Finding Your Unique Selling Point

I used to produce commercials for a large department store chain.  There were a wide variety of items to sell, most of which were not the exciting, high-fashion, wildly creative garments I wanted to shoot. Let’s face it, more people need mattresses than need $2,000 high heels.  As a result, I produced a lot of mattress and rug commercials, all the while positioning my company as a high-fashion front-runner. I often found myself standing in front of a stack of not-all-that-attractive mattresses wondering how I was going to sell these uninteresting rectangles. I had to “fall in love” with something about them, find the reason people would absolutely need these mattresses over any others, and would need them now.

Of course I also hired the best lighting directors and camera men in Los Angeles to make them “pretty”… as “pretty as a mattress can be, that is.  And that is how I sold record numbers of mattresses, rugs and fashion garments.  I found the reason to love them, I committed my heart and soul to it, I knew my target audience, and I sold them in a tasteful, upscale and compelling way.

As I fast forward to my current life as a technical recruiter, I am still selling. I sell an open job to candidates, sell myself and Greythorn as their representative and I sell my candidates to the hiring manager. Without exception, my first communication with a potential candidate about my open job is crucial to the success of the entire deal.

Not long ago, I read an email from a recruiter to a candidate.  It said, “Here’s a job. Interested?” I cringed. Translated in mattress terms, that would sound like, “Here’s something to sleep on. Want it?” Probably not. Translated in recruiter terms, “I am too busy to care about this position – want it?” Again, probably not.

Truthfully, we are not going to love every open job that comes across our desk – but there is always something about every opportunity that is different, or exciting, or right for someone – there is something about it to love.  This is where qualifying it sets us apart from recruiters who take a bland three line job description and run with it.

“What sets this position apart – why would someone want to work here?”  This question, posed to a hiring manager, can bring you some amazing feedback.  Perhaps they stop work at 2:00 on Friday, have a game room, let you bring your dog to work, or pay you to take the bus.  One company had a once-a-year paid group vacation!  Perhaps they pay you to be certified in your area, promote from within and quickly.  Whatever it is, finding out can turn a seemingly bland position into something truly special.  In a candidate-driven market, this will set your position, and you, apart!

For example, an organization with which we work is very staid, slow in hiring and not particularly exciting.  I sifted through the seemingly bland and boring aspects and found some pretty interesting elements.  The department manager is an amazing man who is dedicated to his team and to technical excellence. Techies crave technical excellence – they want to work with the best toys, so this was high on my selling point list.

The manager is passionate about work/life balance. Who doesn’t want a boss who wants you to enjoy your life? He is creative outside of work and he is one of the most down-to-earth people with whom I have worked.  There are exceptional educational benefits along with the opportunity to be heard; team members are a part of the process and have a voice in the solutions.  The team truly cares about one another.  Without exception, every person with whom I spoke has wanted this role.  When the offer came through all I had to say was, “You did it!”  I already knew the candidate was sold.  And the best part?  He loves his new job.  He wanted a voice, he wanted a manager who cared, he wanted a team who interfaced and communicated, and he wanted cool toys.

Whether it is a huge company or a tiny start-up, there is something there to love for the right candidate.  In the right light, and with excitement and passion behind it, your job is going to be the absolute perfect fit.

Terre Rigali
Terre Rigali is senior recruiter, major accounts, at Greythorn.

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