In the old days traditional media controlled the perceptions and the thought expressions of the world, they set the agenda for what was ok to think and not. To some extent they still do. But all is not as it used to be. The entry and growth of social media has given a voice to the audience. The spectator became part of the heat, of the action and suddenly went from an opinion-maker into a agenda-affector. To some extent we are all lobbyists these days.
Those who have the greatest effect on the agenda are undoubtedly those with something to say but most importantly those who done something worth mentioning. The dark side of social media is the amount of voices, the blur and the inflation of people claiming grounds because they are interested in being seen above others – not because they necessarily have made something which is going to history. The artists were rarely hailed in their own lifetime, only after their death did we understand their greatness. My guess it will remain the same, only more of us have the chance to shout out our “important stuff” through Twitter and Facebook.
The important part to remember is the massive effect this enormous lobbyism will have on who will become the artists and what is worth trying out and not. And remember, in any lobbyism there are always some informal heroes of news sharing who affect the agenda a little bit more than the others. What do they think? What do they approve of? Their opinion matters a little bit more and will naturally spread soon with the great online networks out there, such as Xing or Linkedin.
It is all about the experience. A few years back an author named Micael Dahlén wrote a book called Nextopia and claimed that we lived in a Expectations society. While that may still reign, many of the more innovative companies have shown that consumers rarely know what they expect. If they have measurable expectations they did beforehand know what they were looking for. Who knew that with the iPad or Windows 3.1? Many will argue that expectations were to handle a certain task effectively and the solution did just that. Sure thing. But the solutions and innovations that grant the greatest experience most often beat the better functional products. The old classic dialogue from the great competition between Ericsson and Nokia cell phones at the 90’s is still very viable. Ericsson explained their production process with pride and then that they sent it to their design department at the end. Nokia said that they had 6.000 employed designers (refering to every employee being part of the design chain). And where did it all go wrong? When staying emotionally attached to something which did not provide the same classy experience as they were famed for – Symbian. You could argue there were other reasons in addition and it surely was. But all in all, Nokia lost the pole position for being in lead of innovative leading experience for their clients and so they are where they are today. And yes, if your expectations are to get the best possible experience, then it is still very viable to say we live in an expectation society. I say we live in a experience society.
An interesting remark from my old employer who had a challenge to make their employees using the intranet. They were all very concerned about the matter that only 10% logged in and read the news – mainly those who had to, because of administrative matters. It goes without saying the intranet were one of the worst user friendly with a layer of old 90’s design I’ve seen. I saw directly where the problem was. These examples are everywhere.
This is naturally as important for a job seeker as it is for a consumer of an online solution. Reading this very interesting article: http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/recruiters-wake-up-infographic/#! provide some scary thoughts about the progress of an employer brand. It is horrific that employers does not understand how critical it is to treat your talents the right way. And no, it is not only about having good interview techniques. This is about how you treat every stakeholder in touch with your business, every day, in every process, always. The fact that many job applicants rarely gets answers from the recruiter of where they are in the process, if they are relevant or actual or even rarely get an e-mail that they did not get the job – is not ok. It just ain’t ok. There are no excuses. Believing that these people would ever speak about you to others in their network or recommend you or be left with a good feeling whatsoever is completely naive. Of course they won’t. And about the lobbyism part once again, they could easily instead share their negative point of view to hundreds of followers.
The applicant experience is just as important as any other experience. Be swift, professional, informative, concise and provide the talent with answers to his questions. And remember that even if a talent may not suit your organization at this point, he might do in a few years with more experience or perhaps he is connected to people who would be ideal. Handle everyone as if they are your future star.
The next dilemma to this is the strength of the employer brand. Remember that the more applicants you’ll have, the more people you’ll have to reject. The rejection experience is a part of your applicant experience. Don’t forget. So before you start cheering because you receive thousands and yet thousands of applications every year, have a look at the percentage of “correct recruitment target groups” of those applications. I claim that those are the quality applications and the others are a damage risk. The damage risk are those you’ll need to reject, along with some of the correct target groups that you can’t offer a job for the time being. All of those risk becoming some of those negative lobbyists. A strong but unfocused employer brand is not easy to handle nor something to strive for. It is much more important to be highly approved of or ranked towards your recruitment target group than in a general measurement index. The latter is bound to bring problems. Especially if you take the lobbyism idea and the statistics in the article I refered to earlier, into account.
Think your recruitment target groups through. Reach out to those people, not to everyone. Reaching out to the right ones is partly a choice of forum, method and messaging. Provide a superb applicant experience and treat everyone the same way.
Building a focused employer brand is a challenge on its own. I am going to elaborate on that in a coming post.
Thank you for reading.