Thursday, December 20, 2012

Branding pitfalls

So far we have looked at the psychology of job offer selection and how to gain advantage from that knowledge. I hope my thoughts back you up and give your more confident when approaching potential employees. But there are some pitfalls to watch out for too.

Wage war

The number is one of few objective things in the offer Tèo can rely on to imagine a bright future ahead, the rest is basically a leap of faith. So unless a company has a good reputation in the job market, matching the going rate is for the position is the first step to get the company to any shortlist.
A place in candiate's shortlist is good. However that is not enough to have a strong influence on his decision. In today's job market, companies want to stand out and make them the desirable destination for everyone (think about the power Google has in the software engineer world). However relying on the wage alone to become an outstanding talent magnet is highly risky at best and suicidal at worst. The move triggers an arm race among employers. A deep pocket grants you certain advantages in the race. But in the software industry, where talent is the most important resource of each company, other competitors will respond in kind if you pose a serious enough threat and just hope you burn out before they do. This is especially true when your competitors cannot afford to lose and have no option but to fight to death.

Expose key employees to competitors and recruiters.

Every successful tech companies spends its resources massively to build up a team of experts in its field of expertise. Not only this matters to company's products, it also has a psychological effect on potential employees. The investment provides a reassurance that the company knows what they are doing, with high quality. A chance to work with people on top of the technology stack is a compelling learning opportunities. It directly affects Tèo growth and reflects in his CV, both eventually lead him to a better career.
Don't forget to watch your back. When you are busy attracting the next generation of technical leads, your competitors might have already craven for your A team and started poaching. No-poaching agreement is quite common among key partners and alliance members. But in general, it is not possible to protect/shield/hide employees from recruiters. It will just be counterproductive to have policy restricting employees from doing their personal branding. Provide the right environment and they will stay. Happy employees are financially satisfied, professionally developed, and individually secured and respected.


Every employment goes through a stage where the candidate is sitting on the fence considering options and you need to sell the vacant. But bear in mind, never oversell. It is not like you shouldn't sell on the bright future the company is heading to, the potential of the market or how exciting the working environment is. When the company is being successful and adrenaline in blood is high, it is hard not to do so. And in fact, you should. You want everyone you interviewed to spread the gospel whether they join or not. But many companies in the effort of recruiting people are promising things they can't deliver, like benefit packages or revenue/growth exceeding what the company and its market are actually capable of.

Once people know the truth, they are frustrated, they feel cheated. they express this to others. Now you have gained one more problem. And it is never a good thing when a high-profile hire quits unexpectedly. It causes otherwise happy people to second guess.

So that's it. The last post in the company's perceived values psychology trio. Hope you enjoyed it.

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