the company and what does it do?
What is the actual job?
Who exactly is the company looking for?
How much are they going to get paid?
How do they apply?
First, never assume that the reader knows who
you are and what you do. For example, there arenít many people
who have never heard of McDonaldís, but they may only have heard
the bad press.
Donít just tell them what you do, tell them
why youíre the best at it. Tell them why youíre a great,
successful, growing business and anybody coming to work for you
will be so lucky theyíll never leave.
This sounds over the top, but remember,
itís a sales job. Hereís an example:
Sales manager needed for 60-bedroom,
three-star hotel in York. Job will also cover restaurant.
Compare that with the next one. Which would
be more likely to get you reaching for your CV?
The Grand Hotel in picturesque York
needs a dynamic new sales manager. With 60 bedrooms, weíre one
of the biggest hotels in the city and our restaurant has won the
Yorkshire Eats Out award for the past three years. Have you got
what it takes to makes us even more successful?
The trick is, donít be shy.
Second, you need to tell the potential
applicant exactly what the job is. Make sure you detail exactly
the level of responsibility and the main duties, but sell the
challenges and what the job may lead to in the future. If the job
has become vacant because the previous incumbent has been poached
or promoted, then slip that in.
Again, look at this example:
Sales manager needed. Will manage
sales team of three, covering conference and hotel side of the
Yawn. Now compare it with this:
Sales manager needed. Heading up a
tight-knit team of dedicated sales staff, you will be responsible
for a budget of $1m a year covering our award-wining conference
hotel. We plan to double the size of our facilities in the next
two years and need you to help us grow the team to 12. Our last
sales manager has been poached by head office to cover the whole
country. Can you step into his shoes?
Third, you need to tell the reader all the
skills, qualifications and attributes you think anyone filling
your vacancy will need. This is as much for you as it is for them,
as it will filter out an awful lot of people who arenít what you
You still need to apply the hard sell, but
many companies put lots of buzzwords in this part that sound good
but are of little practical use.
We want a sales manager who can think
outside the box, inspire, lead, and deliver quality and
Yes, Iím sure you do, but that doesnít
help the applicant reading the advert decide whether he has what
youíre looking for.
Stick with the hard facts:
We want a sales manager with at least
three yearsí experience in a tough hotel conference sales
environment. He or she must be of graduate caliber, have at least
one industry qualification and be able to prove an outstanding
sales track record.
In other words, leave the questions about
"thinking outside the box" to the interview Ė that way
you can ask for examples.
Fourth, you need to tell them what theyíre
going to get paid, or more precisely, what the benefits package
will be. Most people scanning a page of ads gauge their
suitability by the title and the wage. They may be a sales manager
on $20,000, so if they spy another sales managerís job for $120,000,
they know itís out of their league.
Again, the reader wants the detail as
succinctly as possible. Bullet points are useful here, for
25 daysí holiday
Of course, not all companies like to give
details of salary and benefits, preferring to hedge their bets
with phrases like: "An excellent competitive salary and
benefits package is available to the right candidate." Which,
to most potential candidates, is about as helpful as the obsession
with thinking outside the box.
The reasons for not wanting to specify a
salary are obvious, but it means you will have to spend a long
time making sure the details of duties and responsibilities are
completely clear. Otherwise youíll get applications from totally
inappropriate people way above, or way below, the level youíre
One way around this is to specify a salary
range, such as "$25,000- $35,000" which will at least
help the bemused applicant. The problems will probably then come
when you offer them the job and they get the $25,000 rather than
the $35,000, but at least you will have found someone you want.
Finally, how do you want them to apply? The
covering letter and resume is traditional, but many people have
e-mail these days and this is more convenient both for you and
them. However, e-mail has an air of informality about it that many
employers donít like.
Do you want to give out a phone number for
anybody who is after more details? Potentially irritating if
youíre expecting a lot of applicants, but it does give you a
chance to further assess applicants.
Donít be afraid to ask for extra
information if you need it. Details of current salary is the most
common thing to ask for, but if you want references, or examples
of their work, then stick that in as well.
The job advertisement is the potential
applicantís window into your company. If you want to attract the
right people, you need to make sure they know youíre there, know
what youíre about and why you need them. Think of it like
reception in a hotel: no matter how nice the rooms are, if
thereís nobody at the desk then customers canít check in.