Of job portals and advertising

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ContentSutra reports of a new job portal in India called Shine, from HT Media. The site is still in beta stage. Given that they are a late entrant they are offering a carrot to attract job seekers. The prize: a daily prize of a months salary, and a bumper prize of a years salary (though for the daily prize, you’re only eligible for the day you register). They are also offering a salary survey to benchmark one’s salary with the industry. Will they join the long list of job portals advertising on TV?

Given the explosion of new categories like retail, TV channels, radio etc., the job market will soon see a cross-pollination of industries. We in advertising are already witnessing flight of media & creative personnel to TV and radio. Account management guys have found a new opportunity in retail & merchandising. In my view, the job market has 3 types of candidates – the eternal job seekers, the fence sitters and the stars. The eternal job seekers will be those who will apply for any job, constantly. The fence sitters are the ones who want to stay within an industry but keep flitting between companies every 2-3 years. They keep their options open and the CV’s public. The stars are the ones who excel in their company and are sought after by rivals. Traditionally, they have been head hunted and personal touch is in play there. The other two are the the darlings of job portals.

As an aside, recruitment advertising in print media has become an industry of its own given. Awards have come in to play for such advertising too. My ex-agency boss Ravi Gupta (bless his soul) had a theory on recruitment advertising. He used to say that we need to treat it like typical brand advertising. The task he said, was to motivate the person who is NOT looking for a change, to consider this job. Trikaya Grey used to be famous for its recruitment ads too – specially for brands like Ceasefire (a domestic fire extinguisher) which relied on getting good quality salesmen to sell the brand door-to-door. When it comes to recruitment ads, 99% of the ads are junk. Likewise for regular ads, you say? The common themes are:

– Dry as bone factual ad: the headline if you can call it that will typically be ‘Sales warriors wanted’ and will proceed to offer a gist of the company’s activities and list down the positions, expectations etc.

– employee testimonial: ‘Hey, this is a great place to work, trust me’. You can interchange the logo with any IT company nowadays

– chest thumping ad: this one is about the great things this company has done. Typically, this comes from a relatively unknown company who says something like ‘We invented the internet, haven’t you heard of us?’. The attempt is to portray the brand as a big, serious player

– This is how it feels to work here: it could be a twist of the ‘chest thumping ad’ and usually talks about diversity, fun at work

– We are talking to you, Mr. Metallurgist: this one is for niche professionals like proof readers (the advertising industry scam awards collection is built on this), Radio Jockeys etc., and they are flagged right upfront in the headline.

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The ads that have worked for me (sit up and take notice of them, that is) are the recent Marico ads. It placed a premium on who people who think out of the box and associated Marico as a company that does so. The website ‘walks the talk with a list of facts that make Marico a company that has uncommon sense. Many moons ago, when I was a rookie in advertising, Trikaya Grey did a ad for a secretary to the MD of Ceasefire. The headline read something like ‘99% of the secretaries will be scared of applying for this job’ and went on to say that the job demands one to be more than a secretary (this was early ’90s) and demanded an executive assistant, almost. Now that’s the kind of stuff that will attract the best. The Army is another segment which is huge on recruitment and poses different kid of challenges. More on that later. For now, polish your CV?

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