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There's no excuse for bad recruiting.

Cartoon Credit: Terry LaBan

There's really no excuse for bad recruiting these days.

If you're a recruiter and you're not sure what I mean by "bad recruiting", allow me to help...

If you use a system that asks a candidate to upload a resume, then asks them to manually type in everything that's in the resume... that's bad recruiting. It's inefficient, and given there are better technology options available, it signals you're an organization that embraces inefficiency.

If you ask for a cover letter, but then don't actually use it to make a hiring decision, that's bad recruiting. (And no, indicating it's "optional" and then eliminating the candidates who choose not to submit one doesn't count as "using it to make a decision.") You're asking a job applicant to spend time on something that doesn't add any value to the process, and that not only signals you're an organization who embraces inefficiency, but also you're one that doesn't respect people's time and effort.

If you send a generic "thanks for applying" email once the application is received without giving the candidate a sense of what happens next, that's bad recruiting. If someone has taken the time to reply to your job posting, you owe them a reasonable timeline as to when you might arrive at a decision. (If you reply to unsuccessful candidates with a generic letter months after they applied to the role, or if you don't send any reply at all, that's not just bad recruiting, it's proof your organization is completely devoid of empathy.)

If an unsuccessful candidate asks for feedback on how they did during the process, and you're too busy or too afraid to provide it, that's also bad recruiting. Yes, we live in a litigious world, and if your hiring practices are discriminatory, the feedback you provide will likely get you in a lot of trouble. But most unsuccessful candidates aren't looking to sue companies... they're looking for a job. And those who genuinely ask for feedback are usually looking to get better so that they can eventually find one. Why not take the time to help them out? They'll be thankful you did, and are (ironically) likely to become brand ambassadors for your company despite the rejection. Not to mention the fact that today's rejected candidates can be tomorrow's employees, customers, or clients. (If you're interested, here's an article I wrote last year on this very topic.)

Finally, if you don't understand that recruiting isn't a one-sided conversation, and that the best talent is evaluating you just as much as you're evaluating them... that's bad recruiting. It doesn't help if you find that perfect candidate only to discover they've realized they don't want to work with you because of how they felt they were treated during the hiring process. Everything you do is a part of your brand, and that absolutely includes how you hire.

On a related note, I applied for a senior-level role for a well-funded start-up last week. They asked me to upload my resume (and didn't ask me to re-type anything in it!), provide my LinkedIn URL, and let them know if I had a website. Total time spent: three minutes. So far, so good.

Then they asked me for something I've never had to provide as a part of a job application before: a video as to why I'd be great for the role, and why I wanted it. There's a good reason I write a newsletter and not produce a vlog, but I dutifully shot a short video using my phone and uploaded it to the site. Moments later, I received an automated note thanking me for my application...

... and less than two hours after that, I received a very nice PFO letter informing me they were going to go in another direction. I can't say that didn't sting, but hey, at least they were quick about it. (Perhaps I should have combed my hair?)

Here's the real test, though: in their "thanks, but no thanks" email, they wrote, "If you would like any specific feedback about your application, please feel free to reach out." I always want feedback, so I replied  to the email asking for as much. It's been a week, and I haven't yet received a response... but we'll see.

I have nothing else to add --  because this "First-Off" segment was much longer than I planned -- except please keep that feedback coming.

- dp

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  • Would you get cosmetic surgery to increase your chances of getting a job? If you're a man over 35 living in Silicon Valley, the answer is increasingly a resounding "YES!" According to this Wall Street Journal piece, "Women have long felt the pressure of looking the part. Now men are feeling it, too." I hadn't ever previously considered getting cosmetic surgery to increase my chances at a role with a tech company, but that was before reading this piece. (And before receiving the PFO letter I mentioned in my "Firstly" segment.) Hmmm...
  • Are you an enlightened recruiter who has finally decided you SHOULD be providing feedback to candidates after all? Good for you! This Harvard Business Review article will teach you how to give feedback that people can actually use. (By the way, you don't have to be a recruiter to glean some great insights from this piece.)
  • We've all seen those "20 under 20", "30 under 30", and "40 under 40" lists, and they're inspiring. But have you ever wondered who celebrates the industry veterans who've earned a few grey hairs but aren't yet old enough to compete in the "Lifetime Achievement"category? Well, now we have an answer: nominations are open for the inaugural "40 Over 40" awards! Click to nominate an experienced marketer who you feel deserves to be recognized.


* an interview conducted completed via text message... so please excuse all typos *

For this week's text-talk, I spoke with my friend Craig Lund, President of Marketing Talent Inc., a social enterprise that helps marketers connect with leading marketing organizations and serves as a destination for industry collaboration, mentoring opportunities, industry news, and networking.
Want to know how Craig responded? Of course you do! Read the full interview here!
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The Superbowl is next weekend, which means advertisers have started pre-releasing their Superbowl spots. (Personally, I think doing so takes away the thrill of seeing something for the first time during the Big Game, but as a marketer, I certainly understand the need to get as many eyeballs as possible on the very expensive spots you produce, and releasing them ahead of time helps with that.)

When I heard that Bud was bringing back their amazing "Wassap" campaign from the late '90s, I was ecstatic! Here's the original spot from 1999, which I absolutely loved...
And here's "Whassup Again", the 2020 reincarnation of the spot with a noticeable tech-twist.
I don't love the new spot. (Although "Smart Toilet" made me chuckle.) 

Why? Two reasons:

1) As much as I loved the original spot, it's 20 years old. I don't want to generalize, but the optimist in me would like to think that if you're old enough to remember the original spot, you're old enough to have realized the stupidity of drinking-and-driving many years ago. "It's a smart world. Don't be stupid about how you get around" is a great message for all of us, but I can't help but feel like this important message delivered as a Wassap reincarnation won't resonate with the people who need to hear it most.

2) The partnership with Uber makes sense from a "responsible drinking" standpoint, but I can't help but feel like this spot would have made more sense from a creative standpoint if it had a number of smart cars talking to each other on the street -- hey, we're almost there -- rather than having a bunch of smart devices in a room do it.

What do you think about this ad? Let me know here.

Should Robots pay taxes?

Bud is right about one thing: "it's a smart world"... and it's only getting smarter. Which means that one way or the other, we need to prepare for a future where robots are doing more and more work that humans would otherwise be employed to do. With fewer people working -- and thus fewer paying income taxes -- how will governments generate the revenue they need to support a population that's increasingly unemployed, and perhaps unemployable?

A simple solution might be, "just tax the robots!". (I will admit I've previously argued this might be a viable solution.) But in Should Robots Pay Taxes? the Wall Street Journal suggests this approach is overly-simplistic and unlikely to work. If you're a subscriber, it's worth your time to read, just so you can form your own opinions on an issue that will likely impact you or your loved ones at some point. (And if you don't subscribe, consider the WSJ's introductory offer: 2 months for just $1.30 CDN. And no, I don't get a referral fee from WSJ.)

Win-of-the-Week: The Estate of Mr. Peanut

I mentioned that advertisers have started to release their Superbowl ads, right?

Well, Planters released a pre-Superbowl Ad that actually kills it's 104-year-old mascot, Mr. Peanut! (Peanut fans may be comforted to know that he sacrificed himself to save actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh, and thus died a hero.) According to CNBC, the pre-released spot will be aired on television before the Super Bowl kickoff during the pregame show, with the brand promising to “broadcast Mr. Peanut’s funeral, so the world can mourn the loss of the beloved legume together" during the third quarter of the game.

Now, killing off your century-old mascot is certainly a bold move, but that isn't the win. The win goes to The Estate of Mr. Peanut on Twitter, and all the brands that subsequently jumped in to create some laugh-out-loud moments.

Here's a screenshot of the original post, and what is perhaps my two favourite brand responses (although there are many great ones)...

The Last Word.

Winning is fantastic.

I mean, really, who doesn't like to win?!?

But winning in a way that makes everyone you beat admire, appreciate, and respect you is a skill we can (and should) all learn.

And last week, Joaquin Phoenix taught a Masterclass, using his entire SAG Awards acceptance speech to praise the other nominees in his category.

Have a watch...

I posted this video on LinkedIn last week, and a friend had a great comment. He said, "winning can't be done alone, ever. Appreciating those around you who drive you to be better, who push you to the next step, that's the secret sauce. Surround yourself with people who are better than you, and you'll win more."

It's tough to argue with that.

Until next week,
- dp

*<<First Name>>, I enjoy putting this newsletter together every week, but it's a lot of work. If you enjoyed the result, please help me justify all that time I spent creating it by sharing it with your friends and colleagues using one of the links below. (Don't forget to ask them to sign up here so they get their own copy delivered to their inbox next week.) Thanks for your support!
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"And you are...?"

My name is David Pullara, and I'm a senior business leader with a passion for strong brands and experience across multiple industries. Both my first and my most recent jobs were at start-ups, but in-between I spent 12 years in leadership roles at some of the world's most renowned, consumer-focused Fortune 500 organizations: Starbucks, Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut), Coca-Cola, and Google.

To learn more about me, use one of the links below. 

And if your business needs an innovative thinker to help bring an idea to life or help solve a tough business challenge, then let's chat.
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