Employers are consumers, too — and they aren’t always rational

Employers are consumersWhy would I focus on the idea that employ­ers are con­sumers? After all, every­one knows that…right?


To put it dis­creet­ly, some­times we ‘for­get’. We that employ­ers:

  • know exact­ly what they want
  • know exact­ly how to artic­u­late what they want
  • know why your offer­ing is bet­ter than (insert your most suc­cess­ful com­peti­tor’s name)
  • always maked ratio­nal deci­sions

Guess what? We are quite often wrong.

A basic fact of mar­ket­ing is that your tar­get audi­ence is ‘over­com­mu­ni­cat­ed’. In oth­er words, they are flood­ed with mar­ket­ing mes­sages and infor­ma­tion. What hap­pens when some­one is over­whelmed with mes­sages?

a) they shut down – and ignore the mes­sages, or…

b) they remem­ber the most preva­lent mes­sage, or..

c) they remem­ber the first mes­sage

So why would employ­ers be any dif­fer­ent from any oth­er con­sumer out there? No mat­ter if the cor­po­rate VP of HR is mak­ing the deci­sion, or a low­ly HR gen­er­al­ist, or even a hir­ing man­ag­er – they are all human, and they are all over­com­mu­ni­cat­ed. So when they have a posi­tion (or 50) to fill, they try to what they believe is a ratio­nal deci­sion. And their deci­sion is based on…what they have in front of them.  Per­haps this infor­ma­tion is the result of an inter­net search. Or the last HR con­fer­ence they went to. Or the rec­om­men­da­tions of their team. Or what they heard on the or saw on tele­vi­sion or a stream­ing ser­vice or…

You get the pic­ture. They make a deci­sion based on incom­plete infor­ma­tionmar­ket­ing mes­sagespast expe­ri­ence, or sim­ply some­thing ran­dom that’s caught their atten­tion. In short – this deci­sion is not a ratio­nal deci­sion.

Well, that’s ok. I call this sit­u­a­tion ‘liv­ing in the real world’. And as a job board, you should not assume that employ­ers will make ratio­nal deci­sions – and thus pick your job board. Instead, under­stand that employ­ers – all of us con­sumers – will make buy­ing deci­sions for a lot of rea­sons. So what do you do?

Meet them where they are. If they are inter­net research, make sure that your pitch to employ­ers shows up in rel­e­vant search­es. If they are rely­ing on HR con­fer­ences, make sure that your site is rep­re­sent­ed. If they are influ­enced by ads, make sure your ads show up. And so on.

Don’t assume ratio­nal deci­sion mak­ing! (Sure, you can hope for it, just like I hope for a return to warmer !) And meet your employ­ers where they are. Remem­ber, employ­ers are con­sumers, too.

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