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Corporate Blogs: A Recruiting Tool

(April 25, 2008) Only a few years ago, corporate America was frightened by the new phenomenon called "blogging". Just a handful of the biggest got into the game, at first. The number has grown, but not by much. "Bizblogs" , a project set up by Chris Anderson (Wired Magazine), Ross Mayfield (Socialtext), Easton Ellsworth (We Know Media) and John Cass (PR Communications), reveals that only 11.6% of the Fortune 500 have "active public blogs by company employees about the company and/or its products."

Any company that aims to create a positive, distinctive "employer brand" to enhance recruitment would do well to look at their site and click on a sampling of corporate America's blogs. Most of them are desperately dull. That means that the overwhelming majority of the big companies that could afford to blog extensively either fail to do so at all, or fail to do it in a way that would attract potential employees.

The potential utility of corporate blogging for "employer branding" is illustrated by the small minority of corporations that do it well.

If your company needs nerds, look first at Eastman Kodak's site. Lively but very technically detailed entries, with pictures of engineers in action poses, wearing casual clothes, jump off the pages.

If yours is a company seeking product designers, check out the site of Graco, a company making items for babies and young children. Articles by designers, sharing experiences and photos with their own kids, make for engaging reading for customers and potential recruits alike.

Southwest Airlines needs all the "employer branding" help it can get right now, after the recent scare about delayed maintenance on its aircraft. "Nuts About Southwest" features comical and fact-filled stories by employees, reinforcing the company's image as an unusually fun place to work.

Starwood Resorts maintains The Lobby as its employee-produced blog site. A look at the staff pictures is enough to make the company appear to be a very cool employer. The articles hype not only the resorts but the destinations, with travel tips and reviews.

Texas Instruments makes no attempt to appear cool or casual in its blog site. At least the men with ties and coats, pictured next to their technical articles, are smiling! A likely conclusion from this site, by potential job-seekers: TI wants buttoned-down nerds, not wooly ones!

Coca-Cola presents itself as iconically American in its history-oriented blog. The site is lively and well-illustrated, including a video link about how to serve Coke "perfectly". It looks good for recruiting marketing professionals, as well as for maintaining customer loyalty.

These sites are the best argument for the blogosphere as a powerful means to reach specific pools of applicants. And -- hmmm -- as a blogger myself, maybe there is a good job for me among the 88.4% of big firms that don't yet have corporate blogging sites!

by Jim Burklo

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