By David E. Perry, Mark J. Haluska

One way to source candidates is to place job ads on your company intranet, on online job boards, and in print publications. But if that ad is lousy, it could do your search more harm than good. A-players respond to challenges — the opportunity to have an impact — not the typical laundry lists of “desired skills and responsibilities,” which appear all too frequently in job ads.

Following are two examples of job ads — one bad one, and one that makes the grade.

Bad job ad

Here’s an example of a bad job ad:

Executive Vice President, Engineering

We are a new electronics start-up. Looking for engineers with experience in electrical power systems, aircraft design, drone flight engineering, active control, systems integration, and machine learning.

Job Type: Full-time

Required Education: Master’s

Required Experience: 5 years engineering

This ad — well, it stinks. It contains nothing even remotely enticing. Opening statements like “We are a new electronics start-up” only undermine the ad — start-ups are by definition “new.” There’s barely any detail — certainly not enough for anyone to rule himself in or out. Bottom line? This ad typifies the generic cattle calls that agencies use to cull résumés from the Internet, and that executives are loath to respond because they’re so used to there not being a real job behind it.

Will it garner a big response? Yes. But not by anyone who is actually qualified. Instead, it will attract hundreds or perhaps even thousands of people who think they might be qualified and have nothing to lose. This is a recruiter’s worst nightmare: receiving thousands of responses from unqualified people.

Attention-grabbing ad

Here’s an example of a great ad. It describes the role with precision, and would be of interest only to those who are qualified. That’s exactly what you want when you run an ad: responses from only those people who meet the requirements exactly.

Vice President Engineering

Job Description

Vice President, Engineering (Electronics)

Location: Los Angeles, CA, or San Francisco, CA

Complete relocation package.

All inquiries will be held in the strictest of confidence. Our client is an award-winning organization with a rich history of providing technically advanced instrumentation to municipal and industrial markets.

In business for 40 years, this company has experienced years of steady growth and has gained a stellar reputation in its industry. This organization is a worldwide leader for the industrial and environmental markets. Its primary market is in the environmental arena. Customers include municipalities, industry, and government environmental groups.

The main industrial markets are in heavy industry, including pulp and paper, chemicals, mining, textile, steel, petroleum, and food-processing industries. In 2014, our client joined forces with another global leader in engineered solutions whose energy measurement products are distributed internationally and widely used in hydronic heating and cooling systems.

This is a unique opportunity in that the successful candidate will be personally mentored by the founder for the purpose of eventually taking over the reins of the organization upon his retirement. We are now conducting immediate interviews, and that’s where you come in.

Attractions and Successes

  • The company is an employer of choice as it has almost no employee turnover and high employee loyalty.
  • This organization’s products use cutting-edge technology.
  • The company has experienced years of steady growth and there is now enormous opportunity for substantial growth.
  • Our client has a strong reputation for quality products and exceptional service.
  • They are agile. The company creates all products in-house, and is fast-moving, flexible, and robust — capable of rapid response to opportunities.
  • The organization has strong reseller and distribution-channel relationships.
  • The culture at our client’s company is driven based on success factors. It is a positive culture that understands the potential and opportunity in front of them, and is ready to embrace change.

The Position

You will play a key role in new product-development efforts as well as implementing improvements to existing products, the conceptualizing and day-to-day management of simultaneous projects, delivering manufacturable designs to agreed specifications within time and budget constraints, while fostering innovative solutions to customer needs.

You will use your background in product development to lead product-engineering efforts, which include product design, hardware and software product management, supplier interactions, and product verification and validation activities. You will build on the company’s excellent reputation for exceptional product quality by capturing the essence of the company history and culture to apply industry trends and business savvy going forward.

You must have a history of strong leadership, deep practical engineering knowledge, and a proven track record for timely project delivery, project management, cost control, and customer satisfaction. In essence, you will

  • Oversee and be actively involved with the R&D, Engineering, and Product Development teams to ensure the company’s products and service remain cutting edge
  • Lead, participate in, or support the following product development activities:
    • Concept, planning, design, and execution stages of major new products or product enhancements
    • Risk assessment
    • Prototyping and testing concept designs and initial engineering builds
    • Pilot production
    • Design reviews
    • Design verification board: hardware/software testing, product validation, and usability testing
  • Provide product leadership during pre-production, including strategic planning for product development activities, to create technology for existing and expanded markets/offerings
  • Provide leadership for the engineering team
  • Plan and coordinate the long-term objectives and standards of performance for the department
  • Lead new product-development projects from concept through production launch
  • Lead productivity efforts and implement improvements to existing products
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams to research and understand consumer and customer wants/needs, benchmark competitive products, and develop innovative products that are cost-effective and meet those wants/needs
  • Develop and optimize product costs to maximize value and competitiveness
  • Lead manufacturing trials, testing, measurements, and related documentation from initial trials through production qualification
  • Evaluate results using statistical analysis and propose/lead changes to product design, tooling, and/or process
  • Conduct engineering evaluation and tests to validate the robustness and proper performance of new products
  • Evaluate product non-conformances and recommend design modifications
  • Research design options and perform experiments to determine potential design feasibility
  • Identify, integrate, and refine technologies and products that can be used to create and enhance the company’s products to satisfy requirements
  • Apply technical principles and concepts to product designs
  • Provide technical support for solving product quality problems as needed
  • Work on special projects as assigned, such as competitive analysis and productivity projects in collaboration with the VP, Sales, and Marketing
  • Be a student of current industry trends, ensuring that the company maintains and expands its technology leadership position

Specialized Knowledge, Skills, or Abilities

  • Work well in a cross-functional environment
  • Make quick, reasoned engineering decisions and drive processes to conclusion
  • Reduce broad requirements into a structured engineering solution
  • Conceptualize and think strategically
  • Develop strategies for enhancing communication, problem solving, teamwork, and innovation across functions
  • Work with others to develop integrated strategies for improving engineering processes and operational efficiencies
  • Understand customer requirements and translate them into solutions
  • Focus on and manage key initiatives that balance both short- and long-term objectives
  • Communicate effectively with senior management and customers (written and verbal)
  • Manage the engineering division’s operating and capital budgets

Our Ideal Candidate

Our client is seeking a “business leader” who will bring knowledge and creativity to the position, has practical business sense, and can provide the discipline to drive results, as this role is designated to succeed the founder, who has retired. You’re an impact player. You’re a leader who is comfortable playing a central role in helping the business translate its requirements into practical solutions to address the market. Obviously, you’re good under pressure. You can formulate workable strategies, establish priorities, and then lead the team to deliver against them. You’re a problem solver capable of running autonomously with a demonstrated ability to get the job done and work with others.

Qualifications and Core Competencies

  • A university degree in electrical engineering
  • Strong business acumen and applied experience in the instrumentation or technology environment
  • 10+ years of industry engineering experience
  • Experience in developing and supporting products through their entire life cycle
  • The desire to drive accountability across project teams and functional team members
  • Competence in electronic hardware and software design
  • The ability to manage diverse projects of varying complexities simultaneously
  • The ability to focus on efficiency of production, as well as establish production reporting procedures
  • A proven record of creativity and a sense of passion for product design
  • The ability to apply technical principles and concepts to product designs
  • Experience with industrial and municipal markets an asset
  • Experience in ultrasonic technologies an asset

Your Personality Characteristics

You’re a strong leader who can act as a catalyst for continuous improvement with a dedicated group of employees. You are unusually adept at building partnerships within the organization and can nurture relationships with outside service providers. In summary, you:

  • Are in it for the long haul
  • Have a high level of integrity
  • Are more engineer than manager or an exceptional engineer with management capability (you have a strong hands-on engineering attitude)
  • Want to be in a smaller environment that values and encourages employees who accept challenges
  • Have a high degree of mechanical aptitude (hands-on)
  • Are product development/engineering focused
  • Are accountable, with a strong “owner’s” mentality
  • Are trustworthy, passionate, and decisive
  • Are profit and loss savvy, with business maturity
  • Are service oriented and customer focused
  • Appreciate the culture and history of the company
  • Are entrepreneurial
  • Have a professional demeanor
  • Energize people to achieve personal and organizational success
  • Are an independent thinker, willing to take risks
  • Foster collaborative working environments where people actively share information, rely on each other’s expertise, deliver on commitments, and trust in each other
  • Are a creative problem solver who fixes problems, not just identifies them

Next Steps

Let’s talk. Managing Partner David Perry is leading the search with Mark Haluska. All inquiries and discussions are strictly confidential until you decide you’re interested in the opportunity. And you need not have a current résumé prepared to have a preliminary discussion with us. To get started, please contact David Perry (xxx-xxx-xxxx or dperry@perrymartel.com) or Mark Haluska (xxx-xxx-xxxx or haluska@comcast.net). For more information on Perry-Martel International, Inc., please visit our website at www.perrymartel.com at your convenience.