My Headlines


We have moved to Wordpress! Posted by Jason Links to this post The Recruiting Front Lines has evolved. At the beginning of the year, I changed jobs within my company, moving away from Outreach and Education, and into my new role as Director of Business Development. While I remain closely involved with our field activity, I am now more focused on strategic partnerships, social media, and the world of internet recruitment resources. As I have made this change, the focus of my blog content has also changed. Recently, I began to feel that many of the ideas I had for blog posts would not fit within the framework of The Recruiting Front Lines. This was a cause of some frustration, as I felt that I was either misrepresenting my content with the title of my blog, or that I was stifling my writing because I felt it didn't fit. To rectify this situation, I have created a new blog home, now on WordPress. I am still ironing out the wrinkles, but feel that it is far enough along that I can move all my past content, and begin posting all new content, at the new address. I would like to formally welcome everyone to come check out my new home at I can't wait to hear what you think! Best Regards, and Thank you for your time and attention over the past 18 months. Jason

Mar 20, 2009

RFL: Musings on eExternal Employment Branding

As a follow up to my previous posts, Don't Just Sit On Your Hands and 4 Keys to INTERNAL Employment Branding During a Recession, the following bullets are laid out to provide some direction to employers, recruiters, marketing directors, personnel managers, and HR professionals on EXTERNAL Employment Branding. (remember, Consumer Branding is meant to build up your consumer base, Employment Branding is meant to build your employment base... and I'm not exactly sure how the term Employer Branding fits.)

During a recession, you'll likely be making fewer hires- potentially only replacing key positions. Employment Branding is absolutely necessary to ensure your attracting the very best candidates that will help you company survive the downturn and thrive in the upswing. Here are some of the most important things I'd ask everyone to consider when developing or reviewing your external employment brand:

  • If you asked every applicant to share what they know about your company culture during your first phone call, what would the result be? Ask this question to every applicant you phone screen, and track the results
  • When you do an online search for "Careers at (YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE)" what would you find? Make sure you have pages on your website dedicated to your employment brand.
  • If you aren't hiring, how could someone find out what it's like to work for you? Be sure to keep your employment brand visible all year long and drive a consistent message.
  • How many GREAT applicants do you get when you're not actively hiring? Companies with well developed employment brands will receive applicants from great candidates all year long, because they want to be part of your organization.
  • If you went for a recruiting day at a campus right now, would there be a line of students waiting to speak with you? Utilize social media and online resources to generate a buzz about your company- and yes, even YOUR company is buzzworthy!
  • What would your current employees say if they read your employment branding promotional materials? Remember, brand integrity directly affects your ability to retain new hires and existing employees- so be sure that you're brand is true.

Consider this: With all the bad news about layoffs and unemployment, any news or PR you can generate about your positive employment brand will catch people's attention. In fact, it is much easier now to grow your employment brand awareness and brand penetration! While others are shying away from the spotlight, you can take center stage.

If you aren't currently hiring, investing time and energy in your employment brand now will lead to significant payouts when you're back in growth mode. Develop brand loyalty now, and when you're ready to hire, great people- and maybe more importantly, the right people- will be banging down your door.


When we work with job seekers, we push the idea that employers are looking for the "right fit" for their company. We guide job seekers to begin their search by doing a self assessment- what are their own core values, strengths, motivations, talents, desires, and comfort zones. Once you know what makes you happy, and what you want from life, then you can target companies who's culture and mission fit your own. This is the key to long term employee satisfaction, increased retention, and ultimately profitability.

Here's a quick story to illustrate (verbally) how employment branding can affect the type of candidates you receive. A soon to be graduate at Smith College is looking to start her career with BET, and has asked for some advice on her cover letter and resume. She has already interned with the Media Education Foundation and with MTV, so has relevant experience in this industry. Additionally, working in media is a passion of hers, and she has the experience to support that. However, it's likely that BET will collect hundreds of resumes for this position, so it's important to make sure she conveys her alignment with their culture and philosophy.

We went on the web to research more about the career environment of BET, their culture, professional development programs, etc. And found nothing. The job she was applying for was written up in three sentences, part of a pdf that included a dozen or so other job descriptions. There was nothing about their culture, nothing about the types of employees they're looking for, nothing about the benefits they offer to top talent. There was simply no information that would shed light on who they are and what kind of environment a new hire is walking into. While I can't find statistics published on this, I have a pretty high confidence that they struggle with significant employee turnover. If you don't specifiy the type of culture you have and the type of people you're looking for, you're far less likely to attract the right ones.

I told this student that she continue to reach out through social media and other online resources to explore the culture and environment further. A key to getting the interview is presenting yourself as the "right" person for the job because of your unique combination of skills, talents, motivation, drive, values, and passion that align with the company.

Mar 16, 2009

RFL: Social Media Bucket #3: Information Sharing

As you may have heard me say, or read in previous posts or in response to questions on LinkedIn, I believe that all social media falls into one or more of three buckets: Social Networking, Professional Networking, and Information Sharing. I thought it was about time I went into more depth on these three buckets, starting with Social Media Bucket #3, Information Sharing. (Please note that these are my own thoughts and biases, so I willingly accept all criticism, skepticism, and responsibility surrounding the following assertions)

While some social media outlets provide excellent platforms to connect and build networking relationships with like-minded people, either for social or professional engagement, Information Sharing social media outlets are designed to do just that- share information. These resources include StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, YouTube, NewsVine, and others. Essentially, you're able to add or recommend information/content to these resources, then share it with your network, and by extension, the world. Most of these resources do allow for comments to be added by other members of the service, but really aren't designed for ongoing discourse. This, as with all the Social Media Buckets, has it's benefits and it's drawbacks.

The benefits to Information Sharing sites can be broken down to two parts- disseminating information and accessing information. First, let's talk about the benefits for disseminating information. For businesses, and people looking to grow their presence in the social media world, these outlets are a terrific free resource to promote your knowledge, skill, ideas, thoughts, and interests. Whether you want to promote your silly lip syncing to 80's love songs on YouTube, or promote an article about your company on Newsvine, Information Sharing sites help you get your message out. As a result, these sites are very appealing to businesses looking to build brand awareness and reputation, and advertisers looking for consumer eyeballs. You can share press release information, provide recommendations for services, review books you've read, create web videos, and so much more. And, of course, all these platforms are highly indexed on search engines, further increasing your visibility and reach. Truly, information sharing sites are a tremendous benefit to building your online presence and reputation.

The benefits for accessing information are just as significant. Once you become a member of these resources, you'll be able to see information shared by people, and more importantly, will begin to develop a level of trust for certain content providers and information disseminators. By seeing ongoing commentary of users, you'll find experts that you agree with or respect, and can then continue to follow or view the information they share. These sites allow us to catch news clips that we may have missed when they aired live, they give our network of friends and associates avenues to send us links to news stories we may care about, and they allow us to search and find virtually any perspective on any subject we wish. Never before have there been so may opportunities to access information- fact, opinion, rumor, innuendo, data, industry experts, analysis, etc- so quickly and with some form of connection to the people disseminating that information.

Of course, there are also very substantial drawbacks to these service. Primarily, in my book, is the fact that very little, if any, of this content is regulated. And, by virtue of the free access, there is no fact-checking or oversight being done. Some may say that there is no accountability, but I would say there is very little. The accountability comes in the form of loyalty and trust of those who access the information. If it's found that the information you provide (attached to you by your username) is fraudulent or completely reckless, people will stop paying attention to you and your information/recommendations.

One of my favorite resources is Twitter. Many people still have difficulty understanding the value of this "microblogging" service that only allows you to post 140 characters at a time. I believe this confusion is based on many people's limited understanding of social networking. In fact, many people misconceive Twitter as a social networking (Bucket #1) or professional networking (Bucket #2) resource. While it certainly does connect people with others, the limits of this platform really relegate it's value to Information Sharing. As you'd see if you followed people, there are a great many links to information and recommendations provided. By following people, you can get a feel for their perspective. Many also don't understand how to jump into Twitter to begin accessing information. Here's a quick example:

Please see the RSS Feed below post. What you're looking at is a feed from a search done on Search.Twitter.Com. I performed the search for "#EFCA", one of my areas of interest recently. What is returned in this feed is every post on Twitter that includes #EFCA. I can then view the profiles of the people "tweeting" about this topic, and decide for myself if I should follow them or not. By following them, I'll have access to see all their posts. This search feature is a great way to find people who are posting information and comments about things you are intereseted in. To make this easier, many people on twitter include what are called hash tags. A hash tag is when you put a # sign next to a term. This makes searching easier. If I post something that has to do with the Employee Free Choice Act, I'll add #EFCA to the post so that people can find it easily.

As you'll see in the RSS feed below, you can find many links to information and opinions about the EFCA. This is a great example of how you can access information through this site. I hope this was helpful to those still treading lightly in the social media ecosystem. Please share your thoughts, questions, and comments.


Jason Blais on FoxNews

Word Cloud for RFL

Wordle: The Recruiting Front Lines

Using Video to Reinforce Employment Brand