Should the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) be concerned about HR creating “brand terrorists”?

In this global recession, when millions have lost their jobs and are seeking new employment, how many times have you heard the complaint that people apply online for a job with a reputable global company and never hear back? They go to the website, submit their resume and it disappears into the bowels of the corporation with no way to track it or follow up on it. You are at the mercy of the global HR system!

Most job applicants in this situation react the same way as consumers who have become disillusioned and frustrated by poor service or failing products. Understandably, they do not hesitate to tell family and friends about their frustrating experience. Worse, in these days of social networking, they are sharing this experience in online networking groups. This paragraph should be sending shivers down the spine of any CMO reading it!

Most HR functions will argue that they are inundated with applications and have too few resources to respond. Contrast this, however, with the challenges that most CMO’s are facing in this depressed economy. Traditional marketing tools fail to deliver and CMO’s struggle to engage with influential consumers in key social networking groups.

Most social networking and media research indicates that peer recommended brands will be those that succeed in the future. This should be a time when Marketing joins sides with HR to ensure that they are fighting the same battle and not inadvertently creating “brand terrorists” of the future.


Anonymous says:

Spot on Steve. But HR and Marketing Depts need to talk to each other first!

But then, that is all part of corporate leadership, isn’t it?

Jeremy Thorn

Paul Seligman says:

Any professional involed in recruitment should understand that there are marketing implications at every stage, with candidates and with agencies. Todays’s rejected candidate may be tomorrow’s potential customer, so make sure they feel fairly treated and leave with a good impression.

Numerous major companies provide feedback email addresses and either ignore your commente altogether, or send a completely bland and unsatisfactory reply. This is just an extension of that problem.

To be even more generic – good manners are still necessary in the Internet age.

Tim Thexton says:

Back in the days of newspaper job ads, the connection between marketing and HR was well understood. Every job ad was an opportunity to put out the corporate message.

This has not changed with the internet, but asking for unsolicited CV’s/applications with no mechanism to reply to them or deal with them in a satisfying manner for the sender is a failure to consider the implications. If HR is so inundated that they cannot reply, it begs the question if they read the CV’s in the first place. It is doubtful. In most cases, it is highly likely the web page was put there in a time of euphoric hiring, but falls in the category today of badly maintained web content.

If there is no active interest in the applications or CV’s then kill the content. The brand must come above other considerations. It is, after all, the value of the company. Not taking care of its promotion and respecting it is, at worst, sabotage, at best, gross negligence.

It behooves the CMO to keep the brand protected at all times. Brand terrorist always existed, they now have a bigger “ear” than before. Bigger damage happens faster.

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