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Four ways companies can decide to (automatically) answer an application for an open position.

#1

*crickets chirp*

#2

Hi, we have received your application. Best Regards.

#3

Hi *candidate name*,
Thank you for your interest in *company name*! We wanted to let you know we received your application for *open position*, and we are delighted that you would consider joining us. We’ll be in touch again once we have processed your application.

Best Regards.

#4

Hi *candidate name*,

Thank you for your interest in our *open position*!

It’s getting close to saying our goodbyes to 2020 and welcoming a fresh new year! This marks the start of a Holiday season with our team as well, as all our operations quiet down for a couple of weeks – until we’re back on January 4th.

We’d like to take this chance to thank you for your patience with our team taking the time to rest and spend time with our families, and to wish you joyous and love-filled Holidays and a wonderful New Year!

*Animated GIF – Happy Holidays*

See you in 2021! 🥳

Two questions.

  1. As a candidate, for which of the four companies would you feel more excited to go work for?
  2. How soon after being hired will you forget about the importance of such seemingly minor details?

And perhaps a third one. Does it matter?

I believe it does. Even when it is about a simple, automated communication with somebody you might not hear about anymore.

The way you communicate is a choice. And it speaks volume to who you are.

The greatest illusion

Here is an extract from the lawsuit that is rocking social media, particularly interesting for marketers.

253. For example, as a result of Facebook’s unlawful conduct and harm to competition alleged above, advertisers are harmed by a lack of transparency about Facebook’s reporting metrics, inability to audit Facebook’s reporting metrics, unreliable metrics due to Facebook error, and the prevalence of fake accounts. In addition, they are unable to ensure the same ad is not shown to the same person across media platforms. Without accurate information about performance, advertisers cannot accurately assess the value of their ad spend on Facebook’s properties.

Full text here

Of course, we have known this for a while now, right?

The great illusion that social media has created for marketers is that they can be mastered. And if we are not deeply mad about all this, as professional marketers, then we are complicit. After all, it is easy to be fascinated by views going up, likes spiking, shares sky-rocketing when all that matters is plateauing.

Measure the impact on the business.

The rest is just the greatest illusion ever created.

Productivity score

There is no evidence correlating longer hours with increased productivity. If anything, there is evidence that after a certain threshold (that might depend on the type of job), your productivity goes down (some evidence here and here). Sure, you still get something done on your 60th, 70th or 80th weekly hour of work. It is just not worth it.

And so, it is strange to see Microsoft launch a service for companies called Productivity Score. A service that tells employers how staff uses Microsoft apps, essentially measuring for how long certain apps are used, or how many interactions there are with a certain shared document.

There is a huge discussion about whether or not Productivity Score is a violation of employees privacy. But from a marketer perspective, I would argue that the biggest mistake Microsoft did was naming the service as it did.

In the article linked above, Jared Spataro (Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365) says that Productivity Score is “about discovering new ways of working, providing your people with great collaboration and technology experiences”. Elsewhere, Microsoft argues that employers can use Productivity Score to ensure their investment in technology goes to fruition: for example, by signaling that certain areas of the business (or certain employees) spend less time on emails or Teams, the company might want to organize specific training to increase adoption.

That is all great, but that is not productivity.

Productivity Score is a wrong name, a misleading name, a lazy name. It suggests a link between usage (mainly in terms of hours) of Microsoft apps and productivity that is non existent. Microsoft itself cannot make that link, and in fact here is the closer they get to it in one their blog post introducing the service:

Indeed, in a survey of more than 2,000 customers globally, those with the most complete adoption and use of Microsoft 365 had 66 percent higher confidence in their organization’s ability to adapt and thrive amidst uncertainty than those less far along.

Again, that is not productivity.

Names are sticky. They are the first chapter in the story of a product, a service, a feature. They create expectations and often guide the way users will use (or not use) what you offer.

Names need to be picked carefully.

What you must look for is a name that begins the positioning process, a name that tells the prospect what the product’s major benefit is.

Al Ries, Jack Trout in Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

Building relationships

The way you communicate reality is often more important than reality itself in building bonds. Or breaking them.

Say you have to share a decision with your team, one that is not fully fair, one you were not involved in making, one that will not make them happy.

You can state the fact, and say there is little that can be done to change reality. You can say that “little” is something your team will have to pull off, and that the deadline for it is in one week.

Or you can still state the fact, and say you are sorry for the situation. There is still something that can be done, and you will drive the effort, coordinating the work of the different team members.

Reality has not changed between option 1 and option 2.

Relationships have though.