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The following series is inspired by the amazing Apple Think Different campaign from the personal computing revolution. There are a lot of parallels between that era and the” talent revolution” we are experiencing today. If you want to get all the feels, check out the vintage ad here.

Sometimes, we simply cannot accept the way things are any more. When the answer to broken processes is, “it’s just the way it’s been.” When we see many around us doing the same things over and over, or making decisions blindly.

It’s in those moments that you round up any allies you can find with the same audacious goal as you: taking down the status quo. These allies may not be textbook perfect (actually, they’re likely not). They may be scruffy nerfherders for crying out loud, but they’re going to do the job differently – and you need each other. Meet the rebels.

Ah, the rebels: the ones who want to take the status quo, wad it up, set it on fire and have a party in the glow of the flames. They want to go big or go home. They know that they can’t sit idly by waiting for a job ad to find the right-fit person. They laugh at the notion of “passive candidates.” They seek to create leading employer brands. They measure their spend – and the results.

They’re here to tell you that “it is what it is” will lead to your demise. 


The Rebels Rediscover Age-old Tactics

Brands like GE are heading to broadcast T.V. to market their employer brand … at the same time they’re trying to completely reinvent that employer brand. And they didn’t advertise to talent for the first time on a random episode of Monday night T.V. They went big; they went OSCARS, the second biggest night in advertising.

And their ad? It was funny. As the company was reinventing its corporate and employer brand, they knew they had to shift perception in their target audience (a monumental task). So their strategy was big and bold and risky … and it paid off. And it continues to pay off with their recent brilliant campaign and ads trying to attract female scientists (if you haven’t seen the Millie Dresselhaus campaign, watch in awe). Taking to television is rebellious. It’s saying: Our talent isn’t just heading to a job board, our talent is everywhere. It’s saying: Our story is big enough and important enough to tell in as large of a way possible.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, GE’s employer brand leader is also rethinking how to use social media and employees to amplify their brand with near-to-no budget.


The Rebels Know Passive Candidates are Opportunity Seekers

You know my perspective on passive candidates (call me rebel!). Sometimes, breaking the status quo is as simple as really understanding and studying your audience. It’s knowing them in a way that’s more than passive, veteran, woman or millennial.

When I first met with Intel this year and they shared their candidate personas and candidate journey maps, I knew I was in the right place among the rebels. Intel understands there is no such thing as passive talent. Anyone will move for the right opportunity, the right brand, the right purpose, the right role. 

  • 90% of people are open to a new position
  • Only 35% of people are engaged at work
  • Yet 29% of people would rather wait in line at the DMV than apply for a job

Yikes. Intel knows that this “passive” audience everyone talks about is waiting for the right opportunity to find them. They’re open, they’re willing … they’re just waiting. Intel takes the time to study this audience, communicating with them at the right time with the right message in their amazing candidate nurture program.


The Rebels Don’t Take Data at Face Value

And finally, there are the rebels at Charter Communications, formerly Bright House Networks. They have the audacity to measure their media spend and make business decisions based on accurate data and results. The days of saying, “I know half of my advertising is working, I just don’t know which half,” are over. The rebels understand that it matters to know.

Talent acquisition doesn’t have to be a cost center. The rebels see days ahead in which talent acquisition is a profit center because we will know which sources drive quality hires that drive revenue and productivity for the business. The rebels aren’t afraid to tell their media partners that they’re not investing in things that don’t drive hires. They’re not afraid to reallocate their spend month-to-month and make decisions on the fly, as long as they are decisions backed by holistic data.


The rebels see opportunities for a brighter, better tomorrow, and they’re willing to do what others are either too scared to try or not bold enough to test. The rebels will always be looking for a way to enter the psyche of their target audience and change how that audience sees their brand … and work in general. They’re going to make all of us better.

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