Every year my family and I try and plan a vacation that will be an adventure of some sort. This year we headed out on a cross-country trek from our home near Dallas, TX through Virginia, Washington DC, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and a few others. And while I typically don't write while I'm on vacation, the kids said something that really stuck with me while we were staying at this interesting little 1926 caboose (yes, it was a real caboose - check the link) one night... while we were catching fireflies.

It was dusk... and my daughters ran to me asking what the heck was going on outside. Outside the caboose the field was literally glowing with what had to be thousands upon thousands of fireflies. You can imagine how excited my girls were when I explained how, when I was a child, I used to catch them in a jar. You can now guess exactly what came next... We spent hours catching dozens and dozens of them.

But it was something that my youngest said to me while we were running around the field that really struck me. Of course, to be perfectly honest with you, I still had a few work related items swimming around in my head - not quite as buried as most people would want them when on vacation with their family... but hey, that's how I'm wired. She simply said, "Trying to catch these little guys can be hard. If they just knew how nice we were they might just come to us!"

Hmm... If they just knew how nice we were then they might come to us.
Yeah - it really stuck with me. Shouldn't this be the goal of any recruitment marketing? Isn't this really, in a nutshell, what we should all be trying to deliver to the public? I know that many Recruiters talk about their employment brand as what attracts the job seekers - but I'd almost argue that people are throwing around "employment brand" as heavily and inappropriately as we're seeing "social recruiting" being volleyed through the industry. It's a popular word - a buzzword, if you will - that's just making the rounds for most.

Some Recruiters work for companies so large or recognized that they feel like they don't have to bother with an employment brand. They know that they can post their job to a job board or even just their own ATS and simply wait for the applications to show up. Recruiters that are at companies with widely recognized brands that take this approach are filling jobs adequately in most cases. (disclaimer: I understand that some Recruiters are forced to take this approach due to requisition loads.) But are they filling those jobs with "top talent" or adequate candidates? AKA: The brightest fireflies?

It's smart Recruiters and Recruiting leadership that take a hard look at the story they want to tell to the public. Often times the company's reputation and established brand, while good and/or strong, may not tell the complete story that could attract an ideal candidate.

An example I've used countless times would be the iPhone. It's a great product and has literally changed how mobile phones are designed today all around the world. And while you may be a mobile phone enthusiast and want to join the teams at Apple that have designed this outstanding product... you have no idea what it's like to work there from simply knowing Apple does great work.
The Recruiters at Apple know that it takes more than just an outstanding product to attract top talent - it's evident in their career portal and if you've ever been fortunate enough to have met a member of their staffing & recruiting teams.

The point I began this rant upon was the thought that many Recruiters (or Recruiting leadership) don't seem to take their employment brand seriously. We can see this by how job descriptions are shared, where we do and don't see their recruitment marketing, and most importantly what we experience when we visit their employment pages and portals as a job seeker.

The next time you hear a Recruiter talk about their employment brand and what they're doing - ask for details. Find what's working for them - or what they haven't tried. Or better yet.... find out what they'd love to try but that they can't get their leadership to buy-in on. The more we talk and collaborate, the more we can share with each other how we're selling our stories upward - and then outward to the public.

For over 15 years my job has been to find, or help to find, the brightest fireflies in countless fields. With today's tools and communication platforms we (the recruiting industry) should all be more excited about the sharing and delivery of our stories than ever before. After all - wouldn't it be easier to attract them if they just knew how nice we were?

Originally posted on RecruiterGuy.net

Views: 106

Comment by Bob Petersen on July 9, 2010 at 10:42am
This is so true and goes beyond just recruitment but for all involved in hiring and pipelining talent.
Comment by Steve Levy on July 9, 2010 at 10:58am
Morning Chris, I hope you're having fun on your new job!

Your daughter's observation, "If they just knew how nice we were they might just come to us!" is wonderful and I can't tell you how many times I've actually thought this during the times I've run recruiting during turnaround and startup scenarios. How I wish that this was true - being nice isn't a prerequisite to being successful.

But being truthful and communicative are.

The employment brand might be the firefly's phosphor but you're correct in writing that it isn't the brand that engenders true interest in potential employees. I've joked with many a head of recruiting of well-known companies who have to beat people away from their ATS that they couldn't do what I do - successfully recruit for a lesser known, unknown or poorly known company. I don't have a brand to sell - instead I sell the actual work, business challenges, and future possibilities.

CH, let me add another question to ask those who puff out their chests when speaking about their
brands..."How does your brand intersect with the actual work being done, the problems being solved, the revenue being generated?"

Then get ready for the lost-deer-in-the-lights-look...
Comment by Erica Mueller, PHR on July 9, 2010 at 11:37am
I couldn't agree with you more on this. It just goes to show that you really can learn a lot from little kids, right?
Comment by Dawn Benefiel on July 9, 2010 at 1:41pm
This is a very insightful blog. Some of the most profound revelations I have had personally have come "out of the mouths of babes".


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