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HR Round Table

Should Google Go for HR Marketing?

Alexandra Guadagno
Contributor: Alexandra Guadagno
Posted: 05/17/2011

As Tony O'Reilly, the CEO of Heinz once put it, company loyalty can be summed up by this simple example: A consumer walks into a grocery store looking for beans. They have every brand of beans on the shelves except Heinz. What happens? She leaves without buying any beans at all.

Having a strong consumer brand demonstrates a clear advantage: less resources must be allocated towards advertising; customers are less likely to stray to other brands; and your top spenders will continue to come back to your brand without any coaxing (as well as being your best unpaid spokespersons).

To the Heinz consumer, clearly all beans are not created equally-- and to a job-seeker, neither are all prospective employers. Creating an attractive employer brand is no different than building a consumer brand, and demonstrates a similar value when you think of your prospective talent as customers. Do you want to hire candidates who are in it for the long haul? Do you want your employees to speak of your company in a positive light? Wouldn't it be great if your best talent referred their like-minded pals to your corporate recruiter, saving the money and the legwork associated with recruiting and staffing? Then you better start thinking about what you can offer to them!

With the job market now on the up-and-up, talent have more options to weigh when deciding on a career home. A paycheck, simply put, is not enough to woo a fantastic recruit with great credentials and a perfectly aligned skillset. Candidates are judging your "employer brand" and asking themselves: "Why would I want to work here?" This is why many companies are now going for "HR Marketing."

Google, of all places, is currently seeking a "Director of Employment Marketing & Branding." Bear in mind that this is a company already flooded on a weekly basis with resumes and applications, and that's consistently rated in the Fortune's "Top Places to Work" list. Go ahead: ask ten tech or media-savvy millennials where their dream job would be, and I guarantee you'll hear this internet giant's name come up more often than not.

This prompted me to ask my HRIQ readers: Is this a smart move for Google, or is it overkill considering the power of Google's employer brand?

Yu Yu Din,
Digital marketing manager at EmployWise

I don't think it's overkill. Google is already one of the top places to work on many, many lists including this year's Fortune Magazine's list. They're also rapidly expanding into emerging markets, which means they need to maintain their employer brand that transcends cultural, geographies, borders etc. That's a full time job for a company of that size. Don't you think?

Peter Gruben, International Business Expert


I hear only good things about Google as an employer and with this opening they confirm that they know that they can do even better. Not sure if Google has really reached a status that would allow Google to access and engage the diverse range of people that they need.

Patricia A. O'Malley, Consultant to Nonprofits and Freelance Writer


The concept of "branding" is over-used and over-hyped to the point where it doesn't mean anything any more.

People use the word to make themselves sound important.

It just makes them look stupid.

Shashi Sudhanshu, CEO, iLeadFarmers


I would say its an important as well as smart move. Branding doesn't only mean the brand awareness. It also means how you spread your brand value on an ongoing basis. For established brands, it becomes very important to drive the branding strategy aligned with their future business moves. Just because of lack of branding initiative BlackBerry was considered as a smartphone only for business executives.

In consumer market everyone knew that BB is only meant for e-mails and other business acitivies, even the person who might not have seen the BB or used it was very much sure about BB being a business phone. But when BB started tapping young generation, they went for a focus branding project and now 50 percent of the BB users are young students between 14-27 years old. According to me, branding is very important for bigger brands to control their publicity in the direction of their business strategy, and it will be a wiser decision for Google to go for it.

David Gabor,
Partner at GABOR & GABOR

I think that it is a smart move. It is always important to put the best person in the position. Further, companies, no matter how successful, can never afford to relax. Corporate brand, image, marketing, customer service, R & D should never be compromised at all.

Kumar Sethi, Manager at Bristlecone


You go to any technology campus anywhere in world and tell people: "Name your dream company to work for, after finishing college." No less 50 percent of people will say Google (the rest of population knows very well that they just don't have in them to reach Google.)

Undoubtedly, over a decade Google has created a niche for itself as World's Best Employer. But if you look at it from Google's perspective, NICHE has been expanded to MASS. I am sure that Google has plenty of struggles and that's why they want to perform structured marketing exercises to reach its target recruits by instituting the position of Director of Employment & Branding. This will ensure the right image of Google is created in target segmenst through brand management techniques. The "War for Talent" is on and it's raging everywhere. those companies would succeed in the future are those who will map their current and future skill requirements with the right segments of job seekers.

I see it is very valid and important move from Google to improve efficiency and effectiveness of recruitment process through Marketing tools, e.g STP - Segmenting, Targeting & Positioning.

Let's hear your two-cents in the comments section below, or get in on the discussion here.

Alexandra Guadagno
Contributor: Alexandra Guadagno
Posted: 05/17/2011