Friday, April 15, 2005

Collateral and Job Fairs

I toured a career fair on Sonoma State University's campus Thursday. Many prominent local employers, government agencies, and school divisions were out and about.

Sheer volume got to me. Sheer volume of collateral. Brochures, flyers, corporate reviews, employment listings, policy sheets, and more. Whoever wrote these pieces had quite a lot of output, and surely did well.

But what I noticed was that most of the recruiters were not willing to talk to me ABOUT that writing. They either treated the collateral as insignificant, or treated me as incapable of understanding the corporate processes necessary to create such work.

Quite depressing, to say the least. When collateral is viewed as insignificant, it reduces my faith in the company's confidence & trustworthiness. When managers treat me as some lesser person because I'm not wearing a suit at the same time they're talking, it hampers my ability to respect their professionalism. Sure, I realize they're expecting to speak to only students, but a moment of conversation should illustrate the kind of person you're talking to, so you can adjust accordingly.

If you're not proud of the writing your company has available to describe them, then you need to understand why that is. Is it because you don't value writing? Then you should read up on the power of the written word, and its impression on potential customers. Is it because you feel the writing available is poor quality? Then by all means, get new writing! It's not that expensive, and it can pay huge dividends in the end.

Think about this: impressions are developed within moments, but the best decisions are informed ones. What's going to inform a potential employee more, a 30-second schpiel from a recruiter obviously suffering from "not-wanting-to-be-here"-itis, or a foldout collateral piece with lots of company info and several reasons why employees enjoy their work there? Maybe a couple testimonials from managers or customers? Which makes the argument in favor of applying to work at your company? Which breaks it?


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