Focusing on the corporate careers site as the main destination where companies can connect with and engage talented people is a continuous theme here on EXCELER8ion. It used to be that the corporate careers site was THE destination where job seekers could learn about the company and have their first exposure to the employer’s brand messaging. I now find myself in every client presentation having lengthy discussions about the new reality we face that when someone does a search on Google or Yahoo! when researching your company – it is likely that the search results returned will be posts from the blogosphere, not necessarily the corporate careers site, and not necessarily with a positive message.
This has a huge impact on how job seekers perceive your employer brand – as the information that is found on a blog post is often considered more credible and real as compared to the ‘controlled’ information that companies usually make available to job seekers on the careers site. Since the information posted on the corporate careers site usually does not really portray what it is really like to work for a company this lack of real information is literally forcing them to go to search engines to seek out the ‘real deal’ before deciding if they want to consider a company as a future employer. The result is that your employer brand message can now be found (but not controlled) on dozens, hundreds, and possibly even thousands of sites across the web.
The changing expectations regarding where job seekers can go online for ‘real’ and transparent information about a company are being seen outside of Careers as well. Shel Holtz, VP of New Marketing for crayon, spoke at the New Communications Forum in Las Vegas last week (I would have killed to attend all of Track 1) and he just posted asking his readers what their thoughts are regarding the value of company websites:
A recurring theme here at the New Communications Forum (in Las Vegas) is the value of corporate websites. Speakers from David Weinberger to John Bell (from Ogilvy PR) have reiterated the point: People will search Google and engage in the blogosphere to find out whatâ€™s what with a company before they visit the companyâ€™s website. Even if they do visit the company website, itâ€™s only to get the companyâ€™s point of view, not to make an ultimate decision or establish an opinion.
While Shel is looking to discuss the extent to which this is indeed the case – the fact remains that from a employer brand point of view – every day there are conversations that are taking place on blogs about what it is like to work for a company, and those conversations are being indexed and found during searches.
Companies do not have one careers site – they may literally have thousands. Instead of fighting this reality, I want to to talk about the possibility of breaking away from the traditional careers site experience and provide people with an ‘Un-Careers’ site? (I owe the credit for coining this term to my colleague, Jeremy Shapiro – VP, Hodes iQ).
What to do?
Make the site a destination that aggregates all of the content out there about a company – all of the employee blogs, past employee blogs, personal blogs – all of it – not just the typical careers marketing spin.
Shel discusses how Microsoft did this a few years back (not for careers):
There also are ways to make the corporae [sic] site more of a destination. Microsoft did this by creating a bias-free clearinghouse of content related to the federal and state lawsuits it was facing a few years back. By offering all contentâ€”not just that which was pro-Microsoftâ€”the company ensured that, for at least some journalists and othersâ€”the Microsoft site would be the go-to destination for documents and other materials dealing with the lawsuits.
I view this as an immediate, no BS way to provide a real and transparent view of the company, and as a byproduct, such a move would also up the credibility of the more “traditional” careers content that might otherwise have just been brushed off as spin. Once companies leverage the social network, instead of hiding from the content that already exists out there – a world of possibilities immediately opens up for distribution of job postings via rss and widgets – but I will save that for another post.
What do you think – will corporate America ever be ready for such a move as a un-careers site?