Why should I work for you?

By evoke
September 25, 2008

As an employer, this seemingly impertinent question is going to be asked of you more and more in the future by “C” and VP level candidates. Why? Because there are more executive positions available than qualified candidates and prospects are generally more interested in lifestyle and less likely to “take what they are given.”  The result of this “shrunken cohort phenomenon” is that employers have to compete aggressively for quality prospects.

It used to be that people would accept less than appealing positions at high profile companies because of the prestige of working for them and the size of the pay cheque.  Now you can dangle a huge salary in front of a candidate and it won’t be surprising for them to respond with something to the effect of “What’s in it for me?”  Then you find out they have taken a position with a smaller company at a lower salary because it was a better “fit” with their lifestyle.  Why people accept the positions they do is far more complex and nuanced than it ever was in the past.

If you aren’t actively building and leveraging your brand in the recruitment marketplace, you are losing the competition for the best talent.  The reason this is a certainty is that there are more and more companies recognizing the importance of branding in the recruitment marketplace, and they are the ones who are making the positive impressions on the talented executives looking for a career change.

What To Do?

This begs the question “How do I compete for talent?”  The answer is easy if you can describe clearly and concisely what makes your company uniquely compelling.  Another way if expressing this is “Why should I choose you?”  We believe you should actually be able to answer it in seven words or less.  If you can’t, you won’t get your share of quality prospects in the future.  Why? If you are confused in your communication about why your company is a great place to work, prospects will be even more confused about why they should even consider you, let alone accept your offer.

Answering the question “Why you” in seven words or less involves a principle few companies are familiar with. The special few – such as Apple – know that it is far more important to focus on what a customer is buying than on what the company is selling. In the case of employment, the company is “selling” a career.  But what is the “customer” (the prospect) buying? As we transition to a buyer’s (prospect’s) market, it will be critical for you to understand what employment prospects are “buying” from you because that is the answer to the question “Why should I choose you?”

“Why should I choose you?” in seven words or less

Here are some examples:

  • A long term care (LTC) facility with exceptional service and a home-style atmosphere“An oasis of acceptance, comfort and care”
  • A company that installs retail shelving in big box stores much faster than its competitors“Opening sooner”
  • An executive search company that understands that finding the right candidates is a far more complex and comprehensive issue than just search“Inspiring leaders to choose you”

Transform Your Company Into Cause And You Will Become A Magnet For Talent

As these examples show, a remarkable thing happens when you concisely identify what makes you uniquely remarkable:  you actually transform your company into a cause.  While the retail shelving company sells the installation of shelving, the cause it is committed to – and what the customer is buying – is “opening sooner”.  The search company is committed to the cause of “inspiring leaders to choose you” and the LTC facility is dedicated to the cause of being “an oasis of acceptance, comfort and care”.

Note that for each of these companies, their cause – the answer to the question “Why should I choose you?” – is inspiring to both buyers and employees.  When you see what they stand for, your reaction is “I want some of that!”  The seven words or less acts as a magnet for executive prospects because you are communicating clearly and inspiringly what’s in it for them if they become a part of this cause.

Another great advantages of being able to answer “Why should I choose you?” in seven words or less is it will transform all of your employees into brand evangelists for your company.  Why?  Because it isn’t just prospects who will be inspired by your cause, your employees will as well.  You will be making a statement to them that this, the cause, is the future you are committed to building.  They understand, they are inspired by it, and it is so simple they will be able to communicate it to others with complete and passionate clarity. Voila!:  brand evangelists that help make you a magnet for the right talent.

There Is No Such Thing As Employment Branding!

One of the great buzz phrases of the HR/recruitment world is “employment branding”.  Like many business fads, this phrase is built on a superficial foundation of misunderstanding. Prospects will see right through the veneer created by any company that pursues “employment branding”.

The reason “employment branding” doesn’t exist is that it is based on the notion that a brand can be created for your company around employment.  The reality is that it is your corporate brand – the same one you leverage for the company and all of its products – that you also leverage within an employment context to attract the best candidates.

Your corporate brand should come from your DNA and your DNA doesn’t change, no matter what part of the company is leveraging your brand.  Embarking on an endeavor to create an “employment brand” just masks that the only reason you are having to do so is that you have a weak corporate brand.  Fix the corporate brand by answering “Why you?” in seven words or less, and leverage it to recruit executives, and you eliminate your “employment branding” problem.

So why should I work for you?

The future will demand a higher standard of open and honest communication from employers than ever before.  Executive prospects expect inspiring answers to the question “Why should I choose you?” and its corollary “What’s in it for me?”  Companies that can answer these questions in a simple,  unique and compelling way – such as “Opening Sooner” – will win the increasingly aggressive battles for the highest value executives.

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