Help Me, Wanda! #1: Breaking Away From Stock Photos

Help Me, Wanda! #1: Breaking Away From Stock Photos

Dear Wanda,

I work for a small health care company, and we don’t have the budget to purchase images for recruitment marketing purposes. I’ve exhausted all the images on the free image databases, and anyway, the ones I’ve used look very stock. Nothing I’m finding represents the smart, funny, talented people I work with or our unique vantage point (our floor has a phenomenal view of the harbor!). What free image alternatives do I have to using stock photography?


Out of Stock

Dear Stock,

The good news is you don’t need money to get great images. The bad news is nothing is free – what you need requires time. But if you’re willing to commit the hours, I have a solution for you: it’s called Employee Generated Content, or EGC for short.

You say you work with smart, funny, and talented people, so why are you not letting the rest of the world know that? If these people represent everything that’s right about your company, then you should absolutely give them a platform to be seen and heard.

Am I suggesting you give them the logins to your company’s social accounts and let them have at it? Nope. This is where you’ll need to spend some time creating an EGC strategy. Your employees are the stars, but you’re the director. Before reaching out, you need to be able to answer:

1. What am I asking employees to submit?

2. What is the process of how they’ll submit?

3. How do I keep them incentivized?

4. How do I promote the campaign?

5. How do I measure its success?

If your campaign goes well, you’ll walk away with a library of images to repurpose into new content. On the other hand, if you receive a lukewarm or no response to your first EGC attempt, do not give up. Ask your employees for feedback. You might find that what you asked for was unclear or too daunting, or not worth it for the return.

The reality is, in 2016 candidates are demanding transparency from their potential employer. Using images of real, relatable, and, yes, flawed human beings is a sure way to gain your candidates’ trust. You are right not to use stock photography. At best it’s wallpaper; at worst it’s invisible wallpaper.

So start with a plan and build a thoughtful EGC campaign that shows off the unique personalities and location that make your company an awesome place to work.

Happy hiring,


Have a hiring question you’d like Wanda to answer? Tweet using the hashtag #HelpMeHire and your question could end up in a future “Help Me, Wanda!” column.

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Written by Wanda

Wanda has spent the past 20 years in the recruitment marketing world, using her no-nonsense approach to hire the best talent for companies in need. She is a huge Montgomery Biscuits fan and craft beer aficionado. When not dispensing career advice, Wanda loves traveling the globe with her Chocolate Lab, Cooper. She currently resides in St. Louis but hopes to one day live on the moon and start her own improv training center.

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