SmartRecruiters Blog

The Marketing Department’s Fingerprint on the Candidate Experience

Do CMOs and Marketing VPs know how their organization’s brands are being trampled in the mud? That’s thanks to the nineteen-sixties-era job ads and recruiting practices their firms are using, long past the point when anyone with a pulse should have noticed that talented candidates aren’t pounding at their doors.

Every day people send me job ads from well-known brands (maybe yours) and the ads are absolutely ghastly. They’re terse, uninteresting and unlikely to get anybody with a spark of intellect or curiosity into your recruiting portal.

I ask you, CMO, would you let anybody in your company run an ad in a consumer or B2B media outlet that insulted prospective customers? Of course you wouldn’t.

So why do you stand by and let your company’s Recruiting function run job ads that insult job candidates? Here’s an example:

The Selected Candidate will possess a keen eye for detail, six to eight years of experience in social media analysis, and blahditty blah blah blah.

Why would you address your own target audience member — a person reading your job ad — in the third person, and talk right past him or her? Who approves these job ads? And how in God’s name would we know in advance how many years of social media analysis experience (whatever the heck that means to any given screener) would be the right amount to have? We pull those job requirements right out of thin air.

Human Voice in Job Ad

You wouldn’t know that in advance. You could meet people with one year of experience, six months, six years or any amount of experience at all. What do the years of experience have to do with anything? That has no correlation whatsoever to a person’s success at a task. You should be asking for someone who’s done something that you consider worth doing, like taken a brand and shown an increase in social media response, or engagement, or whatever social media people measure.

That’s so obvious I hate to say it, but somebody needs to say it, because people are still writing job ads like we’re hiring for one of Henry Ford’s factories, where the most significant factor (and it probably wasn’t even, way back then) was how many years they’d used a given piece of equipment.

These days we should be asking for results described in writing, not years of experience and certifications that anybody could get with enough elbow grease and money. We know better. We’ve lived in the Knowledge Economy for two decades or more. Why are we still recruiting like we did when Gerald Ford was tripping down the steps of the White House?

We drive talent away with our repellent job ads first and then with our horrifying recruiting practices. I don’t know why CMOs stand for it. Do they think there are two completely distinct species of working people on our planet — the ones who buy from us and the ones who apply for jobs with us?

There aren’t. There’s only one population. There’s only one community out there, and they all talk to one another and they all know whether your brand treats job-seekers with respect or treats them like garbage. I know, because they tell me.

How long do you think you can keep that up? Hiring managers say, “We’re in desperate need of talent.” Isn’t it time for a CMO or two to step into the breach and help push away the logjam that HR folks have so far been unable to budge, the enormous obstacle that keeps talent-starved hiring managers and awesome employees apart?

The logjam is a mental model, or frame, that tells us, “Employers are in control in the hiring process,” years past the time when that was true. It keeps our recruiting systems archaic and ineffective, and keeps job-seekers waiting weeks to hear news after an interview that they should get in one or two days. It puts us to sleep in the talent-acquisition sense. It hurts every result we measure in our organizations, from productivity to employee engagement to quarterly earnings.

HR people have not been able to make much headway in removing the blockage created out of Byzantine recruiting processes and badly-designed-and-implemented Applicant Tracking System technology. HR people have a problem. Their power and influence in most organizations is very limited.

Still, isn’t it time for somebody to walk into the executive boardroom and say, “We can’t keep deluding ourselves that job-seekers come from a wholly separate pool than the people who buy what we sell.?”

FingerPrintSeems to me it’s way past time. Marketers who care about their firms’ reputations should be all over the recruiting side of the equation, the marketing that goes out the back door to the talent population. They should focus on that just as keenly as they do on the careful wording and imagery they blast out the front door to prospective  buyers.

We lose sleep over the customer experience and virtually ignore the candidate experience. What’s the difference? One pays you cash and the other grows your business through the sweat of his or her brow. You need the great ideas. You need the team’s collective mojo working on your problems. We know that loyal customers and evangelists don’t grow on trees. We work hard to find and snag them. Would we labor under the delusion that it works any differently in the talent market?

Wake up, CMOs, and shake your CHRO awake and the two of you get busy repairing the branding damage your last-century recruiting is doing to your image. There isn’t a moment to lose.

liz ryan

This article was written by Liz Ryan from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Learn more about SmartRecruiters, the only platform managers and candidates love.

Ryan Salerno