Archive for October 30th, 2006

Corporate Recruitment Blogs - getting up close and personal

Monday, October 30th, 2006

 ogilvy-blog.JPG

Do you have a weblog (blog)?  There are nearly 60 million blogs.  Over 175,000 new blogs are added each day and bloggers update their blogs regularly, with over 1.6 million posts per day (or over 18 updates a second).  Actually these figures are probably quite conservative, if we add the likes of social networking platforms like MySpace with their blog functionality, claiming 230,000 new accounts per day.  Blogs allow people to showcase themselves and their desired personal brand, to share their personality, philosophies and thoughts using words, pictures, video, and audio.  Blogs are interactive; they typically invite input from others, allowing people to connect, share, question, network, develop relationships, and build online communities.
 

What about blogs in a business context?
While personal blogging is going off with a whizz and a bang, things are happening at a much slower pace when it comes to companies jumping on the blogging band wagon.  I’m actually struggling to find any blogs on the websites of large New Zealand or Australian corporates (or even standalone blogs specifically promoting their products or services), so please share if you are aware of any.  According to research in the United States, only 40 (8%) of the Fortune 500 have official corporate blogs.  Taking a quick glance of a selection of these 40 sites, I noticed the different ways these companies present their blogs.  I think PR companies have been involved in writing the content of some blogs, chief executives feature prominently as key contributors, and some even devolve contributions or separate ‘company-branded’ blogs to employees – the creative writing skills on some sites are very impressive.  (By the way, IBM has a good policy for its employees on acceptable blogging.)  Many blog entries were updates about new products or innovations, whereas some talked more about their company culture and daily work challenges and/or encouraged customer interaction and input.  I was quite amazed by the large number of comments, feedback and queries some of these blogs receive.

Market research by Tekrati Inc, an independent United States research company, has indicated that nearly 70 percent of all corporate website operators plan to implement corporate blogs by the end of 2006.


Does a corporate blog make good business sense?   
A blog gives a company a human face and its own voice.  Blogs can make a corporation seem more approachable.  Some blog contributors are doing a great job of being seen as “thought leaders” in their areas of specialisation, in educating customers and encouraging their buy-in, addressing customer issues and acting on this feedback – free market research!  Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems comments in his popular blog:

We’ve moved from the information age to the participation age, and trust is the currency of the participation age. Companies need to speak with one voice and be authentic. Blogging allows you to speak out authentically on your own behalf, and in the long run people will recognize that. Do it consistently and they trust you.
 

What about ‘corporate recruitment blogs’ then?
This is where things are getting very interesting.  Keeping the above benefits in mind, corporate recruitment blogs provide a real opportunity and great promise in really connecting with jobseekers.  Pioneers, like Microsoft, have been recruitment blogging for a few years.  I find the contributors to their Jobsblog site to be personable (not PR-ish) and informative.  They provide a range of tips and appear to offer transparency about the Microsoft recruitment process, especially in response to jobseeker queries. 
As I read the entries I also get a feel for the sort of attributes they are looking for in a candidate (more than can be gauged from a job description and a typical vacancies page), which would assist jobseekers to decide whether they should apply or not in the first place.  Jobsblog have recently started an Australian entry, which includes some specific information relevant to a New Zealand audience.


Another couple of sites are worth a mention. 

  • Cadbury-Schweppes have launched their 2007 graduate recruitment programme with an updated recruitment blog. They were one of the first graduate employers in the UK to launch a graduate recruitment blog when they started one in 2005.  The blog offers MP3 downloads, including interviews with former graduates sharing their experiences.  The site also features a series of day-in-the-life blogs which are published by their current graduate hires. The blog is attributed to a 50 percent increase in applications between 2004 and 2005.  
  • I find Ogilvy’s UK graduate blog site to be very appealing. They have cleverly posted information under key headings (What Ogilvy isn’t, People, Our Work, About Ogilvy, Pay & Benefits, Training) and invited comments from jobseekers.  Answers are posted by people who have been through the Ogilvy graduate programme.    
     


The dynamic approach offered by these recruitment blogs is a refreshing move away from the static approach of a lot of corporate careers sites and vacancies pages.  It seems to make links on a traditional vacancies page, like “our culture”, with just a lot of written formulaic text, somewhat redundant and empty.    

Paul Jacobs
Engage