A lot of attention in recent years has been put on employer branding – and rightfully so. In a world where candidates today have more options than in recent memory, they also now have more information available to them about prospective employers than ever before. There have been countless studies and posts written about the data behind this – but the reality is this: when a candidate is contacted about a role or actively considering a new one, they now are mainly going to the internet and social media first before even considering applying or responding. What they see and feel in this “job consumer journey” has a significant impact on whether they respond to your call/email or apply for your openings. Companies have put a lot of focus on their careers sites, social presence and content, but they often are missing addressing one of the biggest pieces of this “job consumer journey” – the job posting itself.
Think about it in terms of any major purchase in your life – like a car. You see the beautiful brochure in the mail, maybe a TV spot too. You decide you are going to go to the car dealership and see this awesome car in person. You get to the dealer and the car is nothing like what you were led to believe it was in the ads. Guess what? You are not buying that car. Same logic goes here. Companies investing in employer branding that don’t address the very destination you are hoping to send people to will also experience this. You say you are fun and a high energy startup? Awesome – except that when I got to your job posting it was standard big company stuff – lists of requirements with cliche’ corporate BS. I am now not thinking you are what you think you are.
Job postings for years has been run by HR – and that is the fundamental problem. HR treats these as they were trained to for decades – as an internal document with pay grade and organizational development implications and requirements. The result is typically a laundry list of requirements that even Superman could not meet, a boring “company overview” and a boilerplate paragraph or two about what the job is chock full of shitty office jargon. We need to rethink this and understand what a job posting is – an advertisement. We are putting all this effort into engaging and attracting our target audiences to our job postings, only to lead them to something that clearly does not match what we are putting out there. Even beyond the job descriptions, recruiters are using “set it and forget it” ATS automation postings with soul crushing robotic language form 1950’s personnel departments like “Now Hiring!” or “URGENT REQUIREMENT”. Sigh. This amounts to nothing but spam to most job seekers in their social feeds. Don;t believe me? Check those engagement rates on these postings or your ATS for where your applies are coming from. Case closed.
One of the companies I work with as a client is Foundation Medicine. This company is in the life sciences sector and are literally saving lives with their individual cancer care methods and science. They have done an unbelievable job in a short period of time with their employer branding in what has been traditionally a very conservative sector- from #uniquelyFMI to videos like this one they have really been able to put “out there” who they are, what they do and why they do it. It has paid off in more applicants and qualified hires, better engagement and greater awareness of them as an employer. I recently spent some time with them and we got into discussing the job postings some more. One of the leaders on their team got really inspired and decided to try something new – a job posting that would be designed to attract someone to their fun loving team but also in a way that would resonate with their brand and all that is #uniquelyFMI. This team was always joking about cats and lasers in particular. The thought from this leader was to put those very things out there for a new HRIS analyst opening on their team and see what happens. To say this posting made an impression is an understatement.
In just two days, her individual “job posting” got 88 likes, 23 comments and 5 shares! Now, back to the typical “I’m Hiring” social job posts – what’s that engagement like again? This approach works because it is emblematic of the team’s personality and culture and is different than the standard practices today. If candidates look at this and hate it, then chances are they would hate working with this team too – which is the entire idea of good employment branding in the first place. Attract those who would be successful in your company and have those who would not tap out in the beginning. Even more so, this posting stood out from the sea of recruiter posting spam in a big way.
It’s time for all of us to understand that all your branding efforts are for naught if the very place you are sending them to as a destination does not match what you are saying you are. Cats and Lasers for the win.