So, here I am writing a blog entry about a topical event and relating it back to my professional experience. I swore I’d never do that, and yet when I was watching Jordan Spieth’s press conference after winning The Masters yesterday, I was inspired by one small quote:
“It’s a game of integrity.”
A 21-year-old man who just won golf’s biggest tournament and a $1.6M purse was spotted thanking the volunteers for helping with the event, answering reporters’ questions in great detail, and giving his opponent a thumbs-up in the middle of the match? And this wasn’t the typical cliché “give them a lot of credit” crap that 99% of athletes say after a big win. No, the difference here is that Jordan genuinely seemed humbled and appreciative of his good fortune.
This is what got me to thinking about employment branding and the candidate experience. Of course, Spieth will be remembered for his masterful (see what I did there?) play on the course this week, but it’s his integrity and respect that will propel his personal brand. And it’s this respect and integrity that will also set companies apart in the so-called “war for talent.” So here are 3 ways that we can learn from this:
- Be Humble – Your company isn’t the best place to work for everyone, so stop marketing it that way. By being humble and understanding the good and bad of working for your company, you are showing potential candidates that you respect them to make their own decisions. Don’t try to market your company or convince people that you are the best place to work when you really aren’t. Find the things that set you apart and be honest about challenges that employees can face. Some people will run away screaming when they get the full picture, and some will be excited to tackle those challenges head on.
- Play the game the right way – Respecting the candidate and letting them make the decision on whether or not they want to work for you is playing the game the right way to me. I see and hear about a lot of companies who tout themselves as the “best place to work” and give you “8 reasons why you should work at XYZ corp.” I think potential candidates see through this and would be much more comfortable making their own decision instead of being beaten over the head. Also, by playing the game the right way, we are helping to narrow the funnel by letting people self-select out of the process if they see something they don’t like.
- Don’t ever be satisfied – When reporters asked Spieth what his goals were now that he’s won the most important tournament in golf, his answer was simple: “I want to be the #1 player in the world.” We can’t be happy with being put on lists of best places to work or being individually recognized by industry peers. We need to constantly be trying to improve the candidate experience and constantly be striving to get better. This may seem like basic advice, but I think it’s also pretty easy to rest on your laurels when there are 50 other priorities that are more immediate. We’ve all been there, so it’s important to make sure that we’re always trying to be better than we currently are.
No doubt you will see countless articles this week about Spieth’s character and integrity in the game. Wouldn’t you want people to say the same thing about your company?
Thanks for reading, and hopefully you find value in this. Leave a comment to let me know your thoughts. For now, I’m going to do my best to have more in common with Jordan Spieth than a love for the game of golf and an embarrassingly receding hairline.