Employer Brand Headlines: The "Crosseyed and Painless" Edition (#89)

Employer Brand Headlines: The "Crosseyed and Painless" Edition (#89)
By James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd • Issue #89 • View online
My mission: Help you understand your employer brand better and make it work for you.

In this issue
  • Who’s generous?
  • Better communication
  • Who knows what the company is *really* like?
  • Social content means customer content
The big idea
If I told you there are two kinds of recruiters, where does your head go?
  • Successful or unsuccessful?
  • Old school or new school?
  • Cast a wide net or big game hunters?
  • Tech or non-tech?
All of those are valid on various levels. But what I’m thinking about a lot lately is that there are ‘transactional’ recruiters and ‘generous’ recruiters.
I will grant that the word “generous” is loaded, suggesting that generous recruiters are somehow nicer or better people, and that’s not what I mean at all.
Some recruiters go to work and pick up a stack of jobs and figure out who wants those jobs. They think about pushing their jobs to more job boards. They want to spend money on ads for their jobs. They want a bigger bullhorn with which to tell more people looking for a job that they have a job to offer. They post things like “Great opportunity!” and “Join us!” They are here to create a transaction: give me your attention and a resume and I’ll put you in front of a hiring manager (maybe) so you can have a better life.
Generous recruiters take a very different approach. They know that people looking for jobs know how to find jobs. Entire companies and industries have grown to buy time at the Super Bowl to say that they have a list of all the jobs. Jobs are not hidden. Nor are the people currently and actively looking for a job bashful: they know how to apply, how to find the recruiter on LinkedIn, and how to bug strangers on social media for a referral for an open job. They know entire systems already exist and have been optimized within an inch of their lives to connect the open role to the active job seeker, often without recruiter intervention.
Instead, they start work by thinking, “how can I help someone today?” What can I give them? Can I share a story? A video? A fact about the industry or business someone might find interesting? Can I offer a referral? What is something my audience, who isn’t looking for a job this second, would want? How can I inform them? Educate them? Entertain them? Inspire them? How can I make them feel something or be better at their jobs?
They don’t reach out to candidates with a call to action, but instead say, “I made this for you,” or “I really think you would get something out of this.” They are doing the emotional work of putting themselves in the candidate’s shoes and thinking, “what would they value or appreciate?”
The model that supports transactional recruiters is that the holder of the job has all the power and the seeker of the job had none. But those days are gone.
We’re left with a world where a thousand channels, people, formats, ideas, and stimuli are vying my attention at any given second (as I write this, I am listening to Spotify and jumped onto Clubhouse for a few minutes, skimmed Facebook, looked at LinkedIn, and looked for a live recording on YouTube of something I was listening to on Spotify). Someone offering me something I don’t immediately want gets filtered out. Someone offering me something more useful to them than me doesn’t register.
Here is the crux of the problem: transactional recruiters see someone like me (or someone like you, as I assume you’re some kind of employer brander if you’re reading this… or my mom, maybe) and they just don’t know what to do with what I’m offering. Why would they share a useful article with their network? Or a video? Why would they spend time putting anything out in the world which does not immediately return new applications?
In any given company, you will see a mix of transactional and generous recruiters. As the employer brander, that means that only some of the recruiters you support are ever going see your value. They will continue to post “We’re hiring” and push out incomplete job postings no matter how many times you offer them alternatives. After a while, you may start to feel like you’re not making any headway and get discouraged.
Employer branders can’t help transactional recruiters any more than landscapers or auto insurance companies can help me (I live in an apartment and I don’t own a car). This knowledge is powerful because it allows us to re-frame our role around those who want to work with us.
If you see your job as supporting all recruiters, you end up pushing everyone towards the middle: talking points to parrot and generic job postings. If you see your job as “supporting generous recruiters,” a world of opportunities is in front of you.
Building sharable stories. Getting help finding new stories. Hearing what works and what doesn’t. Offering better ways to present the content. Testing ideas about what kind of candidates want to hear what kinds of stories. That’s the kind of insight you can expect and value you can deliver when you focus on your generous recruiters.
But first, it means figuring out recruiters you’re working with are transactional and which are generous and offering them your help appropriately.
Want to Make Retail Customers Happy? Give Them a ‘Wow’ Experience
10 communication essentials for employee engagement
The Connection Between Business Strategy, Employer Branding and Employee Experience
Want to learn how things really work at your new job? Talk to the people at the bottom
The Evolution of Social Media and the Importance of Customer Content
Why brands’ ‘no politics’ policies are obsolete: Opinion
In with the old - how tapping into alumni could tip the balance in a ramped-up War for Talent
Study: Majority of the Fortune 500 Fail to Embrace AI and Automation for Hiring
Quick hits
Tip of the week
This is your quarterly reminder to find something you’ve been doing and stop doing it. The best way to create capacity to try new things is to stop doing something else.
Inside the fortune cookie
“In the short term, you are as good as your intensity. In the long term, you are only as good as your consistency.” - Shane Parrish
Two last things
VideoMyJob is collecting survey responses on the state of video in the recruitment space. If you fill it out, you’ll be entered to win one of ten prize packs of books and food (including my book).
I’m also leading a book club discussion/roundtable on employer brand at the Talent Champions Council, which, if the build-up on LinkedIn is anything to go by, will be a wild time. I’m super excited to see what I say!
Thanks, everyone!
Don’t forget to check out the 700+ link archive.
And as always, when you reply to this email I will read your questions and comments. Is there any article I should be commenting on? A book? A podcast? Is there something you what to know? How can I help? Just reply to this email and it comes directly to me.
Cheers and thanks!
-James Ellis (LinkedIn | Twitter | Podcast | Articles)
Where the subject line came from:
Talking Heads - Crosseyed and Painless LIVE (Stop Making Sense)
Talking Heads - Crosseyed and Painless LIVE (Stop Making Sense)
This week’s subject line comes from the one and only Charu Malhotra, who has excellent taste in music.
Did you enjoy this issue?
James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd
By James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd

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