It’s one of those things that you know you’re doing wrong, but you can’t seem to stop doing it. Like the dream where you’re plummeting towards the ground and you keep fumbling for the parachute ripcord to no avail. The latest evidence of my general lack of oratorical control was mercilessly showcased in a recent Business 2.0 article by Ann Marsh about gasbag syndrome in the interview process. You run an interview and somehow spend WAY too much time talking about you, even though you were intending to efficiently showcase your company, team and open position. Well, at least I felt like she was writing about me! If you haven’t read my blog posts before (lucky you) you need to know now that I am the poster child for the International Brotherhood of Gasbags, local 1388, West Palm Beach. But, as usual, I digress. You’ve no doubt been part of an interview like the ones described by Ann, from one side of the desk or the other. Perhaps, if you’re like the rest of us mortals, you’ve been on both sides of that experience enough to recognize the wisdom in Ann’s story. Our attempts to sell a candidate on our open position become a series of breathless stories about US: our jobs, our experiences, and our accomplishments. But as Ann points out these well intended actions can have a seriously negative effect.
The same is true for well intentioned recruitment marketing. Spray and pray come to mind? For me, Ann’s story is a great reminder of two critical aspects of marketing: relevancy and execution. You have an arsenal of information and tools at your disposal to find candidates but in the end they are all useless if you fail to use those funny things protruding from the side of your head. You have not one, but two of these funky, satellite dish shaped wind catchers on your noggin (mine are almost big enough to get me in the Elf local). These ears of ours are the perfect tool for making sure that what we focus on and say is relevant – be it a conversation or a new campaign. Even better, by listening you learn what the right thing to say is, and that in turn exponentially increases your ability to execute. Listening allows you to leverage your doing. Are you picking up my signal yet? (Now, if I could only follow my own advice that would be something!)
So as I sit here I’ve written notes on about five divergent tangents that come to my mind on this topic. But, rather than trying to weave my web of wonder for you as you sit pondering this story I’d rather take myself up on my own advice and…listen.
What ways do you currently use to listen to your internal and external customers? What have you found to be most successful in getting right to the point of matters in your recruiting efforts or recruitment marketing campaigns? What feedback loops do you have in place that support real conversations (a la recruitment blogs and wikis) with the people you market to? Have any funny stories about gasbag syndrome that you’d like to share. Let me know – I’m all ears (for once).