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⚡ Employer Brand Headlines: The "Why Can't I Be You?" Edition (#107)

⚡ Employer Brand Headlines: The "Why Can't I Be You?" Edition (#107)
By James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd • Issue #107 • View online
My mission: move the conversation around employer brand forward.

Employer Brand Headlines, brought to you by James Ellis
Employer Brand Headlines, brought to you by James Ellis
In this issue
  • The real problem with job postings
  • Why your job is so hard
  • People, not candidates
  • What strategy?
The big idea
I love job postings.
(shut up. you knew I was that kind of nerd when you opened this email)
I read a lot and I help write a lot. I know the machine that pushes recruiters and sourcers and HRBPs to cobble together job postings from other jobs, other teams, and (don’t act shocked) other companies.
I know of companies that pre-write job postings for hundreds of pre-defined roles. Think of it: this is a company that’s never HEARD OF YOU who is writing the bulk of your job postings, describing your jobs for you blind!
I get it. We all need job postings NOW and NO ONE actually wants to write them. The hiring manager looks to the HRBP who looks to the recruiter who is too busy and hates writing anyway and suddenly, the fact that most job postings suck makes perfect sense.
But all these pressures to create “good enough” (ha!) job postings at scale and speed has lead to a simple problem: Job postings all sound the same.
Don’t believe me? The exact phrase “must have excellent written and verbal communication skills” comes up in Google more than half a million times. (Let’s not talk about how the exact phrase “must have excellent written and oral communication skills” shows up another 298,000 times.)
This is a bullshit phrase if ever I heard one. Will this job require you to write a novel? Or haiku? Probably neither. It probably means “write an email that other people can understand and act on.” But we never see stuff like that. See see the bullshit phrase.
I bet if I asked, you’d come up with your own bullshit job description phrase you see over and over, thus proving my point.
But it gets worse. All job postings sound the same, but all jobs are different.
Put another way:
  • All jobs (as described) are the same
  • All jobs (in reality) are unique
The gap between these two ideas isn’t just enormous, it constitutes a kind of lie to our candidates. If our jobs are unique but our descriptions are not, we’re not actually describing the job, are we?
In other industries, that’s called “fruad.”
Worse than that, in a place where our candidates hold all the power, we can’t engage them with platitudes and generic bullets. They know those are lies and are beginning to hold us accountable.
Isn’t it standard practice for smart candidates to say, “putting the job posting aside, what is this job… really?” The posting was enough to get a candidate to do research and ask questions, but since you’ve started the relationship with a stack of black and white lies… how far can you really get?
To me, bad job postings are a great example of how we need to help our TA teams rethink everything they’ve learned because it isn’t working anymore.
5 Truths About Why A Career in Employer Branding is SO HARD
Candidates are dead. Long live people.
Let Your Top Performers Move Around the Company
No Time to Create Content? Turn One Webinar Into Nine Marketing Pieces in Less Than 14 Days... Without Killing Yourself
Many Strategies Fail Because They’re Not Actually Strategies
Strategic Considerations For Extending Brands
Employers not getting it right in recruiting diverse talent
These Pasta Are Having a Really Good Hair Day
Nike celebrates its retail employees as athletes in UK ads
Quick hits
Inside the fortune cookie
The secret to success is doing the stuff other people won’t do & doing it for a really long time. - John Jantsch
Thanks, everyone!
Reminder: The more people at your org who read my books, the better your job will get! (They’re free!!!)
There are now more than 900 links in the link archive. Enjoy!
Finally, if you have a question, 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:
The Cure "Why Can't I Be You?"
The Cure "Why Can't I Be You?"
Did you enjoy this issue?
James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd

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