I got invited to join the so called Microsoft Talent Network. Being a good 21st Century pseudo-nerd, I wanted to avail myself of all the potential opportunities for work at Microsoft. Knowing that networks are really good things, I wanted to expand my reach and the interesting people I know. Certainly, I thought, a cutting edge tech company would be able to help me network.
I should have paid attention at the intro. It said:
What is the Microsoft Talent Network?
Signing up for the Talent Network allows you to receive customized job and event alerts sent to you via e-mail. You determine the types of jobs sent and the frequency you receive them.
How do I sign up?
It’s easy! Just enter your e-mail below. You will be taken to a sign-up page to customize your alerts. Once you sign-up, you’ll start receiving messages!
Is my information confidential?
Yes! Microsoft adheres to strict privacy regulations. We will not share your information with anyone.
In other words, it’s not a network at all. It’s an email list that you can sign up for to receive notifications from Microsoft. That has been the state of the art in job alerts for over a decade. There is nothing new here.
It’s not a network at all. There is nothing about it that is a network.
The first an most important part of communicating an employment brand or building a powerful candidate experience is clarity. Calling things by trendy names when the people you are talking to understand the language makes you look silly. When potential employees from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google see this badly named job alert system, what do you suppose they will think?
At best, they will think that this is the work of an HR Department that is completely out of touch with the world of social media. That would be the best possible outcome. More likely, they’ll see it as further evidence of Microsoft’s retreat from relevance.
Employment Branding is a business that requires diligent attention. Every nuance of every utterance has to be scrutinized. While the rules are morphing for the social media universe, the are not moving as fast in corporate branding.
Microsoft is struggling to recruit exactly the sorts of people who will be turned off by this lack of attention to detail. As the story gets repeated, it will start to sound like “This is why HR can not be trusted with the employment brand.”
The fix is easy. Call it Job Alerts. Stop pretending that it’s something that it’s not. Honesty trumps puffery every single time in today’s employment market.