Here’s how changing four words created an influx of new applicants, and how you can use the same technique to attract new clients…
Five guys quit for random and unrelated reasons at the same time the job description we’ve been using for years suddenly stops working.
No applications coming in.
A growing backlog of work.
And our remaining employees are grousing about the early morning start.
People don’t want a window cleaning job.
It an uncomfortable truth for a window cleaning business to swallow.
We’ve spent years trying to sugar coat it.
We tell everyone we’re the biggest window cleaning company in the world.
We stress that we only do ground level work.
We call them Window Cleaning Technicians.
We’re not fooling anyone.
I did a poll of my employees, and no one, not a single person, took the job because of how big a company we are.
Furthermore, when you say “window cleaning,” everyone immediately assumes that they’ll have to jump off buildings, even though, in this business, we do all our cleaning with both feet firmly on the ground.
And in terms of calling them technicians… come on. Job applicants see right through that.
The Four Words
So our add up until June 15th of this year was:
“Window Cleaner – Ground Level”
It was working ok.
Then it stopped working completely.
Because the ground level can’t overcome the image everyone has of cleaning windows on skyscrapers.
Then, I had two conversations, each of which gave me two words, that I combined into the single most effective job posting I have ever listed.
The First Conversation
So I’m talking to my General Manager.
About our employees.
And in particular, about our best employee.
He starts at 6 am and is done by 1 pm so he can pick up his kids and not have to pay for daycare.
Aha! I say. That’s what we need to advertise.
Done by lunchtime.
Two words down, two to go…
The Second Conversation
I’m talking to another job posting site, and they mention that “General Labor” is a highly searched term.
I’ve been posting this job in the general labor category.
Those two words have been staring me in the face for years.
That’s what people are looking for.
The New Ad
“General Labor / 6am Start”
We are flooded with applications.
See, nobody’s looking for a window cleaning job.
They may stumble on it, sure.
And many did.
But you should see the delight in our applicant’s eyes now.
“Those hours sound great!”
“Can I really be done by lunchtime?”
It turns out that people don’t see themselves as window cleaners.
They see themselves as laborers who want a 6am start time.
And if the labor happens to be window cleaning, that’s fine.
Our job applicants care more about the hours than the kind of work.
And the bonus?
My management team is much more relaxed.
We no longer have an early morning problem.
We are longer calling guys to make sure they’re out of bed.
Because the people we hire are eager to get an early start.
What This Means for your Elevator Pitch
People aren’t looking for lawyers, or marketing experts, or job seekers.
They are looking for someone to:
- Make sure their property goes to their children from their first marriage
- Make sure their website is mobile friendly
- Make sure that their developers don’t break the existing features as they add new ones
Ground level window cleaning is important to us.
Not to our applicants.
In your Elevator Pitch, talk about something that’s important to them.
I’m working on the right words now for attracting a great sales person.
More on that in a couple of weeks…
2 comments on “Hiring Problem: Solved.”
We talk about this a lot in trade show training — the idea that you have to speak not to your product’s or service’s features as you see them, but to the end benefit those features create that are valued by those particular prospects.
Your prospects value an early finish to their workday. When you showed them that one of your benefits is providing a means to reach the goal they already had, they made the connection!
Always great to hear from another Andy!
You’ve got the key right there. It’s not how you see the benefits. It’s how your customers see the benefits.
And you’re absolutely right. I hadn’t thought about the early end to the workday as a particularly strong benefit. But once we started thinking about our best cleaners, it was obviously something they really appreciate.
Thanks for posting!