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When I took some time off in April, I decided to take a look at the topics of 'Employer Branding' and 'Recruiting' from a theoretical and scientific perspective rather than just a practical one. Since I am not someone who likes to learn alone in a quiet room, I had the idea to offer a lecture on the subject.

I have to admit that it was quite exhausting to prepare the 28 teaching units. After all, the material had to be both well-founded and interesting, and of course relevant to practice. When I was finished, I had the following thought: Would it be possible to summarize the essence of everything the course is supposed to be about in one exercise? So that, if needed, the students only have to remember these 45 minutes when the rest of the material will have long since faded away? Preferably right at the beginning of the first lesson....

It was worth a try: groups of three were to be formed and a text for social media channels was to be developed in 30 minutes. The task was to find someone to come along on a six-month camper van trip through South America. Ideally, the person should know a little Spanish and be tech savvy. As soon as I overheard the discussion in the groups, I knew that the experiment had succeeded: "Where exactly should we go? Why are we going on this trip? What do we want to take away from it at the end? What makes us stand out as a group and what is important to us?"

Without realizing it, the very questions that every company should ask itself were answered: "What is our long-term goal (vision)? Why are we doing this? (mission/purpose)? What are our rules for working together and getting along (Values/Culture)?"

The finished texts were great, something like, "Do you want to see a new continent with all its beauty and people in six months? Do you want to stand in front of Machu Picchu with tears in your eyes, dive deep into foreign cultures with your new friends and return with countless new experiences?"

Of course, everyone understood that the task was modeled after creating a job ad. Still, thankfully, no one wrote, "Tasks: Translate Spanish, repair camper van... Requirements: Spanish at level XY, completed technical training..." After all, that would be absurd if you wanted to recruit someone for such a great journey together and be close with the person for a long time.

So why do we phrase job ads this way? Because everyone does it that way and it has always been that way? I sincerely hope that this first exercise has become firmly engrained in everyone's mind and that later, when formulating job advertisements, they will all see a camper van in the Andes and four happy people in front of them.

About the author

Dr. Sebastian Tschentscher finds the best digital minds for your company with his executive search boutique "Digital Minds".

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