Monday, November 28, 2005

Don't Miss the Next Strategic Turn

Don't Miss the Next Strategic Turn is the title of an article recently posted on the Electronic Recruiting Exchange and written by Yves Lermusiaux who is the President of -- now known as Taleo Research -- a company that provides consulting services to corporations on staffing. Yves makes some interesting points as he takes the reader though a thought process that among other things reminds us of the following:

"In 2000, only 27% of the Fortune 500 directed all candidates wishing to respond to job positions posted to the corporate careers website to a purely online response mechanism. But in 2005, 77% of the Fortune 500 do not give jobseekers the option of responding offline to job positions posted to the corporate careers website."

If I were a candidate in this day of "personal branding" this sort of news -- even though I probably would have guessed it to be true -- would still not be welcome. Not only unwelcome, but it would also make me ponder even harder, how to get out of the universal "molds" and "boxes" and get a potential hiring manager to start to see all the problem solving solutions I could bring?

Technology is great. It's exciting, and it certainly helps on the productivity side in more ways than most of us can count, but I still think that when it comes to getting someone's attention, we have yet to find a replacement for what we like to call "being remembered and being referred."

It still amazes me even after so many years of being on one side or the other of the recruiting world that even those of us who are seeking senior-level executive jobs see the boards that seduce us with "come see us, we have more jobs than there are stars in the sky" or some other equally enticing come-on that makes me want to say "great, I will simply click, send, and wait for my Blackberry to wake me in the middle of the night with an offer."

I'm certainly not saying that people don't actually get jobs by answering ads. Of course they do or there would be no ads, but when it comes to setting yourself apart, and getting to a hiring manager without rolling the electronic dice, by far and away the most productive "branding" tool known to man is the care and feeding of your personal and professional network.


David St Lawrence said...


Good article!

Commodity positions get filled easily with this impersonal appraoch, but few of us like to think of ourselves as commodity products to be hired and placed in cubicles like a set of matched LEGO pieces.

Middle and upper managers worth their salt don't fit in neatly labelled boxes. Personal referrals are a necessity if they are to find jobs in which they can excel.

Personal "branding" is a necessity, if you are not a readily identified commodity.

Dave Opton said...

Right you are David, and when a recruiter tries to wade through the hundreds, if not thousands, of responses to a posting, it is even more understandable that they would view each entry as "part of the herd."

Karen Armon said...

Dave, you couldn't have said it more clearly! Personal branding is not (necessarily) a way to find new opportunities, it is a way to provide context to oneself.

The questions about "who am I?"; "what do I stand for?"; and "why is that valuable?" are just as important for a product as is the value-proposition of an executive!

My advice: Don't buy the hype about personal branding. Buy the reason why branding exists at all -- to create connection around a compelling message that draws customers (or a future employer). Personal branding's power is based upon relationships -- the good ole fashion kind and simply defines that relationship!