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In light of the upcoming Olympic games, the first-ever Recruitment Marketing Conference, SmashFly Transform™, and our love of recruitment marketing pioneers everywhere, our Recruitment Marketing Champion Series will highlight a lineup of big thinkers, bold leaders, and simply awesome people paving the way in transforming how modern organizations attract and hire top talent.


Name: Shaunda Zilich

Tweet her: @shaunda or @GECareers

Title: Global Employment Brand Leader, GE

Last Celeb Sighting: Vanilla Ice (at an airport)

Transform session: GE’s Story: Building a Billion-Dollar Employer Brand on a Zero-Dollar Budget


Quick work credentials:

4+ years as Global Recruitment Marketing Leader for GE, in charge of making GE the employer of choice globally

Responsible for development of current strategies and cost-efficient execution plans for recruitment marketing globally, including branding, candidate experience, brand ambassador programs, EVP and digital presence for GE employment brand

Previous roles include Marketing Media Developer and Customer Software Applications Specialist at Amatrol, as well as Social Media Recruiter at GE


Quote of interview:

“We’re not just selling products and services – we’re selling experiences.”


Four questions with Shaunda Zilich:

What is your biggest win in getting a company to fully embrace recruitment marketing?

GE’s biggest hurdle has also been our biggest win: gaining respect from Corporate Marketing, so far as getting them to understand that we’re not just selling products and services – we’re selling experiences. In other words, both marketing and talent acquisition are selling employment.

Here’s a great example to illustrate what I mean. During my four years at GE, there have been two redesigns of GE.com, which includes GE.com/careers. For these first two renditions on GE.com, Talent Recruitment was not even aware that there was going to be a redesign – it just happened overnight. The updates actually made it so that no job seeker could apply for any job! That was the extreme. We weren’t included in the process then.

Today we’re actually going through a big redesign of GE.com/careers and we [Talent Recruitment] were one of the first stakeholders Marketing called in order to partner with us. I honestly feel like I am one of the first people they listen to, which shows you how far we’ve come.


Why recruitment marketing?

There are a few things that made for the “perfect storm” to bring recruitment marketing to GE:

My background: I don’t have any HR background. My background is completely in Marketing. I remember an officer of the company coming to me and asking me what I thought about the idea of Recruitment Marketing, and I said, “This is awesome!” Instead of marketing and selling products and services, I get to sell experiences and opportunities. To me, this was so much better.

Industry-wide trend: There was something happening in the marketplace. It was a shift where everyone, not just GE, started realizing that to be successful, you have to be transparent. You have to be a storyteller, and you have to empower your employees to tell your story to be effective. It can’t just be GE talking about itself! I think a lot of companies have been going through this in the last couple of years.

GE rebrand: GE has been transforming as a company altogether. GE is not just an industrial company anymore; GE is a digital industrial company. While we knew we had to tell our story and be transparent, the company was also completely evolving. It’s not as simple as saying, “We’re going from industrial to software.” We’re trying to sell solutions now. Instead of just selling airplane engines, we’re selling airplane engines backed by 130 years of data we’ve gathered in our digital solutions that make it run on only 30% of fuel consumption. That’s a complicated story to tell.

GE functions: GE is a big company! When I came on board, Talent Recruitment operated in silos. Appliances had its own team. Aviation had its own team. They all ran on the same ATS, but the ATS wasn’t even owned by Talent Recruitment because it wasn’t centralized. Six months after I came on, they centralized the function. Today, we have just over 1,000 people in our function globally, and we all connect. That connection better fostered the idea of Recruitment Marketing.


What is your advice for the next recruitment marketing champion?

Stop every once in a while, take a step back, and pretend like you have a white canvas in front of you for all of recruiting. Think to yourself, “What would I do to sell these jobs as a marketer or as a salesperson?” I think we get caught up in the way it’s always been done, and we forget to take a step back to look at the challenge in a new light.

For example, I started looking at the way Sales structures their goals on the sales ladder. I actually structured my own goals this way for 2017. Here’s how it works: At the bottom of the ladder, people are completely unaware of you. As they climb the ladder, they become aware that there’s a challenge or a need. As they climb further, they see there are many solutions to solve this challenge or need. On that last step, they realize you are the solution. That’s what we need to do with recruiting. We need to be at the top of that ladder –  the company that’s top of mind. So when people get to that point when they’re aware they need a career change (the challenge or need), GE is the solution. Our job in recruitment marketing is to make sure we’re doing our job, even when they’re unaware of us or their need, so on that next step on the ladder, we’re top of mind.


What are you passionate about?

I’m most passionate about making an impact on people’s lives – whether that’s through my job and finding the best employment for them, or having a 4th of July party with 100+ people at our house!


Hear more from Shaunda and see her speak live at SmashFly Transform™ November 2-4, 2016.

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