A Different, but Authentic, Job Ad

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to work with a Sage partner, Bill Delgado of Keystone Software Solutions, on creating a job placement ad for a position he has been trying to fill for several months.

It is a long story, but the gist of it is that it is really hard to find someone with a very specific skill set in the software implementation industry unless you either: a) hire someone from a competitor, or b) someone from another geographic area decides to move to your location, you have to be willing to groom your own new talent.

After a few failed attempts, however, to find the specific talent, Bill has decided to begin the search anew.

I suggested that they might want to rethink the ad they had been placing. I dug up an article I remember reading from Peter Block on how Ernest Shackleton advertised for people to join him on his failed excursion to the South Pole.

In the article Block suggests the following ad:

Join our organization and become part of a place where:

  • You are expected to care primarily for the well-being of the institution and the larger society. We have no mentoring program, modest benefits and no organized way of planning your career.
  • Our purpose is to do something important and worthwhile, even if we don’t make the pages of Wired, Fast Company and Red Herring. Life is not a fashion show and we are not role models. Quick growth is overrated. Besides, who would want to go through life wired, in fast company and in pursuit of red herrings?
  • The realistic chances of getting rich quickly are actually quite slim. Only a few players in our industry will really prosper, so come to work for a place where the experience of each day is a reward in itself, and let tomorrow take care of itself.
  • Safe return doubtful. Our company is a risky place to be. The work is hard, the relationships are volatile and the management keeps changing its mind. Signs of imminent improvement are hard to find.

Here is the ad Bill is running this week.

Join Keystone Software Solutions and become part of a place where:

  • Our purpose is to help business thrive through a synergy of people, processes and technology.
  • You are expected to care primarily for the well-being of the organization and its customers. We have no mentoring program, modest benefits and no organized way of planning your career.
  • The realistic chances of getting rich quickly are actually quite slim. Only a few players in our industry will really prosper, so come to work for a place where the experience of each day is a reward in itself, and let tomorrow take care of itself.
  • Safe return doubtful. Our company is a risky place to be. The work is hard, the relationships are volatile and the management keeps changing its mind. Signs of imminent improvement are hard to find.

If interested, Keystone Software Solutions is seeking candidates to provide implementation and support services for financial and business management software.  Prior experience implementing Sage MAS 90 business management software or accounting background is a plus.

I am curious as to what the response will be. What are your thoughts on this type of ad?

Update: Link to the actual ad on craigslist.org.

8 thoughts on “A Different, but Authentic, Job Ad

  1. Actually I disagree with John. I like the authencity, but it does come across as a bit negative. I would write it in such a way to convey the authenticity, but some of the benefits of working there that are positive.

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  3. It is always romantic to see people opening their hearts to world, in the business world. Delgado has my admiration. A different cookie is whether people will respond to an ad that comes out a bit negatively, as Rob states. The paragraph that stroke me the most in a positive way, because it had the spice of humour, was actually removed (the one about making the pages of wired) in the final ad, leaving just a sad story (won’t get rich, it’s risky, it’s difficult…).
    I would consider revise it before it attracts a bunch of pessimistic sage consultants 🙂

  4. I think this is perfect. I have struggled with this in the past as well, and one of the hurdles is being able to convey all the info here. I would add probably add a little more about delayed gratification paying off if you dedicate yourself, but this pretty much sums up all points of traveling this road.

  5. I agree about the not getting rich, delayed gratification part, risky, volatile, modest benefits part as being intrinsic to the type of work. However, no mentoring and no career counseling are choices that can be corrected in many firms. Also, no reason why kick-ass training can not be a part of this type of work provided that it is committed to by the employee/partner.

    The talented people at my company ended up moving on for about double their salary at really interesting jobs working for customers or companies similar to our customers.

    A large part of the not getting rich part is that we haven’t truly figured out how to sell and charge what we bring to our customers in terms of value.

  6. Peter, I am not saying that they cannot be corrected. I am saying this is often the reality. Better mentoring and education is certainly something firms should aspire to, however, it is not the norm.

    PS – On that note, are you going to be able to make it to the Consulting Academy or the Firm of the Future? Both deal, to a certain extent, with how to get paid for the value you create.

  7. I would suggest “connecting the dots” for the candidate on why the potentially negative-sounding points are actually positive ones for the candidate.

    Here’s one example revision:

    The purpose of Keystone Software Solutions is to help businesses thrive through a synergy of people, processes & technology. We are made up of people who focus on the well-being of our organization and our customers.

    Our people are self-starting, self-managing, leaders who realize the unique opportunity they have. Our people enjoy working hard in a dynamic environment.

    If this also describes you, and you have prior experience implementing Sage MAS 90 or an equivalent accounting/ERP software solution, Keystone Software Solutions would like to discuss your joining the team to provide implementation and support services for financial and business management software.

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