Friday, July 18, 2014

Employers: Why You Shouldn't Post a Blind Box Ad

Every day I scan the top job postings that come through on my Wine Business Daily Digest.  (To get your daily digest, go here).  I was just scanning one of the roles, DTC Manager, and wondered who was hiring. Clicking over to the link, it is a blind box ad.  This means that the company is not mentioned and the email address is a generic one.

The Nancy Drew in me always kicks in and I start to wonder who is hiring.  The clues I have are that it is in Paso Robles, is with a growing winery and with a winery that has a solid tasting room staff in place.  Knowing that there are about 180 wineries in Paso I can narrow it down fairly quickly.  If I was in Paso Robles and knew the word on the street of which wineries were growing fast and had a strong hospitality and tasting room staff, I could quickly narrow it down even further.

Why do companies post blind box ads?  Well, anonymity is the first goal.  If you have a small managerial or personnel staff, you probably don't want to get barraged by calls from job seekers, some of which you probably know.  The second goal often is to keep the search confidential within the company.  Why is this fast growing Paso Robles winery seeking a DTC Manager?  Did their manager possibly give notice, isn't working out, or maybe is out on medical leave?

Anonymity and confidentiality can also work against you when searching for that next employee.  With this blind box ad they are seeking a  DTC Manager with proven leadership skills who can maintain the winery's status as the best in class.  This job takes a great talent.  But will the best in class apply for this role?

The Best in Class Won't Apply:  Often highly qualified people will not apply if it is a blind box ad. The reasons why are very understandable.  First off, if they are in Paso at another winery they may not want their current employer to know they are looking.  (Resume submissions should be kept confidential, but people are people and sometimes might talk out of turn to their friends.)  If this talented DTC Manager is working at a best in class winery, they could rightly worry that they would be applying for a position with their own employer. (Visit my Beware the Blind Box Ad post for a job seeker's perspective)

The Rest Probably will Apply:  So if the talent that has carefully cultivated their careers do not apply, who will end up applying to this position.  Everyone else.  You will get the Florida based hotel receptionist who manages the hotel's social media campaign.  You'll get the telecommunications exec who wants to make a lifestyle change and loves Paso Robles wine community.  You'll get the tasting room associate who is known to sample a bit too many of the bottles he is pouring for the guests.  This does not build on your best in class status.

Use the Brand Name You Have Built:  This company is a thriving Paso based winery with best in class status.  So use that to your advantage.  If you have the best wine tasting, hospitality and education staff in the area, scream it from the rooftops and let job seekers know they would be lucky to be able to join the staff.

Uh-Oh!  Now You are Getting Inundated with Resumes and Inquiries:  Good! If you post the position and are a world class winery, you want to be inundated with highly qualified candidates.  You want the best in class to work every angle to get the opportunity to get an interview.

So How Can You Manage A Posting Better?  It is easy for me to say "shout your company's name from the rooftops" but I also know that you need to be able to control the search process.  Here's how I would control the process a bit better.  While you are putting your winery's name on the ad, you can create an email box that is something like jobs@BestinClassWinery.  When resumes are submitted to that, respond to the emails letting people know their resume has been received and is under review.  When crafty candidates find out who is the hiring manager and leave you a message, be happy they used their good investigative skills and hear what they have to say.

And When a You Might Want to Outsource the Search:  When you can't scream the company name from the rooftops due to confidentiality needs, you can turn to a search firm.  As a recruiter, I do keep all company and candidate information confidential.  I can contact those best-in-class stars at the competition and find out if they are interested in talking about the job.  I can also screen candidates that apply to the job--if they are not good for this role they often will be good candidates for a future opportunity.  While not every winery does need to use a search consultant, it is an option to keep in mind.  WineTalent:  The Right People for the Job!

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