Why Help Wanted Ads Fail: How to Identify the Skills Your Business Really Needs
Help Wanted But Not Received
Help wanted ads are often written by your HR team with some help from marketing, which typically means that you’re not advertising the most important skills your business needs. Job board ads not only sit among hundreds or thousands of others, but they deliver a flood of resumes for candidates that don’t fit.
But, you can’t blame these people for not being the right candidate. You see, the biggest error of help wanted ads is that they don’t address the right skills to help your business grow. They’re created in a bubble and just one of the many tasks your HR team is working on right now.
Here are a few ways you can break that cycle and hire right for your next position.
Update All Job Descriptions
Your company may change more often than your employees. Changing markets, products, and the emergence of new technology all tend to cause staff to change their daily activities and learn new skills. When you’re getting ready for a hire of any significance or leadership role, reach out to existing team members to learn what they do and get a feel for how much things have changed.
Test for Talent
Once you’ve put together a list of skills that your company needs to thrive, look internally to see what skills your employees have and at what level. Skills testing is a good benchmarking tool to help you understand both where you are and how far you need to go.
Testing can also assist you in determining where you need to hire and where you may benefit from broader investments in training and development.
Ask Your Teams What They Need
Your teams not only know what they need to do for their own positions, but they may see where gaps exist in their larger department. Discussing needs only with leadership or management can miss out on skills or opportunities.
For example, your Director of Commercial Underwriting may know that an Underwriting Manager needs the ability to develop strategies for company objectives. However, your underwriters may also identify the need for a manager who can help train them on advanced policies or balance the workload as it changes throughout the year.
Your team knows their frustration points, and these might be the gaps that are best to fill first to maximize your overall operational efficiency.
How does your potential hire fit with where your company is today and where it is headed tomorrow?
The future is inherently uncertain, so workforce planning is moving to a demand planning mindset where you’re focused on staffing relative to work volumes and demand drivers, based on the market and how your normally staff positions.
If your past responses have been successful, future hiring — even during times of lower demand volumes — should match these practices. If you’ve struggled to respond appropriately to past demand spikes, then it’s time to identify where you understaff and how to shift to minimize risk and maximize your ability to capitalize on growth.
The Retirement Question
When it comes to workforce planning and demand planning, it’s also important to remember that people will retire. Retirement can feel like it throws a wrench into everything, especially here in the insurance business because those retirees often have a wealth of skills and industry knowledge.
The other steps we’ve recommended here can help you plan for a workforce that is retiring by keeping job titles and activities up-to-date, as well as creating a list of skills that are held by those reaching retirement age.
If you look at your upcoming wave of retirements as a significant increase in demand, then the practices you use for your demand planning will help you shore up the talent that you need. The only downside is that retirement often causes larger skill gaps in your workforce, so you need a smart solution to address valuable losses. That’s where outside help may be a lifesaver.
Turn to a Recruiter
Insurance carriers who work with recruiters for temporary and permanent hiring consistently see better candidates, higher offer acceptance rates, and a quicker process to hire those happy candidates. You can expect similar gains because every position is approached with an eye to its particular skill set, whether the right candidate is actively searching or potentially waiting to leave a competitor.
If you’re not working with a recruiter, you’re operating with a limited view of your business and your market, which may mean not correctly filling the skills gaps you’ve worked so hard to identify.
When you’re ready to not only fill your knowledge and skill gaps but find candidates who already live your core values, contact The James Allen Companies, Inc. and call me directly at (573) 334-3688.