THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

December 7, 2006   view past issues

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Feature: The Importance of Voice

Recently, The New York Post made a startling announcement. In an era of steadily declining circulation among newspapers, it racked up an impressive gain in its audience. Despite the Internet and all of the other media competing for people’s attention and time, it managed to add new readers.

How did the newspaper do it? Well, certainly there are a number of factors that influenced its success, but chief among them, I believe, is its voice. The style of the Post, the way its content is written, is edgy, even a bit risqué. People buy the paper and read it precisely because it is sassy and irreverent. That voice makes it distinctive. And appealing. Not for everyone, to be sure, but to enough of them to increase its readership while other newspapers are struggling. And that success, it seems to me, holds an important lesson for recruiters.

In the past, content was king. If you had the best content, your newspaper or magazine had the largest circulation. It attracted the most readers and, as a result, delivered the most candidates for our employment ads. The Internet, however, has changed what readers want. Blogs, discussion forums, newsgroups and chats have given more people easier access to more content than at any other time in history. For that reason, content is no longer enough … if your goal is to provide a message that will differentiate and sell your organization.

The Internet has transformed content into a commodity. There are thousands of sources of what readers view as the “same old stuff” online, whether that stuff is a movie review, an opinion about the Iraq war, or an employment opportunity. With a relatively small number of obvious exceptions, what an author says and even who the author is just aren’t enough to set a message apart and ensure it will get read.

Today, voice is king. The content must be up to par, of course, but it’s the voice of a message that determines whether it will be noticed by the public. In other words, if we recruiters want our job postings and the content in the Career area on our Web-sites to have an impact on readers and influence their behavior, we have worry as much or more about the voice of our message as we do about its content.

What is voice? The following guidelines will help to answer that question.

  • Voice is not a person, no matter how senior or well known they are (or think they are). It is not the CEO waxing eloquent about his/her vision for the organization. An employer’s voice is not who is doing the speaking; it is how the speaking is done.
  • Voice is also not a literary convention. It’s not something the corporate communications department can edit into a message. It is not something that is bolted on, but rather an integral element of the message, itself.
  • Voice is a representation of the people in the organization. It is the human face of your employer. Think of it as an expression of its employment brand. The culture and values that shape its employment experience should also shape how it communicates the essence of that experience.
  • Voice is personality. Sincere, affirming, high spirited, enthusiastic-whatever it is-voice is the polar opposite of the corporate bureaucratese that is used in many job postings and on many corporate Web-sites. Recruiters-at least the best recruiters-don’t speak in a monotone and neither should their recruitment ads or their descriptions of what it’s like to work in their organizations.
  • Voice is the part of a message that people “hear with their eyes.” It is the choice of words, the way ideas are phrased, and the life one feels between the lines when they read the content posted by an employer (whether that content is published in print or posted online). Voice doesn’t have to be sassy or edgy, but it does have to be alive, to convey the human aspect of the organization. Why? Because the best candidates don’t join organizations, they join coworkers, and the voice of your message is their first introduction to the caliber and culture of their prospective peers. It is, if you will, the first gentle connection between colleagues.

    For example, take at look at the quiet passion and determination you hear with your eyes when you read the first page of the new Career area on the Web-site of Johnson & Johnson. Or the voice of classy self sufficiency that you hear with your eyes (ignore the background music) when you read the opening words in the Career area on the Nordstrom’s site. These messages are distinctive not only for what they say, but equally as important, for how they convey the culture of their organizations to the reader. While the former is important, it is the latter which enables the message to rise above the clutter and be recognized as worthy of the reader’s time and attention.

    The Internet has not changed the job market in one regard: mediocre talent will still ignore dull content and apply anyway. It has, however, changed (and changed forever) the way the best talent decides what recruitment messages they will notice and invest the time and effort to read. It’s no longer enough to write content that is complete and clear, even if the message is one that positions your organization as an “employer of choice.” Given the clutter of messages in today’s job market, your message is likely to be overlooked … unless it has a distinctive and compelling voice that will enable top talent to hear what you’ve written.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Remember what you learned in kindergarten: It’s nice to share. 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: Arbita

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Arbita.com.

    Arbita is the leading provider of global jobs cross posting solutions.

    Our flexible integration solutions allow you to combine job-posting capabilities with other applications easily. Our platform independent technologies empower you to deploy our systems in concert with leading ERP, HRIS, and ATS platforms. Our streamlined posting, robust reporting, knowledgeable media consulting and experienced vendor management improve recruiting workflow and results.

    For more information please contact sales1@arbita.net or call us today at (612) 278-0000.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Authoria released the results of a survey which found that almost 70% of employers are unable to measure the effectiveness of their recruiting process. What’s causing this analytical gap? Apparently, many organizations are having a hard time weaning themselves off of inaccurate measures of efficiency-cost-per-hire and time-to-fill-while others cannot find an acceptable way to measure quality of hire and/or fit in the organization. Finance professionals have it easy; they have a single authoritative organization, the Federal Accounting Standards Board, to set their guidelines for them. We don’t. Certainly the work of the Saratoga Institute and Staffing.org has helped, but the reality is that measures of effectiveness in staffing are in the eyes of the beholder. In other words, the definition of quality is idiosyncratic to each organization. There are a range of (imperfect) options, but it’s up to the staffing team and HR to build an enterprise-wide consensus around one that is acceptable to all stakeholders in the recruiting process (i.e., HR, recruiters, hiring managers, IT, finance). The goal is to find a way, not to audit recruiters’ performance, but rather, to measure and refine the impact of initiatives for the continuous improvement of the recruiting process.

    DICE published the second edition of its Tech Appeal Index, and the results were less than a ringing endorsement of managers and their management practices. According to the survey, 82% of IT professionals are concerned about keeping their skills current, yet almost a third (30%) say their employers do a “poor” or “only fair” job in helping them to do so. Just one-in-four (26%) of the respondents said their employer’s professional development support was excellent. In a separate survey, Dice also found that 40% of IT professionals describe their employer’s hiring process as “nearly impossible” and believe the problem is that “HR doesn’t understand IT and has unreasonable expectations for prospective candidates.” That perception, of course, is painfully ironic. The unreasonable expectations in the recruiting process come not from recruiters, but from hiring managers who will also be the bosses of those new IT employees and, in all likelihood, impose the very restrictions that get in the way of their professional development.

    The Global Rich List offers a free way for you to see just how well your pay stacks up with other workers in the U.S. and around the world. Enter your annual salary, and the calculator will determine your global wealth ranking and percentile. For example, if you make $51,250 per year, you would rank as the 58,543,933 richest person living on the planet and be among the wealthiest 1% of all humans (despite how you may feel when you pay your bills each month). Lest you think this site is just an exercise in self-congratulatory behavior, however, as soon as it gets you feeling good about yourself-with over 6,500,000,000 people on earth, number 58 million looks pretty good-the site asks you to contribute to a charity and help others around the world who are not so well off. It’s a nifty way, particularly at this time of year, to encourage us all to remember others who are less fortunate than we.

    Naturejobs, a service of Nature magazine, announced that it is now offering free job postings. Specializing in scientific recruitment, the site attracts over 200,000 unique visitors per month in both Europe and the U.S.. The site also offers a range of paid advertising options, including those that are designed to increase the visibility of your free posting and contextual ads among the 30 million page views the online magazine gets each month. Naturejobs.com is a member of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, the standard setting trade organization of the job board industry.

    PennTechJobs was launched by PennWell Corporation as a recruiting resource for employers seeking engineers in the following industries: communications, electronics, photonics, optoelectronics, military aerospace, nanotechnology and semiconductor manufacturing. A single 60-day job posting runs $330; resume search is $400. PennTechJobs.com is a member of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, the standard setting trade organization of the job board industry.


    Section Three: Site Profiles

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

    1. Holiday crowds are exceeding all expectations, and your Alabama-based department store needs to hire another Santa fast. Where could you go online to make your wish come true?

  • SantaforHire.com
  • SouthernSantas.com
  • JollyElf.com
  • Santa4You.com
  • 2. Your trucking company is falling behind on deliveries for the Holidays, and you need more drivers right away. Which of the following sites would steer you to qualified candidates?

  • JobsinTrucks.com
  • Layover.com
  • TruckDriver.com
  • EmploymentGuide.com
  • 3. Business is brisk at your Sacramento florist shop, and you want to hire another experienced florist to help out. Which of the following sites would likely nurture some great prospects?

  • BloomingGoodJobs.com
  • Agriseek.com
  • FloristsRUs.com
  • BestofBuds.com
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    disABLEDperson.com

    http://www.disabledperson.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: None

    Posting period: 60 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 2,500

    Source of resumes: Direct from individuals, Other sites

    Top occupations among visitors: Administrative, Professional

    Other services for employers: Assessment instruments, Resume agent, Banner advertising

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: No

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. All but Santa4You, a Santa who lives and works in California.

    2. All of them.

    3. Only BloomingGoodJobs; Agriseek.com focuses on the Canadian market, FloristsRUs.com is a portal leading to floral shops, and BestofBuds.com is a “computer music resource center.”


    Please Support Our Sponsor: Arbita

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Arbita.com.

    Arbita is the leading provider of global jobs cross posting solutions.

    Our flexible integration solutions allow you to combine job-posting capabilities with other applications easily. Our platform independent technologies empower you to deploy our systems in concert with leading ERP, HRIS, and ATS platforms. Our streamlined posting, robust reporting, knowledgeable media consulting and experienced vendor management improve recruiting workflow and results.

    For more information please contact sales1@arbita.net or call us today at (612) 278-0000.