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    Could sugarcoated job descriptions be impacting your recruitment efforts?

    In this podcast episode, Max and James Ellis of Employer Brand Labs debate the impact of application volumes on recruitment efforts. Listen as they tackle how factors like job descriptions a...
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    Max Armbruster
    Max Armbruster
    CEO Talkpush

    Could sugarcoated job descriptions be impacting your recruitment efforts?

    Episode 83 full cover

    In this podcast episode, Max and James Ellis of Employer Brand Labs debate the impact of application volumes on recruitment efforts. Listen as they tackle how factors like job descriptions and much more can make or mar the volume and quality of candidates that apply for your vacancies.

     

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    Don't feel like listening? You can read the entire transcript right here. 👇

     

     

    Max: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the Recruitment Hackers Podcast. I'm your host, Max Armbruster. And today on the show, James Ellis from Employer Brand Labs.

     

    Ellis: He got it. He got it.

     

    Max: Yes. James is an expert in helping employer brands stand out from the crowd. And today we decided we'd have a conversation for you, our audience on this topic on employer branding and specifically how you can gently indicate to some people that this is not the right place for them. And how many employers sometimes fall into this trap of trying to welcome everybody? And so they end up standing out for nobody and James, thanks for joining. And how did you end up in this very specific field of employer branding? Did you come in through marketing or from recruiting?

     

    Ellis: I did Max. And first off, thanks for letting me join this. I'm looking forward to this conversation. But yes, most people in Employer Brand come from two routes. They come from either the recruiting side where they realize that they have a different kind of point of view from most recruiters, some successful recruiters. And that means they don't really succeed as greatly as recruiters and they find that there's a space called Employer Brand where their skills do make sense. The rest of us come from marketing where we realize that marketing has been done and it's a machine.

     

    You go to school; you learn your four or five Ps. You apply them every day. It's all the fun stuff in the tactics or in the insight and that's great. And try not going to downplay marketers because I think they're amazing and they do amazing work, but this is the tiniest slice of marketing in which marketing isn't about more. It's the only kind of marketing and branding in which more is actually worse, right? If you're selling an ice cream cone and you sell a million ice cream cones, your employer of the month, they're going to put your name on a face, on a poster. It's going to be great.

    You're a recruiter and you get a thousand applicants. You should think about another line of work. You have made a poor choice; you've done something wrong. And so that to me is the fine crux of what employer brand is and why it's interesting and fascinating and still has so much to uncover, to really understand what it's all about. Right now, even like seasoned, respected Employer Brand professionals argue all the time over just basic ideas because we still haven't figured it all out. And that's what makes me so excited about the field. Even though it's only a couple of thousands of us. 

     

    Max: Well I guess jumping on the question, the number that you just mentioned that employer branding would be, you have to right-size it and if you have a thousand applicants per position, you've wasted some resources.

     

    Ellis: Yeah.

     

    Max: Perhaps, I could challenge that a little bit by saying that well, if you haven't paid too much for the thousand candidates, then that's all right.

     

    Ellis: Well here's the deal. The problem is often that there is a gap between hiring managers and recruiters. The hiring manager says I need a, whatever it is. It's a nurse, it's an electrician, it's a data scientist. It's a litter of people, whatever that thing is and they think that's enough information as if all nurses and data scientists and electricians are the same and they are absolutely not. Anybody who's met three nurses goes, oh wow, they are all different. And they have very different skill sets, but they also have very different approaches to how they do that work.

     

    The hiring manager doesn't want to get into that. So they just throw the requisition over to the recruiter who says, okay, so who are you looking for? They want someone great. And then they walk away to do their day job because they're busy, right? They've got stuff to do. And the recruiter says, I don't know what the hiring manager wants. So I'm going to write a job ad, add a job description, and a job posting and those things are all slightly different. And we don't have to get into that today, but they write it to be so generic and that opens the door so wide. Is that anybody who can pretty much spell their last name is encouraged to apply? It just gets crazy.

    You've opened the doors and the metaphor of course is always, you're trying to find a needle in a haystack. And you're trying to say, well look, if I get a thousand or a hundred people to apply, I'll find that needle. But now we're in a world where we need more needles and the answer to creating more needles isn't to make bigger haystacks. It's not how needles work. That's not how needles are created. That's not how needles are found. The goal of good recruiting is when you have enough information, and that means about what the team's all about, what the company rewards, what they want to be motivated for and rewarded by, and what the tasks are, what the future of that job might be. 

     

    The ultimate situation, the platonic ideal of recruiting is you really only get two candidates to apply. The person you hire, who is amazing, and the person you don't hire who is almost equally as amazing and you put them in your back pocket because you know, one day you're going to want them. And you only have that second person. So the hiring manager feels like they made a choice, right? That's all it is. Everything after that is time the recruiter now has to spend burning up, filtering through resumes and filtering through CVs saying, nope, nope, nope, nope. Or worse yet, it's time the interview loop has to spend on the sixth candidate to say, yeah, no, not quite because they haven't communicated what they're actually looking for.

     

    Max: Yeah, well, James, I mean, there are tools available to--

     

    Ellis: There are.

     

    Max: -- do a lot of selection, but I guess you're right in the sense that the hiring manager ideally would in a dream situation, would just have two or three to choose from. 

     

    Ellis: Yeah. 

     

    Max: I think it's also the recruiter's job to expand a little bit and we're in contradictions here. You're saying, narrow it down, get it down to this one. Now, two perfect profiles, but I would say, maybe the recruiter can expand a little bit on the definition and say--

     

    Ellis: Yeah.

     

     Max: -- well, you're looking for a nurse, to take your healthcare example with all the professional credentials, certification, that lives 20 minutes away from the hospital, et cetera, et cetera. This perfect candidate when probably doesn't exist.

     

    Ellis: Probably not.

     

    Max: And so then oftentimes they have to stretch and therefore, I guess play the numbers game. Now let's go a little bit broader.

     

     Ellis: Yeah. And I think my position is very extreme simply because I think the pendulum swung too far on we've made it so easy for anybody to apply. Like I could use my elbow and just hit an apply button and click, connect to LinkedIn. Yes, I accept. Okay, I've applied for this job. You don't want to hire me. I don't do that job, but you've made it so easy that I might as well. And so I want to swing the pendulum back to say, look, it's not about making things easy. It's really about how do you speak to this job. How do you speak to this opportunity in such a way that the person who isn't just going to be okay at this or even good at this, but the person who is that magical unicorn, we all know purple squirrels will have you? Doesn't just say yes, I'll apply, but says, wow.

    That sounds like the exact job I was looking to do next. That's where I need to take my career. And it's because we've put enough information in the job, the brand, the company that we're not hiding behind platitudes and cookie cutter and fortune cookie kind of BS junk and the verbiage on most career websites which is garbage because it says the same thing. You might as well copy and paste from every other career site. And that means the candidate can't choose. And I think there's this interesting kind of spin where if you look at modern hiring, it's a Kabuki theater.

     

    The candidate has decided I'm going to put all my info and quotes, all my information in two or three pages. But it's never the negative stuff. It's never, I got fired. It's never, I got accused of something. Yeah, I showed up late 14 times in a row when they were forced to ask me to leave. It's never anything like that. If I look at your resume or my resume or your CV or your CV, it sounds like you’re mother Teresa, you're amazing. You've never done anything wrong. It's perfect. It's polished. And on the other side, you have this job posting or job ad, which says nothing. It says, yes, must be an excellent written or a communicator.

     

    So I got to write novels or do I got to write haiku? What are you saying? You're just saying garbage because you think you have to, so you don't push anybody away, God forbid. And consequently, there's this huge gap. Both sides are lying in different ways, trying to suss the other out and come to find a match. What I think of as employer branding is a function of every hire should be a perfect match between the company, which is what's their culture? What do they have to offer? What do they reward? The role?  So the team, the manager, the mission of that job, the job itself, and the person. And if those three things match, you have an amazing opportunity not just to hire, but to hire someone who's incredibly successful long term. If one of those things is an out of line, it's not going to be a great hire.

     

    Max: I think anybody would agree with your wish and is like the purple squirrel perfect match, but the way to get there, the risk of sounding a bit cynical is—

     

    Ellis: No, no, go.

     

    Max: -- to play the game--

     

    Ellis: Yeah.

     

    Max: -- the rules of the game that we're all in. 

     

    Ellis: Yeah.

     

    Max: And if indeed, we live in a world where 70% of candidates are going to come from Indeed and everybody has the quick apply button with the elbow.

     

    Ellis: Yep.

     

    Max: Well, are you going to just gonna count yourself out and just move out of Indeed and then just do hyper-targeted marketing using social media or will you perhaps do a second layer of selection post apply so that, the application and the job description and the ad is as inclusive as possible, kind of like cast a wide net and then do all the selection automatically afterward?

     

    Ellis: Yeah, that's a setup and I love that setup. It's fantastic because no one's going to out cynical me. You can try it, but I am the most bitter black-hearted human being you've ever met. It's the coffee. It's amazing. I think there's something there's an option. I'm not saying throw away job boards. 

     

    In my last job I got as a cold applicant, I got the absolute wrong way. I'm a pretty experienced and skilled professional. I should be in that hey, he's in my network. Let's talk to him. I am that candidate, but my last job was a cold LinkedIn job post and that I went “sure apply” it was a great role, but that's the rarity. Yes, you should use job boards. Yes, you should use social media.

     

    Yes, you should have all the tools at your disposal. But instead of saying, hey, we're hiring an MBA graduate, come join our wonderful company. We're a great place to work. We have great rewards and we'll have lots of opportunities, which by the way, is a pretty standard, slim-down job posting, right? What if instead, you say, what we're really looking for is an MBA grad who maybe was at the top or near the top of their class, but more importantly, they were the shark who stabbed everyone in the back to get what they needed to get? We want the person who is so cutthroat, they would sell their grandmother down the river for 14 cents. That is the MBA grad we want. And in return, we will offer you this track towards growth. Yes, it's rewards. Yes, it's benefits. But what we're really looking at is we're looking forward to growing a team of sharks and cutthroat and ninjas and assassins who are going to do this, this, this, this.



     

    Max: This is to work on the death star, right?

     

    Ellis: Yeah, exactly, exactly. Or write it the other way. Hey, we're looking for an MBA grad, but we're not looking for necessarily the person who stabbed me in the back. We're looking for the person who others looked up to, who was a leader without any authority or any power. It doesn't matter where you graduated from the class. It doesn't matter if you nailed that accounting class or not. It's really about, are you someone people look to when there's a challenge? Now, have you ever seen either of those like paragraphs in a job posting? No. Why? But they are writing--

     

    Max: No. I mean, sometimes you see some great efforts. 

     

    Ellis: You see, you do. But when you are that specific about an MBA grad, you can apply that to any role.

     

    Max: Yeah.

     

    Ellis: Suddenly, you're not going to get a thousand people to apply because effectively what happens is by being honest about the role, you force the candidate to be honest about what they want. 

     

    So if you say, are you a cutthroat? By applying you're saying I'm a cutthroat bastard. Well, that's great, you know yourself and that's fantastic. And now what do you think the interview process is like? Who is more cutthroat bastardly than I? I mean, what do you do there? What's the process? I don't know. Or you go the other way, you say, look, this isn't about the head of the class. This wasn't about the valedictorian; this wasn't the do anything to win person.

     

    This is the person with that really interesting leadership quality. We don't find them everywhere. That person has to say, this sounds like me and because I'm not that cutthroat and I'm not that diligent and I'm not this, I have this particular flavor of myself and they say, I want that. You're going to get less applicants. And the pendulum starts to swing the other way. Sure, post it on Indeed and LinkedIn and every other job board under the sun, it's not about channels. It's about the message you put on that channel so that you're no longer focused on it because we all know those metrics.

     

    I posted on Indeed, I got X number of applicants. I got posted on LinkedIn, I got Y number of applicants, which is better. No, where'd the hire come from? That's the most important thing. And let's be fair our metrics don't always make it that easy to find and figure out and have confidence in. But, the more you change your message to be specific and attractive and real and different, the more the person who is, I want that job, who falls in love with that job. And that's a phrase we don't use enough.



    You want someone who desires that job, not someone who deigns to apply, not someone who is willing to go through the interview process. Someone who goes that sounds perfect. It serves my needs. It sounds like me. It sounds like what I want. Let's have a conversation. That's where you want to bring the recruiting conversation, not to bend in people's arms and twist people's arms and hustling them and selling them. That's not where recruiters want to be, is it?

     

    Max: We started out talking about the volume and the numbers that recruiters naturally gravitate to in an understandable feeling towards safety.

     

    Ellis: Yeah.

     

    Max: Safety in the numbers.

     

    Ellis: Yeah.

     

    Max: And so your approach, which would significantly reduce the size of candidates?

     

    Ellis: Yes.

     

    Max: Could we think of ways to balance that out with ways that we could increase the size?

     

    Ellis: Absolutely. 

     

    Max: That you don't end up with a goose egg or with just one candidate?

     

    Ellis: Yeah. Like I said, I'm only kind of taking this very polarizing opposite to swing the pendulum back towards the middle, to a better middle. And then that's a place where, the recruiter gets to be the expert in the marketplace of talent, which is where recruiters should want to be. It's where they have their most value. It's what they do their best work. The hiring manager gets to actually say, look it's a nurse, but we want this kind of nurse and someone who sounds like this and feels like this--

     

    Max: Cutthroat killer nurse. 

     

    Ellis: Yeah. That's got to be a thing somewhere. Look, here's the deal. There's only two of those jobs, but those two nurses are like, yes, that's what I want. And that's where you want to be. You don't want to be a choice among many. You want to be the choice for the few.

    Max: I think that would be very effective in social media if it was shared because like then, let's say you're that MBA student and as soon as you see the ad, you know who this makes you think about.

     

    Ellis: Yes.

     

    Max: This is perfect.

     

    Ellis: Oh, that's Bob. Yeah, Steve and Bob.

     

    Max: And actually Steve will love it.

     

    Ellis: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, and that's the game of marketing. Is that there's so much about, we say the same things over and over again? We have to remember. Literally, depending on the time of day we roll this, there could be 8 billion people on this planet and that's a number that is so big. It's hard to get our heads around. There's 50 million businesses in this world. So you're talking about a game where you're trying to figure out how you sort these people and where do you put them? And we've made the game about putting all the power in the hands of the hiring manager and letting them pick.

    And I don't want to be picked, I don't want someone to say, wow, what he has, or if I'm talking to somebody, else's what she has. It's not about that. What she has is exactly what we want and we want to find a match. It's not a game of, I'm going to accuse you of lying on your resume, or I'm going to accuse you, or let's negotiate and squeeze each other to death and then decide at the end of it we're all best friends. It's about saying it doesn't have to be confrontational in that way. It can be, I'm going to open up and be more transparent about what this job is about. Here's another way, let me put this different spin on. It's a rare, rare, rare day that you see a job posting with a section that functionally says, here's why you won't love this job. Everything about this job is great. 

     

    There's puppy dogs, and daisies. It's lots of great, it's free food, it's all these wonderful things, but there needs to be a part that says, and by the way, this job has a lot of paperwork. No, it's not to say, the funny thing is that if I were to talk about a friend or a car, or I was trying to sell you something, I said, here are the 10 things that are all positive about this friend or this car and I list them. They're great. They're funny. They're wonderful. They're always there for you. Like after I get like number seven, you start wondering what's the catch. What's with this guy? What's wrong with them? And if I never list a negative, I've put the seed of the negative in your head and now your brain says, oh, they're probably racist.

     

    Max: You have to go--

     

     

    Ellis: Oh, they're probably horrible, right? There's something. No, it's not even that you look, it's that your brain does all the work and projects stuff. But if I say here's my friend, funny, wonderful, but by the way, chews with her mouth open. Okay, suddenly that negative proves, makes all the positive things more believable.

     

    Max: I know I don't want to have lunch with her and that's fine. And--

     

    Ellis: There you go.

     

    Max: -- just eat meals. No problem.

     

    Ellis: There you go. 

     

    Max: Yeah. I think if you say the reasons why people will not join you, you control the narrative. And if you don't say it--

     

    Ellis: Yes

     

    Max: -- people are going to either subconsciously create those stories like you said--

     

    Ellis: A hundred percent.

     

    Max: -- they have to fill those gaps or they'll go look on a glassdoor. And then they'll get it straight from the angriest of the angry crowd. 

     

    Ellis: But the nice thing about that, if you control the narrative hearing from the angriest of the angry crowd, doesn't dissuade, it proves. So if I say, let's go work at Goldman Sachs, you're going to get paid really well. You have a huge opportunity, it's a great logo on your resume. There's a status call. There's a productivity call. There's an opportunity call. By the way, you're going to work a hundred hours a week. And you go on Glassdoor and they say, you won't believe this place.

     

    They make you work a hundred hours a week. It's slave labor. It’s insane. Yeah, it's nuts. And you go, well, if that negative is proved by Glassdoor, I guess all the positives must be true too. It's an amazing kind of process where suddenly the negative proves positive. And now, when I choose to apply to Goldman Sachs, I don't go in with my eyes closed about how hard the work is. I know exactly what I'm getting into, but I also know the trade. I know the value proposition. I'm going to give you my twenties and thirties, and you're going to make me a millionaire.

     

    Max: And at Goldman Sachs, everybody knows about it, but--

     

    Ellis: Exactly.

     

    Max: If you're a company with a hundred to 10,000 employees, most people have never heard about you. You have to get out there and let them know. So--

     

    Ellis: And you have to control that narrative. Like you said.

     

    Max: You think that when you're dealing with experienced professionals, people have a little bit more self-knowledge and they know what they want, but then if you go a little bit younger--

     

    Ellis: Yeah.

     

    Max: -- then you have to be more cautious because they may, I don't know. 

     

    Ellis: Yeah

     

    Max: They may be more sensitive.

     

    Ellis: I think, and that's a nice way to dance around that and I don't disagree with any of that. So I've got two things I could say. First off, I spent a little time at Universum and they do amazing research in the US because it's where I am. I know it's not where you are. In the US, most of their research is around graduating student cohort, right?

     

    Max: Universum does a lot of research in Asia as well.

     

    Ellis: Oh, they do it everywhere. It's fantastic work. But I just know that when you look at just the junior-level talent, they all say the same thing. I want to work at Google, SpaceX, and Tesla. Why? Because Elon Musk is on Twitter, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And there's a cohort of people who say he's the best, even though, no thanks. They talk him up and if you have no frame of reference, you think, oh, that must be a great place to work. However, I did some research when I was with TMP now Radancy where we looked at the impact of content on job postings. Now, this was about six years ago, but I think the idea still holds. And that is if you're showing content if you're able to say, here’s 10 senior jobs and here's 10 junior jobs, and you look at the people who apply and who looked at those jobs and they did, they look at content.

     

    Even in a senior role, if they looked at content, they were far more likely to apply because they understood what the job was. They said, ah, yes, I understand what these companies are about. I understand what they reward. I want to be a part of them. Interestingly, if you push content to junior audiences, instead of saying, well, I'm just fresh out of school. I don't know what I want. I'm just going to hit apply as many times as I can, right? We've all been there. I've been there. I know for sure. And I know my sister who's 25. I know she's going through that too. But if you start to see stories and content about this, this is what the job is like, it suddenly becomes less abstract. You suddenly go, oh, the jobs like that. I don't want to do that and they walk away. So content--

     

    Max: I think it also equips you for the interview. It makes you a little bit more prepared. Like--

     

    Ellis: Yes, absolutely. 

     

    Max: Like the counterpoint to your recommendation if we want to be very direct and incisive in our messaging is that no, no, no. What I want to do is make people feel at ease, tell them that everybody here is super nice--

     

    Ellis: Yeah.

     

    Max: -- rainbows and puppies--

     

    Ellis: Yeah.

     

    Max: -- so that they can relax. And when they're relaxed, then I'll grill them and then I'll slam them and then I'll screen them. But actually, if you do deliver sharp content at the front, I guess, a person comes into the interview, they can be prepared. They know what's coming a little bit.

     

    Ellis: Yeah. And I think it's an interesting kind of, I personally believe that the candid experience and the work experience should be mirrored. They should be very much similar. You shouldn’t have, no one goes to apply for the army by taking a written test. What you do is you go out, you run for four miles with 60-pound packing because that's the actual job, is to run and try not to get shot at and jump over things and right. That's the job. That's the interview, but it's also the job.

     

    Max: That sounds like a pretty cool job description. I've never wanted to join the army until this very moment.

     

    Ellis: Yeah, there you go. There you go. I mean that they literally do that. If you're trying to join the Rangers, they call it hell week. They run with packs and they shoot over your head and they go, if you can't handle this, this is not the job for you. So--

     

    Max: [Inaudible] gun.

     

    Ellis: Yeah. let's hope so. But at the same time, if you're applying for an accounting job and it's a grueling kind of job, but you make the candidate experience happy fuzzy bunny, they're going to say, great. I love this job. And they're going to walk in and say, whoa, this isn't the job I thought I was getting into. And they're gone three weeks later because they're valuable. So there needs to be some mirror. So to me, Employer Brand isn't the thing that attracts them. Employer Brand is a strategy all through the entire candidate journey. Frankly, all the way from the top to the bottom to say, this is why people work here. 

     

    This is what we reward, proving it through the candidate's journey, supporting it in the job and when knowing that, by telling them all those things, when they tell their friends or people at a bar, what it's like to work there, they're telling similar stories to bring them back to the top of the funnel. Employer Brand is not just attraction, it's the whole thing. Now I might focus on attraction because that's what gets me the most bang for my buck early on. But I know, here's a good example. If I say, hey, I'm going to put this message out. We want just cutthroats I'm going back to this because it's funny. We just want these cutthroat nurses, these two cutthroat nurses and we're not drunk. Ladies and gentlemen, listening to this, we are very, very stone sober I promise you.



    So you get these cutthroat nurses and the cutthroat nurse goes, oh, that sounds like a cool job and they apply. You don't ignore the cutthroatness of the job. And in fact, when you get-- you touch on it, the recruiter should be touching on it through the journey. And then when they get to the offer stage, the offer stage should literally start with, you applied because you saw this cutthroat job and it sounded like something you wanted to do. All you have to do is touch on it. All you have to do is just tap it to remind them. 

     

    This is what got you excited in the first place. Just doing stuff like that increases your offer acceptance rate. Because you're reminding them why, you're not saying, hey, let's switch the conversation is nothing but salary and benefits and negotiation, which is sadly where most offer conversations go. If you say, look, here's an offer, it's fair. But I want to remind you what you get is the subjective value you wanted. You said you want at the beginning, reminding them, squeeze and re-anchor it at the offer level, they're more likely to say yes. So Employer Brand impacts even things like offer acceptance. 

     

    Max: Yeah that's a solid takeaway here. Remind them at the offer stage why this offer is unique?

     

    Ellis: Yeah.

     

    Max: Also I love the tip about telling them a list of reasons why you will not like this job. One of my favorite interview questions is you’re not working here six months from now. Well, tell me what happened.

     

    Ellis: Yeah. Oh, wow, that's a good one.

     

    Max: I got, that one from a friend at Google and the answer usually help you yeah understand what candidates considered to be the main risk factors, which is a little bit more self-centered rather than company centered usually. But still very insightful.

     

    Ellis: Yeah.

     

    Max: Great. Well, James' final question. And because we're up on time.

     

    Ellis: You make it sound like there's a trap door, right under me. Like the final question, sir. Are you ready for this?

     

    Max: Well this one is a bit tricky. It's walking back to a dark place, which is a mistake that you have made in recruitment because anyone who's done recruitment has made a recruitment mistake at some point. 

     

    Ellis: Yes. 



    Max: And if you could illustrate that. Think back to someone that you hired and you made a mistake and then what can the audience learn from that?

     

    Ellis: Way back when I was a hiring manager, I had a team of -- well, Max there were 19 people helping us build social media and content for clients and whatnot. And so we were hiring our a regular basis. We were hiring very junior people and we didn't-- it wasn't the top-of-the-scale pay. So we were hiring people who were 21, 22, 23, fresh out of school, maybe one job before that. And my mistake I made and it's a rookie mistake, but I think everybody has to learn the hard way, is to just listen to me. And so I found someone, I thought they were great. I kind of said, yep. I think we should hire them. Did it. Hired them. And three months later, they hated their job.

     

    You know, making people around them miserable and they eventually left. Thank goodness. And the little lesson I learned was that look, I have to have other people's weigh in and kind of balance me out. Like I get into folks, like many people. I kind of get fixated and say, oh, this is the right person. And then the blinders come up and I say, this is what I want. I needed to kind of build my own little, you might call it an interview loop, but I really thought of it more as a board, a personal board to say, look, you know me and you know what I'm looking for because you do the job.

     

    But I also know, you know my blind spots. So check my blind spots and I've had almost screaming fights with people who said, James, you don't understand, do not hire this person. And I'm like, I love them. I think they're amazing. And then I had to listen to them and I did. I think I was all the better for it, but that's the lesson I learned is that you do need to kind of understand your own blind spots and you have to build systems that balance against them otherwise you're just going to keep making the same mistakes over and over.

     

    Max: That's very hard to do because if you don't hire someone, then you don't really know, let's say you fall in love with a candidate.

     

    Ellis: Yeah.

     

    Max: And then somebody tells you not to, and then you don't hire them. You follow their advice, but you never know what could have been, you could live in regret.

     

    Ellis: The FOMO. 

     

    Max: Yeah, the FOMO is strong and real.

     

    Ellis: It's real. It's real. 

     

    Max: Yeah. It's a real problem.

     

    Ellis: Yeah. 

     

    Max: Well, I don't think we'll solve that one today, but--

     

    Ellis: No, no.

     

    Max: For everything else t thanks a lot, James. Where can people get a hold of you and read your content perhaps?

     

    Ellis: Sure. I do a free newsletter. It's called Employer Brand headlines. If you go to employerbrandheadlines.substack.com, or if you go to employerbrandlab.com, it's right there. It's free and I think right now it's the biggest newsletter in employer branding. I don't know. I don't have metrics for that stuff, but let's say it is. Let's pretend it is. Why not? What the heck, it's a podcast. Just say anything.

     

    Max: This is branding. If you say it is. And so--

     

    Ellis: Yeah, exactly. If Joe Rogan can say whatever he wants to say on his podcast, why can't we say whatever you want? What's up with that? Anyway, employerbrandlab.com.

     

    Max: To subscribe, spell it out again for the substack.

     

    Ellis: Sure. It's employer brandheadlines.substack.com. It's free. It's really designed to help you get kind of sharp at employer branding and how to think about it. It's not tactics, it's not tricks and hacks. It's really about look, employer branding is a way of looking at the world. Here's a way to kind of help shift your perspective.

     

    Max: Great. Well, I'm going to go online right now and subscribe to it. Thanks a lot, James. Thanks for having you.

     

    Ellis: No, it's been a blast. Thanks for having me on.

     



    Max: And that was James Ellis from Employer Brand Labs. Hope you enjoyed the discussion we had particularly around volume, James arguing for less is more to get the perfect candidate in and I always arguing for more volume and then let the machines do the sorting for you. Both approaches of course are not incompatible. And James and I had a great little discussion afterward discussing how people, employers could expand the front of the funnel and then use their branding too as well, make sure that every candidate is a good culture fit with your company. So I think both are very compatible in fact, and that we live in a world where we can get very targeted candidates, but still insufficient volume. Hope you enjoyed it and that you'll subscribe for more and share with your friends.

     

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