2 min read

The Talent-Revenue Illusion

Companies will bitch and complain about a lack of quality talent, but they won’t commit to helping solve the problem.

60-second read

I was meeting with a SaaS company. I knew one of the founders who mentioned they were having a hard time finding candidates, so I volunteered to consult them on some tactical ways to stand out to the right talent.

In the room were the founding team, the Head of Marketing, the Head of People, and their one recruiter at the time.

Before meeting, I audited their candidate experience—from the research path that we know candidates take to how a candidate would apply to how the company is showing up on candidate-facing sites. (We follow a methodology when doing UX research. If you're curious, you can see it here.)

From the audit, I noticed that their careers site was really hard to find. As with most companies, “Careers” was buried in the footer of the homepage in a tiny little link.

My advice to them: If you want to give the impression that talent matters, make Careers front, center, and easily findable.

The Head of Marketing turned, looked at me, and said, “I’ll bring it up to the top in one of the dropdowns, but you are not touching my navbar!”

This was code for: Step the F off! This is my website. I’m in charge.

And this is the mentality—said or unsaid—that many companies (and their marketing teams) have when it comes to TA.

Do I think careers sites solve the talent problem? Absolutely not. Actually, far from it. This is about something much larger.

Companies will bitch and complain about a lack of quality talent, but they won’t commit to helping solve the problem.

Find a company that has “Careers” clearly visible and easily accessible on their homepage and you'll find a company that takes its talent acquisition strategy seriously.

The need to scroll and hunt just to find what a company is hiring for is telling of where the priorities and power lies.

“Get your grubby hands off my navbar” is a representation of the false idea that internally, functions have conflicting (and competing) goals.

Here’s the reality:

One side needs to make the company money. The other side needs to hire the best people to do the things that make the company money.

Money is the common goal here. The path to getting there is just different.

Some marketing teams really get it. They are partners who see talent brand and corp brand as two paths to one goal. But many don’t.

Here’s my point: Don’t say that talent matters while you nod your head and smile agreeably until it starts intruding on your territory.

It’s time for companies to see this for what it is: One brand on a mission to make the company a ton of money by attracting the right talent and customers—together.

I get it—revenue keeps the lights on, makes investors happy, and people get paid. It matters—a lot.

But that outcome only happens one way. You can’t make it rain without the right people seeding the clouds.

Some good news: I went to Cruchbase and randomly selected 10 companies that have raised their Series C in the last 30 days. Of those 10, 5 had Careers clearly visible and accessible in the navbar on their websites. Maybe this is a sign that things are shifting, and that progressive startups will lead the way.

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