Few companies have received more negative notoriety in recent months than AIG. Yet on their Careers site, it looks as if nothing in the world has ever happened to disturb the company, or the happy futures of its prospective employees.
Since it’s been reported out loud in many places that AIG has four PR firms at work, in addition to their in-house resources, it seems obvious they are concerned with making the right impression. And the corporate home page strikes just the right note, with a simple but effective acknowledgement that problems exist and efforts are at work:
But click on over to Careers, and it’s like landing in an Oz of flashy graphics and enthusiastic copy:
The lead line is: “Wherever you are looking for opportunity, AIG is there.” And in view of the recent publicity about AIG (and financial institutions in general), it is difficult not to regard this statement with a certain irony.
Of course it is absolutely right to continue recruiting, even if a company is experiencing difficulties. And it might even be reasonable to try and keep the Careers section in a bubble, if that were possible. But such could only be accomplished with careful attention—which doesn’t appear to have been paid at AIG. If a natural curiosity were to lead the job-seeker to click on the “Our Organization” tab, and then choose “News,” here’s what they would find:
But the corporate news feed inserted beneath this caption creates a bit of a disconnect, since it’s generally a stream of financial and legal items that are certainly not celebratory, and bear no relationship to employee accomplishments. On the date I checked (3-12-09), the first item was “AIG Issues Series C Preferred to Trust for the Sole Benefit of the U.S. Treasury.”
It’s hard to say what a company should do in AIG’s circumstances. But I thought it might be worthwhile to look at another approach, so I traveled over to Citigroup, which has been similarly in the headlights. They may have been in a better position fundamentally, since their Careers site is much more serious (one would even say sober) in design and execution.
Very little copy on the landing page–and nothing that moves! The presentation remains restrained throughout the site, which has considerable depth, and includes a lengthy, realistic-yet-encouraging message from Citi CEO Vikram Pandit. If visitors access “News” from the Careers site, they are taken to the Press Room, where stories are presented completely, and in context—which plays much better than the bad-news headline scroll at AIG.
It’s understandable that revamping the Careers site may not be a top priority at AIG. But some small changes could have made the presentation seem more appropriate. Here again, perception means a lot . . .
And attention is important. A footer on the Careers landing page announces: “Last Updated Date 10/30/2008 9:58:53 AM.” And that just seems too long under the circumstances.
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