Posted June 25, 2009 3:15 pm by with 3 comments

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By Peter Zale

The New Environment

The growth of blogs, Wikis, sites like YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Huddle and others point to the increasing use of the Web as an environment for users to communicate and collaborate with one another in the facilitation of work, play and self-expression. This has caused a profound shift of consumers from diffuse and passive to active community members whose immediate and worldwide communicative ability exerts powerful influence over the perception of brands.

This new reality means that a brand or company that gives real user value will not only be popular for the value it gives but also will promote its brand across the Web. The dynamic that has changed the most is the existence of interactivity. Formerly advertising messages were of course one sided. Now, with the ability of a person to respond or interact with the message, or the medium of the message, a whole new dynamic sprouts. From this, we can fashion what I will call Zale’s Rule (unless someone else has already come up with it): The effectiveness of the message delivered in a medium increases in direct proportion to the utility the medium (not the message) gives the user.

Job Recruitment

Let’s take one example. The process of recruitment has gone through many changes over the last few years. Underpinning these changes is a growing redefinition of the buyer and seller in the employment transaction. People change jobs more frequently; communications and transportation make considering jobs across a wider range of locations and types of employment common and retaining good employees has increased in importance. Although the situation appears more problematic lately, sooner than later the dynamic will reassert of job seekers as the buyers in this transaction.

Accordingly, companies are challenged to construct Web recruitment capabilities that allow greater empowerment for employees and potential employees. They must create a better product for these ‘job shoppers’.

Creating a better product will help attract and retain quality people, which is the goal of any recruitment capability.

I will here offer suggestions how a company might improve its recruiting Web site. I will then list three approaches to choose from to move forward.


Companies should recast their recruitment sites as career development community/tool/suite of tools and encourage users to improve their careers with the sites regardless of whom they end up working for. With this, a company’s brand as well as its integrity will be maintained and strengthened in the eyes of both employees and potential employees, increasing both the attraction and retention of good people.

The site should be a login-based community dedicated to career development. Members should visit throughout their careers to use its tools and/or community advantages. The company could make a new URL or set of URLs (accessible from their main site) for each segments of users.

How the site(s) might be follows.

3 Approaches:

A. Less Challenging to Implement

  • Encourage users to share career learnings and prompt discussion amongst them with topics of careers or consulting, accounting, etc.
  • Publish user content (video/audio/slides, etc.) of case studies that teach skills dealing with various situations (excising sensitive information).

B. More Challenging to Implement

  • Add career development tools to ideas listed in ‘A’.
  • Career development tools could focus on things like what tax rates exist in what parts of the world or average salaries in regions for certain professions so user might compare living places on such terms.

C. Most Challenging to Implement

  • ‘A’ and ‘B’ above plus more complex career development tools, like:
    • Visually based easy-to-read career map (perhaps like a project map), comparing user’s existing experience/education to others who have come before them.
    • Tools such as those used at Bain and other consultants, i.e., role-plays where user answers questions in a consulting scenario.

More sophisticated tools:

  • Role-play games (ala Internet games, etc.) to provide users with scenarios wherein the issues they face would be played out. (Ex: Company ‘X’ says they have assets worth $. You inspect their site and see if it’s true, etc.)

Into the future:

  • Company could provide a Microsoft-like Visual Studio of tools to develop software to facilitate career development. The latter tools could become applications that the company sells or leases.
  • A company could ‘keep tabs’ on who the most talented people using their tools are. If the company can implement effective and interesting tools that require thought by users then they will create a ‘try out’ arena that they can track. The result is that talented people will want to use the tools for their own benefit and the company will have the opportunity to assess their abilities and seek to hire them when the time is right.

Moving Forward:

Each company has an opportunity to change the rules of recruiting and leverage its reputation into the 21st century. It can differentiate itself from its competition as forward thinking, savvy, concerned and adaptable, i.e., all of the things a client might hire a company for.

This is an entry to Marketing Pilgrim’s 4th Annual SEM Scholarship contest.