Corporate Eye

Outside In

emc outdoors ad examples

So I’m on hold, waiting for a customer service representative, and since I’ve got the company’s website open in front of me, I decide to check out the Careers page. The company in question has a fairly high public profile–and since it’s in an industry where many jobs are thought of as something to do while looking for something better, there’s a fair amount of turnover. Therefore (I reason) it should be interesting to check out their recruiting strategy, as long as I’m stuck in their world for a while.

And it certainly was interesting, on many levels. In fact, I thought up seven topics for future posts in about three minutes, so this was on-hold time that really paid off. And one of the things I started wondering about was—why are people looking at a Careers site in the first place? Now that might seem like a really basic point. And everyone else may be thinking about it all the time, while I’m just way behind. Maybe not, though . . .

I was on this particular company’s site for another reason, and ended up at the Careers page through equal parts of boredom and curiosity. But other site visitors—such as potential investors, customers, or clients–might drop by Careers while trying to get a 360 view of the company. And competitors probably stop in occasionally to see what their rival is up to.

So one moral of this post is: Don’t be so focused on job-seekers that you forget about other visitors. Some of the folks who wander by for a different reason might be (or know) potentially perfect employees. Is there something on the site to catch their attention? 

The other question that came to mind was “Are there any clever, creative ideas out there for getting people to the Careers site?” Preferably the right people (but let’s not rule out the volume approach). And no, I really didn’t find any. But I did end up thinking about the use of outdoor advertising for recruitment. You can’t put a lot on a billboard—but you can definitely highlight a web address. The examples shown in this post are from EMC Outdoor, and their website points out that recruitment ads which use outdoor media get attention by being different, as well as by appearing in interesting places or being seen in the same place repeatedly.

But I think there’s a subliminal message at work also. The scale of a billboard ad seems to say “This is a really big opportunity!” So the other moral of this post is: What messages are you sending indirectly on your site? Does it bring to mind exciting opportunities? Big dreams? Secure future? Or . . . ?

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Cynthia Giles has followed a serpentine career path from academia to publishing to marketing and design to information technology and corporate communications. There’s plenty of detail about this journey at, but briefly--the common theme has been ideas, and how to present them effectively. Along the way, she became an accidental expert on data warehousing and business intelligence, and for the past ten years she has combined corporate contracting with an independent consulting practice that focuses on marketing strategy for smaller businesses and non-profits. Having spent quite a bit of time looking for work, and anywhere from two weeks to two years inside a wide variety of American companies—she has given much thought to what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to creating a great employment fit.