Prospecting for Superstars


The entire process of interviewing and hiring starts with prospecting.

The entire process of interviewing and hiring starts with prospecting. The best advice in the world won’t get you the best candidates if you don’t attract the most qualified individuals in the first place. So, how and where do you find these outstanding prospects?

Most businesses consider prospecting, as well as the interview process, a human resource problem. In fact, nearly 2 decades elapsed before I finally discovered the secret to properly attracting truly outstanding individuals for any job opening.

Essentially, your customers ask the question, “What’s in it for me when I buy your products?” Likewise, every prospective employee asks, “What’s in it for me when I come work for you?”

The answer to this question needs to be addressed from the start. It needs to be embodied in your recruiting messages, no matter how brief.

The classified ads I develop for my clients—and even myself—are only 4 or 5 lines long, but they answer that question and they get results. They’re produced my A-Team of superstar employees.

For years, study after study has showed money is not the top desire of prospective employees. Here are the questions most prospective employees are asking themselves when applying for a job:

  • Do you offer health care benefits?
  • Is there opportunity for advancement?
  • What do I have to do to increase my earnings?
  • Will my work be meaningful and appreciated?
  • Are members of management good leaders?
  • Are the other employees enjoyable to work with?
  • Where are you located?
  • How do I apply?

And so, your ad needs to be fashioned not so much around the job, but around the question, “What’s in it for me?”

Let’s take a good look at the 3 classified ads below:

Bookkeeper— PT for growing local business, P&L and QuickBooks knowledgeable. Good rewards and excellent working environment! 555-5555

Someone Special— FT for our growing business. Good rewards, opportunities for advancement, and an excellent working environment! 555-5555

Certified Pharmacy Tech, FT— Career opportunity of a lifetime! Work in a local state-of-the-art, compounding-only pharmacy as a pharmacy tech. Opportunities for advancement, great training, benefits, and rewards. 555-5555

The statement “good rewards” in the first and second ad answers several questions. It indicates not only a level of wages, but also that any high achiever can earn more money than the average performer.

The statement “opportunities for advancement” in the second ad shows this isn’t a dead-end job. Anyone with drive and determination to succeed should be seriously interested in this statement, and attracting candidates with “a desire to get ahead” should be one of your goals.

Superstars are high-level achievers who really want to get ahead. They don’t want to be pigeon-holed in an entry-level job that becomes boring. They want challenging work combined with the opportunity to prove their value.

Notice that none of the ads instruct the candidate to come to their pharmacy; only a phone number is provided. The rationale behind this is you don’t want a flock of candidates coming into your pharmacy, interrupting your customer service, and disrupting normal day-to-day operations—especially when the vast majority aren’t the least bit qualified and shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to interview. This is one of the biggest mistakes most independent pharmacists make in the hiring process.

You need a simplified system that saves you time and effort. Initial interviews to separate the wheat from the chaff should be done quickly by phone at your leisure.

Back to the ads: did you notice the first few words? Some technically-oriented jobs, like bookkeepers or certified compounding technicians, may require the job title at the beginning. But, in the second ad, the phrase “someone special” directly appeals to your most outstanding applicants who you really want to attract and woo. At the same time, it indicates that you’re someone special to work for.

Now you have all the basic elements of a simple yet successful classified ad.

The Pharmacy Sage can be reached at (518) 346-7021 or

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