When we engage in a new executive search project, a key part of our service, and process, is to create a compelling Opportunity Profile that captures not only the qualifications required for the role we’re sourcing, but our client’s organizational culture and operational priorities as well. More than a mere job description, the Opportunity Profile is a multi-page, bespoke, branded document that serves as a tangible expression of the Search Committee’s most valued criteria as well as a foundational guide in our sourcing efforts. As much as we turn to it to inform search strategy though, ultimately it represents our client’s goal and identity, not ours. With this in mind, we create Opportunity Profiles that are nuanced enough to attract top talent to a given role, yet enduring enough for clients to leverage in marketing endeavors even after the search process concludes.
But how does a single document speak to a niche audience and also function as a general marketing tool? How can it be thorough, yet consumable and persuasive? Precise but not persnickety?
Here are a few strategies we use to create compelling, multi-functional Opportunity Profiles for clients.
Strike the right (written) tone.
The tone of an Opportunity Profile, or any form of job description, should be conversational but professional. While it is rare for organizations to use an overly casual voice, all too often many swing the other direction and use unnecessarily formal, stilted diction in their written content. While this tendency reflects a worthwhile value – the desire to appear professional – it can be off-putting for even highly-educated candidates. Well-crafted job descriptions state responsibilities, expectations, and goals clearly and straight-forwardly. Afterall, organizations benefit when potential candidates understand the nature of the job and its requirements as fully as possible. Using clear, conversational writing helps facilitate this outcome and minimizes the number of calls or emails you’ll have to field explaining what the job actually entails.
Use industry jargon sparingly.
While many qualified candidates will likely understand industry lingo, relying too heavily on jargon can inadvertently weaken written content and even appear unfriendly. Your organization and mission should stand out to candidates who may have multiple offers, and choosing accurate, descriptive language rather than pat phrases not only showcases your organization’s unique mission, but also demonstrates accessibility – a desirable characteristic for most faith-based organizations. Although it may be difficult to totally eliminate expressions like “accountable care” or “calling,” you can avoid littering job descriptions with insider language. Opting for precise, consumable vernacular will result in more interesting and persuasive content that will highlight the unique benefits of the role more readily.
Offer context smartly.
Before enumerating the qualifications and background requirements for a given role, we devote a few pages of our Opportunity Profiles to information about the organization’s history, philosophy, and vision. Many times, we also include details about the organization’s leadership and strategic plan in this section, too. The key, though, is providing information that offers relevant context, rather than extraneous “fluff.” General information that speaks to culture is helpful and gives candidates a vital framework for evaluating their personal “fit” with your organization’s more abstract criteria. Including too much information, however, can distract from the larger picture and even put organizations at risk. When deciding what to include in a profile or job description, consider those things which will promote transparency and professionalism and help candidates understand the basics of who you are. You’ll get the chance to speak to the nuances later. See this article for a detailed list of points to address in search collateral.
Leverage your brand.
Many times, job descriptions or Opportunity Profiles are among the first items representing your organization to potential candidates, and as such, they should be an extension of your brand. If a job description seems disconnected from the imagery, tone, or overall “feel” of your website or social media pages for example, this can appear haphazard or even create misconceptions around role expectations and priorities. It’s likely that you already have polished, branded collateral at your disposal – take advantage of these resources as you create job descriptions or related materials. We do. FaithSearch uses client logos, color schemes, mission statements, and more to furnish each Opportunity Profile we craft with bespoke content and design. The result is a highly professional finished product that is more likely to catch the eye of top talent than a plain bullet-point list or single-page summary.
Crafting compelling job collateral can be time-consuming, but it is a vital first step in any successful search process. Additionally, this type of legwork is an opportunity to re-examine your organization’s on-paper (or digital) identity and reach your target audience with your mission and vision. For more information on Opportunity Profiles or the FaithSearch process, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be delighted to lend our expertise to your next executive search endeavor.