Just like the wrong words or phrases can ruin marketing opportunities with consumers, messaging in a job post can send the wrong signals to job seekers. Senior Marketing Strategist Mary Keough joins us to discuss her Marketing Job Post Teardowns and...
Just like the wrong words or phrases can ruin marketing opportunities with consumers, messaging in a job post can send the wrong signals to job seekers. Senior Marketing Strategist Mary Keough joins us to discuss her Marketing Job Post Teardowns and the red flags featured in them.
Welcome to today's episode of Get the Message. We've talked a lot on this show about how humanized communication needs to be infused in marketing today, but aside from being important, because that's what consumers want and that's what maximizes results today, we could also consider some of the most critical components of communication and see how they apply to a company's ability to succeed, fail, or come up short.
In areas, even beyond marketing. I mean, let's think about some of the components here. There's connection. Are you communicating in a way that gets someone to stop and pay attention emotion? Are you conveying something in a way that feels like it was written by a human being that understands the person or human being on the other side or understands what they want?
Or maybe what they're going through - that...interpretation. Does the messaging convey the right message in the right way, generating the right response? I mean, really there we're talking about whether or not it resonates. And I think resonate seems to be a consistent factor in what can make or break marketing communications today.
And that's why it has to look or sound more human.
Another thing to consider is how humanized a company culture might be, because that can play a role in how employees communicate with customers, or let's just say other humans. In fact, I would argue that this includes how a company views their audience - how do they view their consumer?
And does that company have internal discussions and communications that shape how everyone in the company feels about their audience - about their customers. Think about how that can impact every external communication that comes from that company. I mean, if internal discussions about prospects are centered around what the company THINKS they need, then their external communications could be interpreted by consumers as anything from out of touch to bossy.
What about during a PR crisis? Think about some of the times where a company has been involved in a PR crisis that is all over the internet and social media. Wouldn't you say that how a company chooses to respond to that crisis can definitely demonstrate how they view their audience. If one company decides just to not respond and hopes it'll go away....what does that say about how they view their audience and what people are saying?
If a company responds in a way that conveys the message that, "Eh, we know better, those of you that are calling us out, you don't get it," what impression do you get in that situation?
And finally, there are those companies who respond quickly, take action, and they might even release public statements or showcase their progress to allow the public, to witness what's changing.
You have to think that company gives their audience a lot of credibility and they care about what they think. Now those situations can be nuanced in several different ways, but at the end of the day, you can definitely tell how they view the audience and what's being said. And really, I would say you could tell how much they value their audience and what their audience is saying.
I think that's a great example of how the critical elements of communication, including message, audience, and the ability to connect and resonate can play a role outside of just marketing. But, you know, it might be easier to consider these components in a public crisis situation. However, other examples might be tougher to see - but they're there.
My guest today is going to demonstrate how you have to consider humanized communication in job postings - yet again, proving just how much of this challenge is part of our world today. And like marketing, relying on old styles or strategies can do more harm than good because like today's consumers who know when a company doesn't understand...today's applicants can look for signs that tell them whether or not they should apply for your job opportunity.
Today, we'll discuss both sides of this equation, the marketing job poster and the marketing job seeker.
Hello, and thanks for joining me today on Get the Message, the podcast dedicated to not just communicating, but resonating. Mary Keough is the Senior Marketing Strategist for Gorilla76, a marketing agency for B2B manufacturers. She is also the co-host of Industrial Marketing Live, and she is a frequent poster on LinkedIn.
In fact, recently I shared one of her marketing job post teardowns, which are designed to explain to job seekers how to interpret many of the words and phrases they see in a job descriptions. And in its own way, it can warn companies about the signals these messages can send. For example, this is her most recent post on this topic.
"I'm gonna shake it up a bit with a really bad post followed by an almost ridiculously great job post. Here we go. The job title is for a marketing director. They have a pretty simple intro. And then it says this company is looking for someone who could plan, execute and grow our marketing efforts for our retail stores.
Ah, the triple threat right off the bat. I love an easy target. Triple threat is three verbs followed by a general statement used as a catch call for an entire job description. Why is this bad? They could just stop here. Technically the rest of the job posts could be summed up in this single statement and yet they continue.
And so shall I, and she goes on to highlight the next part of the job description, which says this includes creating specific strategies across multiple mediums and platforms, including email marketing, digital, traditional, and social media. Yikes. So I'll be doing email marketing, social media, marketing, digital marketing, and traditional marketing.
Huh? No clearer way to tell me you have no idea what marketing does or could do for your organization. Cool. This candidate should have the ability to work in a fast paced company, supporting multiple departments. Translation get ready to do a lot of activities, not listed in this job post and most fall under the category of admin, nothing.
And I mean, nothing good comes from you having to wear multiple hats from other departments. In no uncertain terms, you will be an admin forever. Ideal candidates would have three plus years marketing experience, a degree in marketing and have an interest in working in the cannabis and vapor industries.
Can't wait to read the salary on this one. Copywriting, graphic design and social media experience a plus. Sure. Why not, Already mentioned social media, but let's throw it in there again to really emphasize it. I won't get into the 1 - yes 11- bullet points, which include social media strategy (Again, for reals?) email marketing (also again), website maintenance.
And community outreach because why not. Salary 50,000 to $55,000 a year. Now here's the crazy great job post. It just says - clearly define campaign strategies, goals, target audience, and personas to help drive messaging and approach. That's it. That's the whole job. Post Q harp music and singing angels salary 100,000 to $130,000 a year.
Only downside is they list eight plus years of B2B marketing experience. It seems pretty high, but I'd go for it anyways. You'd be surprised how much can be negotiated."
She says job posts should not be complicated. You should not have to set aside 30 to 60 minutes to interpret said job post, and you should be able to read or skim the post in 30 seconds and know exactly what you'll be doing for the company.
But most companies don't get marketing and therefore don't get how to write a marketing job post. Seekers beware! Marketing deserves better.
And Mary is joining us today to dive into these a little further and provide some additional context in how the content is written and how that content should be and could be interpreted.
Hi, Mary, thanks for joining me today.
Yeah, Scott, I'm so happy to be here. Thank you for asking me to join.
My pleasure. I've been looking forward to this discussion because as somebody who just recently decided to go out on my own...I had my challenging experiences at companies and then trying to go find better ones...and then having to decipher sometimes, you know, "If I apply for this, am I getting into a better situation, or am I falling into this trap again where there might be unreasonable expectations or not understanding what certain marketing positions do?"
That's why I so appreciate what you're doing in sharing your insights about these things on LinkedIn.
But from a communication standpoint, and from really a marketing standpoint...cause I look at this as, as marketing too, because you're kind of demonstrating - people may not even realize- when you put these posts out, you're showing something about how your company views marketing, what your culture's like....
And I also look at it as a trend that is consistent with so many other things in marketing today where things have changed. Certain companies have evolved, but there are still a lot of companies that are still doing a lot of the same things they probably shouldn't be doing anymore...and that includes some of the descriptions and some of the things that people are writing when they're advertising for certain marketing positions.
Is that something you're seeing as well? Aside from the communication challenges and what the red flags are, there's really here a process that really needs to change from a culture standpoint and a messaging standpoint, as far as what you're telling potential candidates you're gonna want from them.
Oh, absolutely. You nailed it on the head. That was a perfect summary of what job postings can mean not just for the position you're posting for, but what that department means...and then your company culture as a whole. I can give you an example of one that I've seen pretty frequently.
So it'll start with, let's say we're doing, you want somebody who's a marketing manager, um, or even a director.
So definitely a leadership position.
You might have like one to five direct reports and they'll say - "We want you to plan, execute and develop a marketing strategy." Okay. That's great. That's exactly what I want from a leadership position. Right then it's followed by anywhere from 10 to 25 bullet points on all the marketing tactics.
They want you to execute PPC, SEO, digital marketing, social media...
So what that tells me is, of course, number one, you don't really understand what marketing is doing for your company, and you don't understand what you want from marketing as a whole. But that also to me, signals that I'm gonna be in a organization where micromanaging is common.
So their very, very first bullet point is telling me to plan, execute and develop a marketing strategy. That offers a lot of freedom when it's followed by 10 to 15 tactics. They expect me to execute - that tells me I'm to be micromanaged at every single stage of that plan - develop and execute a marketing strategy.
And do you think it also sometimes shows kind of how the company...you kind of alluded to the understanding of the marketing position and what marketing is supposed to do. But I also see a lot of examples too that really do show kind of how the company views marketing.
We have a lot of conversations on this show, for example, about how some people just view social media as this broadcast outlet - that we just line a bunch of stuff up and let it go and hope for the best.
And it oversimplifies really what social is, and really what it can do for the company. And you have to wonder when you list so many things to cover...if that's also because they're oversimplifying what's involved in all of those processes for all of those things you're going to have to do, as one person in one job.
Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I work in the industrial manufacturing sector. That's my niche. That's who I talk to on LinkedIn. Some of my job postings are from SaaS, but most of them, I try and pull from the niche too. And it's the most clear in industrial manufacturing companies - they just don't really understand A - what marketing is doing for them now. B - what marketing could do. And then C - the potential for marketing to be the growth lever of your company.
Which is really what my marketing philosophy is. Like marketing should be the lever you pull when you wanna grow a product line company, bottom line pipeline. You go to marketing.
Yeah, I also think it, it's gotta be some of that too...the approach of do you view marketing as a revenue spend or a revenue generator?
Absolutely. Yes. Yeah. And I can tell you, like we work with, you know, anywhere from 10 to 20 clients at a time - marketing is a revenue generator. I can tell you that right now. There's no doubt in my mind, but when you have marketing, as you see in these job posts, conduct way too many tactics...and to your point with no knowledge or understanding of the effort that goes into each of those tactics, then yeah - you're just spreading your marketing department too thin and making it impossible for them to measure their impact on the company. .
Yeah, it's interesting. One of the things that inspired me to really focus on going out on my own was going and finding companies that knew they needed to evolve to more contemporary modernized people-focused strategy as opposed to falling into a trap where it might look like a company is open to that based on a job description, and realize you're still kind of, you know, only doing so much when really you could be doing so much more.
And I found that a couple of times when I had to job search, I almost subconsciously started to rule things out based on things that they would list that I would be doing in a marketing position, kind of in my space, which at the time was very content and copywriting-focused.
But I really wanted to infuse that strategy in there too and not just be writing something just for a sale and things like that. And I found that I would look for things where, for example, if I saw that everything that I'd be doing was all text - so it's all writing, writing, writing. There's no repurposed content. There's no trying to reach multiple audiences in different ways or different types of journey steps. It's all, you know, we're gonna write this, write this, write this, write this and write these thousand words things. And then of course the only other thing that's really supporting that is, uh, all this paid advertising we're gonna put behind it.
And I feel like that's a red flag to me that they don't have the comprehensive strategy that's needed today and perhaps I should avoid that. And I almost think sometimes you can tell what the company is going to expect out of you as far as where they are in a strategic sense when it comes to what you should be doing today and what they might actually still be doing or not doing.
Yeah. I couldn't agree more. That's like another perfect summary of how a job post can reveal what they think about marketing strategy and what you can be expected to do. And I mean, the great thing is in industrial manufacturing specifically, and even in most SaaS companies, the bar for marketing is so low. Like if you have even the basic concept of product marketing and creating a go-to market strategy, you can win.
You just need to find a company that's bought in to giving you the resources you need to execute that go to market strategy.
Absolutely. And I know that one of the things that you talk about in some of the breakdowns you share on LinkedIn is being sure that you understand or give yourself an opportunity to really gauge what words are telling you these things, because you also highlight things you call "butter statements" that focus on kind of this really nice, you know, "This is how wonderful we think you people are," "These are the impacts we know that people in your position do," but then after you get past that, and you start seeing the things we talk about, uh, you realize that words are great - it's what you're actually gonna be doing when you get there, that's really gonna make the difference.
Yeah, I couldn't agree more. That was like another, another really good summary. And the "buttery statements" are awesome because that's just, you know, you have this big thing, like "The writer is the purveyor of words."
That's another one I've seen, or, "The marketing specialist is the backbone of the marketing department." Right. And I can almost guarantee that job description is gonna be followed by an entry level salary. They're gonna expect three to five years of experience, just like extremely unrealistic expectations.
I got reached out the other day by a company and they were like, "Hey, we love your stuff on LinkedIn." But in a minute, you'll see that they probably have not read most, most of my content on LinkedIn. "We really want to consider you for a serious marketing role. You're gonna be building strategy. You might even have a few key accounts. You'll be managing a small team."
And I was like, "oh, you know, I'm super happy in my role with Gorilla," and I told them this, but you know, for research purposes, I said, "Could you tell me what the job title, who I'd be reporting to and the salary range for this?
"Oh, yes, of course. The job title is Account Manager, which is a sales role. You're reporting to the Director of Customer Success, and the salary ranges 55 to 75K depending on experience."
I don't know a leadership position today where it would be considered a serious marketing role where I'm managing a small team that would pay maximum $75,000 a year. So, these are the types of unrealistic expectations. And the times when you really need to like dig deep into the words that companies are using or how they're communicating - what you'll be expected to do. And the big thing to your point is what they're leaving out.
So very interesting that she, you know, gave me this great description of exactly what the job will do...
But I didn't have the job title.
I didn't have who I'd be reporting to.
I didn't have the salary.
Those are three extremely important things that tell you a lot about the position you'll be applying.
Yeah. And I think this kind of goes back to the parallels of some of the advice marketing from experts and marketing professionals in our field. When we start talking about knowing your audience, doing what it takes to get to know them so that when you message them, you're messaging them in a way where it's clear you know who they are, know what they need, or know what they're about.
And you know, one of the challenges on the marketing side, Is an overreliance on things that try to simplify things too much - too many algorithms that are trying to just, you know, get us there quickly versus, really giving us an opportunity to see the larger details because we're so over-relying on the algorithm.
We don't see things that are clear opportunities to take advantage of something or to really be able to make a better connection with someone. And I feel like that, when you talk about on the one side that they're already asking questions that if they spent time learning about you, even just visiting your LinkedIn profile, they would've better been able to communicate with you about the opportunity and maybe make a better connection.
But, you know, I, feel like that's a situation too where they're just running that algorithm and running these things out so many different ways to so many different people, the exact same way. No personalization, no extra time. They're just hoping something hits. And really at the end of the day, that doesn't benefit you or them in the bigger picture.
Yeah, absolutely. And something you said actually made me think of something that I might post about later. What they're leaving out in these long descriptions or when they're using, to your point, algorithms and just, you know, doing kind of a spray and pray, hope someone responds to this canned message...what you're really telling me as a marketer....I don't know about you is you are likely going to be resistant to innovation and creativity.
So, if you're doing things that are very canned standard, taking advantage of an algorithm, like to me, that means you're not gonna be open to any like real true marketing innovation or creative solutions that I might offer. I don't know. What do you think about that?
Absolutely. That kind of goes back before when they outline the responsibilities, I mean, that too is also showing you something. Yeah. I mean, if, if someone were to actually send something out that was a little more personalized or, you know, on those rare occasions where someone might reach out to you and they recorded a video of themselves actually saying, "Hey, we got a chance to look at your background and we really need help in this area, and we think your perfect for this., and here's why," you know, it's one thing to be able to say, "We think you're perfect." It's almost like that's just a common phrase in the job searching world - "We think you'd be perfect for this." You get automated messages like that all the time from indeed in other places.
So it's almost better if you can send a message that says specifically why you think this person would be ideal other than we think your background is great, because like you said, I mean, I've even been in those situations where you get that message, and then when you talk to someone, they're asking you questions that would've been clear they wouldn't have to ask if it was obvious they had taken the time to look at the experience that they talked so highly about when they first reached out to you.
So yeah, if you see some of those early signals, that they're doing more than what everybody else is doing -that'll be a sign that they're innovative. And if you're seeing something you've probably seen in the last 20 years - it's probably a sign that there isn't much there.
Yep. Yep. Couldn't agree more. That's perfect. Perfect summary of what you can expect and not expect from that job when you read that description or when you read that canned message. Yeah.
Do you think even on the experience side of things, especially since, you know, you were talking about how a lot of people that have been doing the marketing work for a long time and have elevated - they know what not only what they're worth, but they also know the salary range for the type of work they do. But on the flip side, the other thing that can, I think, send a certain message - if you look at it, and I know you've addressed this too, and that's why I wanted to, you to touch on it - What is, a good set of boundaries for when you start talking about how much experience is needed for a specific role, you know, that line between, you know, unreasonable and reasonable?
And not only just some of the things that we're all used to seeing, but something that was always kind of interesting to me was...I mean, I had a track record of 10, 15 years plus being able to write for any industry - any voice successfully - even if going into that industry I'd never written for them before, you know?
But yet I, I have seen postings where they're saying, "We want you to have all these things," and I would check it - Yep. Got that. Got that, got that. And then the last thing would be, "You must have five and a half years experience in writing for this space. I mean, one time it was like storage, and I'm like, "Well, I'm sorry, I haven't written for storage for five years, but I could for you."
So, what about when it comes to those things where people are outlining what should be expected for somebody to apply on the experience side of things?
Yeah. So first off, if I think if you've read the description, it sounds like, you know, they are gonna allow for innovation and creativity, there's room for growth, there's room to innovate in marketing strategy there - still apply. Sometimes hiring managers will slap those expectations on, and the leader or leadership person won't know that they've been added to the expectations category.
So, apply anyways, and you can even do it if they're requiring a cover letter or your direct emailing someone. Just say, "Hi, I know you said in your job description that you require five and a half years experience in the storage industry, but I do have this experience."
"So, 10 to 15 years for me, it was like about five in this specific space. And I feel like I would still be a good candidate for this job because of X, Y, and Z." So definitely don't let that hold you back from a job that you are really excited about, and it's something I've seen. So, so often in these job descriptions too, is the standard just seems to be like three to five years experience preferably in this industry.
Again, I think companies are just slapping it on there. If that is one part of the expectations along with a poor salary range and a poor job description, that's three red flags right in a row. Just toss it. You're you're gonna be in a very difficult place if you end up working for that company.
Yeah, absolutely. I, think that's a really good way to look at it as far as the expectation side. And then, you know, then there's the element of - is there any extra steps you have to take to finish the application? You know, we talk about how, how well they may know you going in, and I've often wondered if somebody reaches out to you and says, you know, "You have a, you have a fantastic experience in writing and, and content, aAnd that's why we think you'd be a great fit and we'd like you to apply for it."
And you go, "Okay, sure. I'll apply for that."
And you apply for it, and they go, "Yeah, so can you prove to us that, you know what you're doing by doing four writing samples before we have an interview with you," and, and things like that.
Are there things that people can require? I mean, I've even had a situation where somebody had me sign up for their app and do something on their app as part of the application process. So, are there some things that companies probably shouldn't be doing that can be obviously immediate turnoffs, for candidates when it comes to those extra things you do after you apply, or maybe as part of your application?
Because in a world where we're talking about making things simple for the consumer, so it doesn't require too many steps -you have to think obviously there's elements that apply if you really want good candidates, not make them work so hard just to say, "Hey, I might be interested in interviewing for this job."
Oh, absolutely. I mean, I have a great example of this at my old company. You used to have to fill out the online application. Then you would go through an interview process. Then when you got hired, you would have to refill out the same application in by hand in the HR office. So. Ridiculous. Why wouldn't you just print it off and put it in my file?
It's just, it's just so silly. And then, I mean, me as a millennial and, you know, gen Z is getting more and more into the workforce in those like entry to mid-tier level roles. We are not putting up with that. Like, I don't wanna sound too excited about this, but we are digital natives. We expect you to have a very smooth digital process, especially when it comes to something as basic as an application where it's very rote, the information isn't gonna change.
Now you did mention the samples, and I'd like to touch on that. I do think if you're applying for a creative position, you should be ready with a portfolio of things you've done in the past. But if like us at Gorilla, if we're really excited about someone, but we're not quite sure about their experience, or how much they understand their own marketing philosophy, we will have them complete a project for pay.
We have them record their time, and we pay them regardless of if we hire them or not.
There you go.
So that's gonna be huge. I've heard this from other agencies also, where if they require a project, they will pay you for your time. So, if they're requiring a project and not paying you - giant red flag. I also heard a really bad horror story of someone who...they have a hybrid work schedule now. So they go into the office like two days a week. And this person would've had to relocate to Colorado where their office is, which he was willing to do.
They wanted him to fly out for an in-person interview and pay for his own flight hotel and transportation.
Well, that's kind of a problem.
They would pay for lunch after the interview, which is so nice. I mean, stuff like that, like you do not have to put up with this - like you are a person. This is, you know, respect yourself enough to say, "Yeah, you're pushing it too far. This is a red flag for me. I really don't understand why you need me to do this."
And I think that, especially again, in the industrial manufacturing sphere, we have a lot of old companies. They have entrenched ways of doing things, and I think it is okay for you as a millennial or a gen Z to come back and say, "This hiring process was really difficult."
So whether or not, you know, you get hired or not, I think that's fair to say because honestly, no one might have told them this before. So I know I had, I had said stuff like this at my old company. I was one of the few people under, like around 40. And if I didn't like the way something was going, I would just tell them because no one had told them before.
So, it like at least gets put in some kind of hop or ideas where someone could own it or something. So definitely voice your opinions if you see that a hiring process is broken because most HR departments will listen when you bring up stuff like that.
The other thing that's interesting about that and how that kind of ties into, you know, whether people are aware of whether they're doing something wrong. This kind of also parallels things that are going on in the world that even marketing departments that have older employees that you know, who are, um, still very traditional in things, may not be aware of things like social listening, and that even applies on the job front.
Cause you have, you have sites out there like Glassdoor where people can go online and talk about you and your hiring practices and what their interview experience was like. And I think a lot of people now when they job search go there and look at those things. They look at what people say about their culture.
They look at what people say about the pay, assuming that's there. And, there's even a section there about their interview experience. And that includes, you know, "Hey, I did all this work for them, and then they ghosted me. I had no idea, you know, what, what was going on."
And when you talk about that story of the guy that was gonna have to pay his own way out there just to have an interview - I think that helps us kind of take a final step here and talk about what companies can do aside from maybe offering opportunities for feedback and changing - to approach things differently, What do they need to do where they're not putting up these red flags, whether consciously or unconsciously that might run somebody off?
I heard someone say a few years ago back when I found that, especially online, that, things, when it came to what companies need to say when promoting positions were evolving, and this is before the great resignation and all the focus on things like mental health and stuff today...don't spend so much time on your posting talking about how great your company is versus really kind of explaining to them what is great about working there and inspiring them to want to apply for the job. Very much like marketing today, focusing on the other person in the equation and writing things that would make them want to apply for the job - not necessarily because they just need one, but because they're genuinely interested in your company.
Yeah. I think that's awesome feedback. I mean, we run into this all the time with older industrial companies on the homepage. They always wanna put, "We've been in business for over 70 years. We have decades of experience." No one cares.
Yet that doesn't mean they won't care because often top three pages on these industrial manufacturing companies are your homepage, maybe your main product page, and then you're about us page.
So they do care. Just not yet. Yeah. So don't hit, 'em always to your point with how great we are, how amazing it is to work for this company, until you've already hooked them. So, the job description is your opportunity to hook. The interview process is your idea is your opportunity to sell them. So hook them first with a job description.
If it's something for, I know I don't have a lot of experience in engineering, operations, sales, my experience in marketing, what a marketer is going to want, especially if you're looking for a mid-tier manager or leadership level, they're going to want someone who's open to marketing strategy. So if you don't have a go to market framework now, which most industrial manufacturing companies don't, say you want someone to help you build a scalable go to market strategy.
I think a job description can be as simple as that. And I think so many marketers today would be so excited to see a description that says that. And if your salary is truly negotiable based on experience, at least put the maximum or the minimum you're willing to pay. Now, I wouldn't do both because someone sent me a few job descriptions where they had this gigantic range, like of a hundred thousand dollars range.
So, it's something like you could be paid between 55 and 155, depending on experience. That's a little silly. Give me your maximum first that you're willing to pay or at least your minimum. So just gimme an idea of where I can understand I'm gonna follow in that line. Now as far as tactical advice, I feel like that was a really good one.
If you wanna get even more tactical or you feel like you need to put more than one sentence for a job description, don't put more than five bullet points under either the responsibilities or the experience. And please don't make those bullet points. Don't like, say you did it and then put a paragraph for each bullet point.
Each bullet point should be one sentence. So five bullet points, one sentence each under both the requirements experience, you know, whatever job description you wanna do.
And then, I don't know. I think we covered it with making sure you're not talking too much about the company. Making sure you're open to marketing strategy.
And please, please, please be clear about the salary range. I don't know if you saw, but New York just passed a law that you can't post any job posting without a salary range, and I love that. And if you think we're the only people that love that, you're definitely wrong.
So, I would highly, highly recommend you start posting your salary ranges because it just shows that you're a clear, open and honest communicator.
Yeah. And, you know, I think about some of the things that marketers are having to do, you know, like on social media, trying to get away from that typical almost cut and paste default kind of corporate language on social media and try to write something that sounds human and something that inspires and something that makes somebody wanna take action - I feel like that, you know, you can have a job description that looks like all the other job descriptions. But if you take advantage of an opportunity to where, as opposed to saying you come here, this is what we're gonna expect you to do this, this, this, this, and this. But you write instead in a way of, you know, "We have this great culture where people come in and make a difference, and here's what we want to empower you to do." And then highlight things that, you know, based on your research of people, looking for this type of job that, these are their key words. These are their passion phrases.
This is exactly what they want to do when they go work somewhere. And really, I think if you do that, you're probably going to have maybe a top three, top five things that, you know, these people love to do n their job. And that's gonna help you not have to write those 15 bullet points or long paragraph bullet points in your job description - at least as it relates to the responsibility section.
Responsibility. Yep. Totally agree.
On the interview side, I wonder about this too, cause this is part of the process that, you know, can also be approached from a default standpoint and also in the communication of the interview process. I was talking about how Glassdoor people will talk about their interview experience. You know, I've had situations where it's like doing, you know, a cut and paste interview on a podcast where they've got their questions. There's no active listening. You know, it's just question, answer, question, answer, question, answer. And sometimes obviously, not only is that challenging because there's so much you're probably not gonna find out because some of those questions may not only have answers or not only might be just limited from a question standpoint, but also they might have answers they've read somewhere that you need to hear.
And I've noticed candidates have gone on LinkedIn and said...I had one guy who said he went and applied somewhere and really wanted the opportunity to go somewhere and make a difference in this space. And he went one place, and because he didn't have two years, three years experience in doing it and he was honest about it - he said, "No, I don't have it, but I've got, you know, the educational background and know how, and I'm ready to go to work." They didn't hire him because of that answer of, well, "No, I don't have that experience."
Whereas the other company looked at him and said, "You know," and this is where the active listening communication comes in, they said, "He doesn't have the experience, but he wants the job. And he was honest about the fact that he didn't have the experience," and as opposed to focusing on the words, it was the idea that - hey, if he's the kind of person that would be honest about his experience in this situation, we might be getting a sense here as to how good of an employee we may have. And then he posted an update a while back, and he was like one of their top sales people.
And I think that there's elements of what we're talking about here. When it comes to default in kind of the old way of doing things, when really taking unique approach to listen and create conversations, even in the interview process, can give you hints aside from all the things that the cut and paste algorithms of question and answers can give you when it comes to job interview.
Yeah, I love that story so much, Scott, and I think that's so true. I used to sit on a hiring committee just for like admin roles. So nothing major, cuz we had a pretty small team in my larger corporation, and you're absolutely right. Like I think candidates go into an interview sometimes thinking the power dynamic is all on the company, but really it's all on you.
So. now you might desperately need this job. Right. But try and like, I know the short term anxiety is there. I've been there. But try and think long term, if you can, because if you do get a job at this company, this could be the next 2, 3, 5, 10 years of your life. So make sure that even though the short term needs are immediate, that you're also interviewing for future you. That's definitely the advice I would give to someone in the interview section. If you can try and, you know, be confident. And attempt to shift that power dynamic. I would also highly encourage an interviewee to come with questions for the company. I don't think that happens as often as we think it does.
And that is so crucial in making sure you are working for a company you want to work for in 3, 5, 10 years, but also making sure the company, again, like we've been talking about, knows what it really wants, needs and expects from this role.
And you know, that's an interesting point because I've always had questions prepared in those times where I was doing job interviews and I think it almost compliments...and I think this is probably why you put the two together...by asking questions, especially questions about expectations and what these people love about what they're doing and what challenges they have... that you might be able to help solve things like that. If anything, it's almost like a mild indicator that perhaps you are there talking to them because of genuine interest in the job and not just because holy crap, I gotta get hired somewhere. Because you're not just gonna say yes to everything and be, you know, try to give all the perfect answers and call it a day. You're there to really gain a really good understanding about the job, the culture and what you're going to be doing.
And that's a signal that you care a little more than maybe the average person that is just gonna go in there, answer questions and call it a day.
Well, Mary, I think we covered a lot of really good ground - important ground - both from a company side and people side when it comes to the signals, the messaging, and not only what people can interpret things, but also ways that we can improve it on both sides.
And I want to thank you for showing up today with everything you have going on to provide those insights. I wanna encourage people to check out that and more of the great things that Mary is posting on LinkedIn. I'm gonna have a link to that on our show notes, as well as a link to Gorilla 76.
Is there anything else you'd like people to know about or any other places online you'd like people to find you out there?
Yeah, so anybody who's in the industrial marketing space, we do a twice a month live event called Industrial Marketing Live - it's open forum, no pressure, no sales calls. We call it almost like marketing therapy.
We'll cover a relevant marketing topic in industrial marketing - something like paid social, Google ads, webinars, et cetera. And then we'll just go deep. So we'll share our frameworks for how we approach it and then hear from our audience on how they approach it at their own companies. So really, really fun event. Probably one of my favorite parts of my job. You can register firstname.lastname@example.org.
Awesome. We'll put a link to that on those show notes as well, and Mary, thank you so much for your time and for your continued insights on LinkedIn and for being here to share those with us today on Get the Message.
Heck yeah. Thank you for having me, Scott. This was really fun. It was. Thank you.
So when you consider the problems caused by not knowing your consumers...cutting and pasting messages...putting more emphasis on you instead of the audience....and the barriers of interpretation...it's easy to see the parallels with some of today's marketing challenges, including social listening.
Not only can a consumer go out and find out what people are saying about your products, services or customer service, online applicants can go to places like Glassdoor and find out what people are saying about your interview process, salary, and company culture.
Then there's transparency. Transparency has never been more important in marketing. And you might ask - Why would companies be resistant to transparency? Because of old school thinking that made them once believe it was a disadvantage - like sharing your pricing on your website.
People thought can't do that. That'll scare 'em off. Really? How many times have you been searching for pricing and struggle to find it because people are afraid to share it? And then you finally find somebody who shares it, and that gives them a slight leg up on your search. People think if you're not sharing your pricing, you're hiding it for a reason.
And that looks bad.
Same thing in the job market. Are you hiding your salary range because you think it'll scare people off? Mary said that looks bad because it looks like you're hiding something. If you're a company, you wanna get ahold of this and be aware of the challenges your hiring communications can create, especially in a day and age where people will just quit or at a time where things like empathy, work, life balance, mental health, and getting paid what you're worth are growing themes in the job searching world.
A good place to start might be conducting an analysis on how your current employees view your culture and then match that against whether or not your external communications match that.
Mary is a Senior Marketing Strategist for Gorilla76 and the co-host of Industrial Marketing Live.