Attracting Candidates to “Unattractive” Jobs

During a recent workshop, one of the hiring managers asked, “How do we attract people to unattractive jobs, such as contract or temporary positions?”

The first thing is to change your mindset. This job might be unattractive to you, but it's bound to be attractive to other people. This job is an opportunity to some people. Think about who they are and what they would want from a job like that.

If you think about who would like a temp or contract job, start thinking about people who are not willing or able to work long hours or all year, or who would like to keep up their skills, but need to be able to take more personal time. Lots of people fit that description, including new moms who aren't sure whether they want to work full time (or are sure they don't), current undergraduate students, older people who might otherwise retire, people studying for a graduate degree, or people who have other family responsibilities. I'm sure you can think of more types of people. To these people, not having to work overtime, or all the time is a wonderful thing, an attractive job, not an unattractive job.

Part of analyzing the job is to determine what would make it attractive to some set of people. Remember that not all candidates are like you, and what's attractive to one person is not to another. And vice versa.

One Reply to “Attracting Candidates to “Unattractive” Jobs”

  1. Johanna, I was most intrigued by the hiring manager’s comment about wanting to attract people to contract positions.
    I’m on the flip side of the issue. I’m an experienced software developer (sixteen years), and I enjoy doing short term contract projects. When I read your post, I immediately went on my website and added some comments as to why I thought I was a good fit for contract work.
    I’d love to get your advice if you might have any suggestions as to how I might be able to reach hiring managers who would like to know about me.
    My experience — at least with what I’ve been able to find so far — is that short term, highly skilled project work doesn’t seem to be yet very well supported by current job sites or technical recruiters. For example, I can get on or, and most of the jobs that pop up are for contract-to-hire or full time positions for people with solid (but basic) experience in a particular technology, or group of technologies. I’m not complaining or anything, however I am thinking that I’m going to need to do something more creative and proactive than simply disseminating my resume!
    Thank you for your web logging. Your post really got me thinking.

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