Why Help Wanted Ads Fail: How to Identify the Skills Your Business Really Needs

Why Help Wanted Ads Fail: How to Identify the Skills Your Business Really Needs

Jeff Gipson Jeff Gipson | January 26, 2017

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.

Demand Planning

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.

About the Author

Jeff Gipson
Jeff Gipson
Jeff Gipson Sr. is a veteran of the staffing industry, with more than 30 years of experience. He got his start working for an international staffing organization where he focused on information technology placements across the country. In July 1992, Jeff continued his staffing career with a St. Louis based information technology staffing company. There, he was strategically involved in launching the organization’s first branch office — and subsequently three additional branch offices over the next several years. In July 2000 Jeff made another move — this time to launch his own staffing company, continuing his IT focus. In 2003 the organization was reinvented. Relying on his earlier sales career in the insurance industry, the company changed course and began building the firm around the insurance industry. The company continues to put all their energy in the insurance sector filling positions of all titles across the country. Jeff and his wife Carolyn have been married since 1980. They have three children and seven grandchildren.
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