2 min read

Employee-generated content tools don't work (and why we run a creative services business)

1-minute 30 second read

It’s not uncommon for outsiders who aren’t familiar with the intricacies of our business or industry to tell us how to make Before You Apply more scaleable.

The advice is always the same: You have to find a way to remove yourselves from the creative process and let companies create their own content using software. Aka, stop doing creative services and become a SaaS company with MRR.

As much as we love getting unsolicited advice from people who don’t spend their days obsessing over our business and industry as we do, here’s why that advice is misguided:

Tech companies have no idea what it takes to pull this stuff off internally.

They’re creating employee-generated content (EGC) software that doesn’t actually enable execution.

Here’s a deeper dive into why:

In order to create video content that a) features employees, b) is believable, and c) actually helps your recruiting team start productive conversations with the right talent, this is what’s needed:

  • The culture is worth promoting.
  • The company believes in recruiting content.
  • A champion has the credibility with function leaders to get buy-in and access to ICs. (Think about how hard it is to get access to busy engineering teams.)
  • Employees volunteer to run a proper test campaign.
  • Employees are comfortable recording themselves on video and sharing them publicly.
  • Employees have truly interesting things to say on their own, without the need of an expert who can pull information out of them.
  • The skills and bandwidth exist to distribute content. (Spoiler alert: This is near impossible unless it’s being distributed solely by the recruiting team.)

Here’s the reality for most companies (even when the culture is worth promoting):

  • The company doesn’t value content for recruiting.
  • No credibility to get buy-in from function leaders.
  • Employees are not bought-in. Aka, they don’t care.
  • Employees don’t have interesting things to say on their own. They need support.
  • No marketing skills to distribute effectively.
  • No bandwidth or resources. There’s no time or creative support.

For the majority of companies, executing an EGC strategy on their own is next to impossible.

And for the few that can get some version of this off the ground, EGC ends up being too much work for the low-quality (and often unusable) content they get in return.

This is especially true for startups (early through growth-stage) where recruiting content is championed by a People or Talent leader who’s also balancing a number of more pressing responsibilities.


Some additional things for the opinionated to consider:

Maybe we offer creative services because we know that it’s the only way this work gets done the right way, quickly.

And maybe creative services is just the beginning—and we’re building something really big in the background.

Trust that we know our business and industry better than you do.

Big things coming. Cheers!

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