THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

June 14, 2006   view past issues

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Feature: Employment Brand Management

Employment brands (e-brands) are increasingly recognized as the single most important factor influencing the selection of an employer by top talent. A strong e-brand will both attract even the most passive prospects to an organization and predispose them to consider its employment opportunities even when they wouldn’t consider openings anywhere else. Brand management, therefore, is now among the most important responsibilities of Staffing Departments. It involves the development, promotion and oversight of an organization’s value proposition as an employer.

E-brand Development

An e- brand is not an advertising jingle or tag line. Such phrases work with consumer brands because the consumer has, in all likelihood, actually experienced the vendor’s product or service. For example, when GE says it “brings good things to light,” we can appreciate the double entendre of the phrase because we have all used a light bulb. The same is not true when GE or any other employer is trying to recruit talent. The vast majority of the “consumers” they target with their e-brand ads will not have had the experience of working for their organization. To be effective, therefore, an e-brand must be a complete expression of the attributes that characterize the employer’s workaday experience. It is not a ponderous mission statement, but a window into what it’s like to work in and for an organization.

Which attributes of employment should an organization include in its e-brand? I believe that depends upon three tests. The selected attributes must be:

  • Real. An e-brand is not the place for wishful thinking or spin. It must be believable to both the external audience and, equally as important, to an organization’s employees.
  • Relevant. An e-brand should highlight the attributes that are most important to the high caliber workers an employer most wants to recruit. The best way to identify those factors is to ask the consumer. What made the top talent already in the organization say “Yes” to its employment offer and what keeps them there?
  • Recognizable. An e-brand must differentiate an employer and set it apart in the minds of the skilled performers the organization is trying to recruit. It should be a unique combination of attributes expressed in a way that is unique to the employer.
  • E-brand Promotion

    E-brands are meaningless statements if they are not seen by the “consumers” an employer is trying to reach. Since the best talent are often employed and/or passive in nature, however, these e-brand ads must be visible far beyond where they’re typically posted-in the Career area on corporate Web-sites.

    Where else should an e-brand be advertised? At sites and in any other venues that are popular with the top talent an employer is trying to reach. Among the former, these might include:

  • Job boards that offer features for passive as well as active job seekers,
  • Association sites,
  • Newspaper sites, and
  • General search engines (e.g., Google, Yahoo!).
  • Among the latter, these might include:

  • Print newspapers,
  • Print professional journals, and
  • Commute time radio programs.
  • No less important, the e-brand advertising must be durable. Before the advent of the Information Age, advertisers counseled that an ad had to be seen seven times before it would break into the consciousness of a potential consumer. Today’s omnipresent, 24/7 information distribution has only increased the clutter in consumers’ minds. As a consequence, the number of required ad repetitions has increased by at least a factor of ten. Said another way, your e-brand must be promoted even when you’re not hiring in order to ensure it has an impact when you are.

    E-brand Oversight

    Like personal reputations, e-brands are fragile creations that can be destroyed in the click of a key. Moreover, an e-brand is not only what you say about your organization’s employment experience, but it’s what others say about that experience, as well. For that reason, organizations must continuously monitor outside commentary about their employment value proposition. They can’t, of course, violate the free speech rights of others (including their employees), but they can (and should) identify inaccurate, misleading and/or harmful statements and correct or counter them.

    How can you monitor your organization’s e-brand? Keep an eye on sites:

  • That target your specific company and/or its employees. For example, StarbucksGossip.com covers everything from the public response to the company’s new products to the latest personnel moves in its corporate headquarters.
  • That solicit commentary about all employers. For example, the Electronic Watercooler at Vault.com encourages people to do online what they do at water coolers in the real world: gossip, gripe and exchange “information” about employers.
  • That solicit commentary from all employees. For example, OfficeBallot.com lets people rate their coworkers, boss or anyone else in their company and do so with complete anonymity.
  • The goal is not to keep track of everything that’s said about an employer-that’s the job of the Public Relations function-but rather to oversee what’s being said about its attributes and practices as an employer. Critical or false statements can quickly do serious harm to an e-brand. Therefore, uncovering such assertions as soon as they occur and, if appropriate, counteracting them effectively are essential to the maintenance of a strong and attractive e-brand.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Don’t keep WEDDLE’s to yourself. If you like our newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!


    This Issue’s Sponsor: IAEWS

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of the IAEWS–the International Association of Employment Web Sites.

    The International Association of Employment Web Sites is the trade organization for job boards and career portals. Its members include over 600 sites operated by stand-alone enterprises, newspapers and professional journals, associations, radio stations and affinity groups. Their services cover every profession, craft and trade, every industry and virtually every location around the world.

    Why is it important to you? Because it will help you to be a smart consumer on the Web.

    There are over 40,000 employment sites, and not all of them operate according to accepted business standards. How can you tell the difference? Look for the Association’s logo on Web-site home pages. It’s the “good housekeeping seal” you can count on when you make buying decisions among job boards and career portals.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    CareerJournal.com and the ERI Economic Research Institute released the results from their latest Total Cash Compensation Report, and guess what? Boards of Directors are giving CEOs annual raises that are more than ten times greater than the measly 4% or less that CEOs are approving for the workers who make those CEOs successful. Total cash compensation rose an obscene 41.3% above the already super-inflated levels of 2005. The data were drawn from a randomly selected group of 45 publicly traded companies. Why is this happening? Is it true-as many Board members claim-that such pay is essential to recruiting and retaining top executive talent or is this some sort of vain one-upmanship-my Board pays more than your Board nah, nah, nah, nah-on the part of Board members themselves? It wouldn’t be so bad if the Board members were equally as focused on paying whatever it takes to recruit and retain top talent below the executive level, but apparently that’s an issue beneath their concern.

    Dealsplit was launched by Candidates on Demand Group, a privately held company based in New York City. The site offers a free process that connects third party recruiters and employers with candidates obtained from other recruiters and sources. When one of the site’s candidates is placed by a third party recruiter, the site splits the placement commission with the recruiter 50/50. When a candidate is hired by an employer, the site takes a fee equal to 10% of the person’s first year salary. The site also facilitates the process through the involvement of its own recruiters who help to identify prospective candidates, schedule interviews, and conduct reference and background checks.

    Onrec.com/Online Recruitment Magazine, a publication based in the United Kingdom, announced its first U.S.-based conference to be held in Chicago, IL on September 12-13, 2006. Called its Global Summit for Online Recruitment, the conference will feature well known U.S.-based speakers, such as

  • Peter Weddle,
  • Tony Lee and
  • Joel Cheesman.
  • Unique to this conference, however, it will also offer an array of speakers from around the globe, presenting a fascinating new perspective on Best Practices in online recruitment. You’ll hear from:

  • Jerome Ternynck, the CEO of MrTed;
  • Matt Parker, Managing Director of StepStone Solutions; and
  • Patrick Sullivan, the President of Workopolis.com, among others.
  • For more details, click on the link above.

    Psychology Today published a list of tips for those who are smarter than the bosses for whom they work. Among the suggestions:

  • Remember that nothing is black and white. Even the dumbest of bosses may have a good idea or two. Overlooking them can hurt your own reputation.
  • Keep your opinion of your boss to yourself. Your boss may not be a rocket scientist, but they may be smart enough to blow up your career.
  • Don’t make fun of the intellectual ineptitude of your boss. If your commentary gets back to your boss, the joke may be on you.
  • Help your boss offset his or her weak points and then try to leverage your role into some visibility for yourself. For example, ask to participate in the briefing you helped your boss put together. Don’t try to outshine the boss, however, as that can turn the lights out on your own career.
  • YouGov released the results of a study of employee theft of corporate information in the United Kingdom, commissioned by Microsoft. It found that:

  • Almost a quarter of UK workers (22%) admit to having illegally accessed company files stored online, including individual salaries, manager’s personal notes, and colleagues personal information.
  • Over half of these workers (54%) say they would snoop into such information again, if afforded the opportunity.
  • What’s the message? Regardless of where you work, protecting sensitive corporate information is a statutory and ethical requirement in an era of softening personal values and pervasive information systems. No less important, it is a business imperative. Indeed, failing to provide adequate systems, procedures, polices and training for safeguarding personal as well as business information undermines an organization’s responsibility to its stakeholders, shareholders and even its customers.


    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. Your umbrella manufacturing company is running at full capacity thanks to all of the rain on the east and west coasts. If you want to hire additional manufacturing workers fast, which of the following sites would produce high quality candidate output?

  • JobsinManufacturing.com
  • WeMakeIt.com
  • iHireManufacturing.com
  • ManufacturingJobs.com
  • 2. Your lab has just won a contract to test professional athletes for banned substances and drugs. Where could you go online to distill a list of properly trained candidates for the biologist position you must add to your staff?

  • ScienceCareers.org
  • BiologyJobs.com
  • ScienceJobs.com
  • Naturejobs
  • 3. Your company is still struggling to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley, and you need to find an experienced Controller to get on top of the situation. Which of the following sites would pay dividends in your search for high caliber prospects?

  • 6FigureJobs.com
  • ExecuNet.com
  • ConWork.com
  • ConJobs.org
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories

    CollegeRecruiter.com

    http://www.collegerecruiter.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – All

    Distribution of jobs: National-USA

    Fee to post a job: $125/posting

    Posting period: 60 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 35,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from candidates

    Top occupations among visitors: Information Systems, Sales & Marketing

    Other services for employers: Listserv/discussion forum, Assessment instruments, Automated resume agent, Banner advertising, Status reports: Banners/postings

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. All but WeMakeIt.com, a site owned by Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company.

    2. All of the sites.

    3. All but ConWork.com, the site of a German business, and ConJobs.org, the site of a company providing convention support.


    Support Our Sponsor: IAEWS

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of the IAEWS–the International Association of Employment Web Sites.

    The International Association of Employment Web Sites is the trade organization for job boards and career portals. Its members include over 600 sites operated by stand-alone enterprises, newspapers and professional journals, associations, radio stations and affinity groups. Their services cover every profession, craft and trade, every industry and virtually every location around the world.

    Why is it important to you? Because it will help you to be a smart consumer on the Web.

    There are over 40,000 employment sites, and not all of them operate according to accepted business standards. How can you tell the difference? Look for the Association’s logo on Web-site home pages. It’s the “good housekeeping seal” you can count on when you make buying decisions among job boards and career portals.