“Practice What You Preach, Sister” and Other Lessons in Selling the Job

The Disappointed Consumer

Some of you may have heard about the Lilly Pulitzer partnership with Target and the mayhem that ensued when it was launched. I shamefully took part in the mayhem. I’m not a die-hard Lilly Pulitzer fan, but fell victim to their marketing. They had countless media plugs, a pop-up shop in NYC, and a glamorous marketing campaign that consisted of 3-D snapshots sprinkled with models and celebrities oozing the Palm Beach life. My intense desire to take part in this lifestyle mimicked an eight year old child walking down the candy aisle of a grocery store. I had to take part. I scoured the collection and researched blogs with the best strategy to ensure I ended up with my most coveted pieces. On the day of the launch, my friend and I waited in line for the store to open with about 50 people in front of us and 80 more behind us. When they finally opened the doors, women rushed towards the back of the store grabbing everything in sight. By the time we arrived at the display, the racks were empty - a pretty sad representation of that Palm Beach lifestyle. What a disappointment! Not to mention what a waste of my time! There was clearly not enough inventory for the amount of demand their buzz created. Maybe that was their strategy. For me, I was pretty frustrated with how hyped up and disconnected the marketing was from the actual experience. It was a disaster in my mind, and others thought so too. Once a loyal customer, I’m now going to think twice about shopping at Target.

The Disappointed New Hire

How many times have you been so excited about a product or experience only to be disappointed when you actually tried it? Did that make you want to go back?

The same applies to the employment experience. Often times the focus during the recruitment process can be time to fill or volume. But what about the follow through? Is the job you’re selling the same as the actual job experience?

Looking at Turnover Rates

Take a look the 90-day turnover rate and 1-year turnover rate. Those two numbers tell a lot. The reasons for a high or increasing number in either of these two stats could vary – someone was offered a job at a company they have been holding out for, a family obligation required them to leave, or maybe, as in most cases, it wasn’t the right fit. If you look at those reasons, and the myriad of other reasons, fit is well within your control. You may not initially think so though. After all, if the company and employee aren’t a match, shouldn’t they go their separate ways? Of course. In fact, companies like Zappos and Amazon have even paid employees to leave based on the “fit” factor.

But what this says to me is that employees were not given a clear picture of the employment experience at the recruitment stage. The focus was so much on volume and speed, that quality and fit were overlooked, which can end up costing a company more in the long run.

Know Your Promise, Be Authentic, and Deliver

Some turnover is healthy. In some cases,  a business changes strategy or falls under new leadership, and the “fit” requirements change, so naturally a few people leave.

I’m talking about right here and right now. The promise you make in the candidate experience should be delivered in the employment experience. Where to start? Find out what the promise is that you’re making and make sure EVERYONE knows it: recruiters, employees, hiring managers, candidates, leadership...everyone. Keep it simple, authentic, genuine, unique to you, and realistic. You want your new hires to feel like what they were promised was delivered, good AND bad.  

Lexi Gordon is a Lead Consultant for exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps organizations build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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