This week, I'm going to give you an example of how to design a job ad in a way that attracts the right candidates. As well as looking at how to follow up the job advert making the interview feel authentic and in line with the values communicated in the job advert.
Experience design transferred to job advertisements
When my team and I work on marketing, sales and process optimization in dental practices. It's always done with the philosophy that we should try to positively surprise customers, all the way through their journey within the clinic.
When we help dental practices develop their customer journey through the clinic. It's about looking at the different interactions that occur between the clinic and the customer that can allow the dental clinic to deliver a positive surprise. In this way, together with the clinic's team, we can develop a customer journey that is organised as precisely as a script for a play, with all the staff involved knowing their unique role.
It goes without saying that we do not work in a dental clinic on a play with rehearsed scripts. I do not believe that scripts can create authentic, memorable moments in a dental clinic. I've seen far too many examples of that not working. Instead, we work with the vision of the clinic, a shared understanding within the team, a framework for the experience and some firmly defined resources that can be brought into play. (I know this may seem a bit diffuse, you may have an example of this to look forward to in another blog post)
The professionally strong dental clinic
A few months ago I was asked if I could give feedback on a job advertisement for a dental clinic in a rural area of Denmark. The job advertisement was the usual stuff, which could almost be copy pasted from 90% of all other job advertisements for dentists. (sorry dear reader, if I provoke you unnecessarily here)
As we could see that the text seemed to stand o out as much in the market as a grey trabant in a Russian provincial town, I asked about some of the values associated with the clinic. In addition, the practice owner and I talked about what the practice did for the team and what he thought made the practice unique. The conversation ended up shaping a completely different job ad than the original one. Below you can see some of the considerations that went into the final design of the advert.
The headline focused on high professionalism through massive continuing education.
It had to be direct and "punchy" because it suited the personality profile the clinic was looking for, as this would fit the team the dentist would be part of.
The headline of a job advertisement can be seen a bit like the header of an e-mail. Most emails are deleted without being opened. Simply because the header does not arouse interest.
The same is true with headlines in job advertisements.
If the clinic needs a big D in the DISK profile, an appropriate headline might be: "Do you want to play in the 1st division or the 5th division?" Here, some people will stop and not even look further - which is ok, because then the persons profile does not match the position.
At this point, I hope you remember some of the consequences of a misrecruitment I wrote about last week.
Introduction - the vision
In the introduction, we followed up with a description of how interested candidates should prepare to travel abroad for one week a year to take a relatively demanding continuing education course. This was to bring the applicant up to the desired professional level of all other dentists in the clinic.
The training would start already in the first year of employment. In the practice, the dentist would be assigned a mentor who had already been through the training and implemented the knowledge. The mentor would help the new employee to put his/her knowledge into practice in the clinic, thus helping to ensure a high rate of professional development.
The training alone would cost the clinic more than 15.000,- Euros annually for several years to come. We did not mention this in the job advertisement, but simply added a link to a describtion of the training. By searching a little bit on the site, the applicant would be able to find that information himself. Just as an applicant would find that there was action behind the words when the clinic expressed its commitment to high professional standards.
"Dont tell me - show me"
In my view, this was a unique selling point and something the practice needed to shout about loudly to attract the attention of the right candidates.
The culture of the dental clinic
Then we shared a bit about how the team in the clinic had a lot of activities together, which gave the whole team a fabulous great chemistry internally in the clinic.
We deliberately chose not to show any photos from the clinic, other than some moody images from the team's joint activities, combined with a portrait photo of an employee in conjunction with a quote about how great it was to be employed in that particular dental clinic.
It should be said that the clinic I performed the task for is awesome.... just SOOOO nice. Both in the decor and EVERYTHING you could want in terms of equipment and digital technology. Most clinics would be inclined to write about that in their job postings.
So why did we choose not to?
We didn't, because we wanted to make sure we created little moments of positive surprises. Of course, an applicant might Google the practice and find that the photos looked pretty nice. But that's different from showing it off in a job ad.
Instead, we'd let the practice speak for itself. The right candidates would be attracted by the promise of massive training combined with an internal mentoring scheme (a real promise with a concrete plan for execution). Their encounter with the practice at the interview would provide a positive wow experience.
Avoid the disappointments
If we had written about the beautiful office design and all the modern equipment, the job ad would have had a number of challenges:
The ad would look like so many other clinics. The unique selling proposition would simply be obscured by information and we would lose our competitive advantage. Which would be bad in rural parts of Denmark.
It just doesn't seem very convincing, showing of yourself.
If all the neat details were revealed in the job ad, it would remove obvious opportunities to positively surprise at the job interview. Just as the clinic would risk disappointing the applicant because all the positive superlatives in the ad would create images in the applicant's mind that most certainly would deviate from reality.
The design of the positive experience
It should be a positive surprise for any candidates interested in joining the team. In this way, we worked to create an experience where we would positively surprise throughout the entire hiring process.
This meant that the practice owner would be ready to welcome the candidate at the agreed time.... How many people have experienced the practice owner being late and arriving 10 minutes late? If he/she is too late for the interview, then you know with certainty that the last patient will not be out of his/her mind until well into the interview!
By being ready a little ahead of time, the practice owner would have control over the experience the applicant would have on the way through the clinic Just as he could answer any questions the applicant might have along the way. Rather than the applicant being left to their own in a waiting room with a receptionist who would be put in a potentially awkward situation.
Meeting the team
The receptionist was good at spotting the personalities of people entering the clinic. She was also good at making conversations. But there was no need to put her in a potentially awkward situation. So her job was to greet when the boss introduced her and observe the applicant's behaviour (she was really good at that)
On the way to the lunch room where the interview was to be held, the practice owner would be showing the clinics and all the cool equipment. This would provide a common platform from which to start the conversation, in an area that both parties would feel comfortable with. This, combined with a narrative about how the dental assistants were trained to optimise workflows and provide a calm but productive flow in everyday life, would hopefully create the wow experience we wanted to provide.
In the cozy lunch room, applicants would meet the dental assistant, who would be working with the applicant in the future. She would be present during the interview, as would the dentist who would serve as mentor and who had been posted in the photo and the statement for the job posting. This context from the job advertisement would create a certain kind of recognisability. The practice owner who was ready to receive the candidate, the guided tour, the encounter with the recognition. All of this would help to provide a sense of calm during the interview, which would hopefully remove some of the nervous filter that often characterises job interviews with parties inexperienced in them.
More thoughtful elements.
There were of course other elements we had thought of in the experience, but there is not enough space to go into those here.
If you want to read about a completely different kind of job posting and interview, read along next week when I'll give you example No. 2.
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Many kind regards
Jesper Hatt DDS
P: +41 78 268 00 78