Lipstick, meet pig

Bear with me, friends, it’s been a wild few weeks. I am about to go on a true ramble. Welcome to the random, inner-workings of my brain…

Working with brands for more than 20 years to make their recruiting easier has shown me a lot of stuff. From launching early career sites in the 90s, to MySpace campaigns in 2005, I have seen people try a lot of things to attract people to their applications. We get SUPER creative when it comes to getting people to that thing that they hate. I think it was Jibe that had a study a few years ago that said 20% of people would rather wait in line at the DMV all day than apply for a job, 25% of people who rather do all their Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve than apply for a job. If memory serves, root canals were on the list somewhere. The net, no matter what we do to attract people to our application, they really don’t like it. At all. And then it dawned on me:

Is it possible that we have created entire categories around Employer Brand and Recruitment Marketing just so we can obscure our terrible experiences?

Did we just stand up what might be a billion-dollar industry full of software, and consultants just so we wouldn’t have to address the real problem? And by the real problem, I mean the act of filling out forms with very personal information just for the honor of never hearing back. Because, honestly, it would probably be easier to just fix the actual problem. Uncomfortable? Yes. Scary? You betcha. But harder that spinning a great brand story (that’s true) from scratch? Nah.

When I ask all the parties involved in this issue, I get the same answer: It’s someone else’s fault. Hiring managers blame recruiters. Recruiter blame the ATS or the talent. Talent blames the brand. (Ok, now we are getting somewhere brain!) Maybe that’s how we got here? Maybe we saw that and said, “OK! The answer is to make the brand really great so they will forgive us for the rest of it.” Spoiler alert: It’s kinda working.

I mean, I did just interview a bunch of silver medalists who were so bought into the brand that they said they didn’t even remember the application. They said, they’ve seen and had worse. They didn’t really care to be honest. The reality is when we get the job seeker to the site and actually have the right job for them to transact on, they are so hopped up on “new job optimism” dopamine that they may be blocking the rest of it out.

This whole experience has led me to so many questions that I am so excited to solve with this specific customer. I cannot wait to see the outcome of a newly designed experience that puts the candidate at the center, makes the search and apply process simple, gives them access to answer real questions in real time. What is going to happen to their conversion rates (that are already out of this world)? You see, a strong brand can not only obscure a bad experience, but it can also generate extreme conversions. So, they have a good brand…check! But what happens when they have an experience that aligns with that brand? We are all going to have to wait and see. I can tell you one thing, if we have decided as an industry that if we build an amazing brand, people will forget about the experience. I can attest that this is the case, at least in this one instance, it’s working. But, for those of you who have the brand that is completely firing on all cylinders, what are you doing about the experience? Are you creating alignment? Or are you allowing your brand to do ALL the work?