Ho-Hum Job? Not to Owen: How GE became a career destination for new engineers


You wouldn’t say that what your company does is boring. That what you’re offering is “just another job.” But that’s probably how your message is coming across.

Candidates know what they want to accomplish with their work. And if their perceptions of your company don’t jive with that vision, you won’t hear from them.

So how do you change a candidate’s misconception? Get their attention and help them see what they can accomplish in your organization? It’s certainly not by relying on traditional approaches like job boards and niche sites.

Potential candidates are like consumers when it comes to how they think about brands. They not only expect brands to appeal to their need for purpose and potential, but to market themselves effectively. In today’s competitive market, where top talent in areas like engineering and technology have so many opportunities to choose from, reaching candidates—rather than having them look for you—is essential. Which means that, if you are responsible for your company’s recruitment marketing program and your plan doesn’t include advertising that grabs their attention, tells them what they need to hear, and connects on unexpected channels, you’re probably wasting your company’s money.


Creating recruitment content that pays off

Let me introduce Owen. Owen is the face of GE’s recruitment marketing campaign which has been airing on national TV since early 2015.  A software developer who has just been hired by GE, Owen spends every commercial trying to explain the appeal of working with a company with purpose and potential to his friends and family. He’s so excited to write the code that runs transportation systems, industrial equipment and power grids, but his message doesn’t seem to sink in with his peers and parents.

General Electric - What’s the Matter with Owen... by iberiannomination

In a talent landscape where good software engineers pretty much have their choice of opportunities, Owen positions GE as a career destination in a voice that resonates with the audience due to its humor and mode of delivery. The ads not only address GE’s stodgy image head-on, but cut through the clutter. And face it: long gone are the days when we consume one form of media at a time. We watch TV, while simultaneously posting on Twitter and Facebook, shopping on Amazon, and answering InMails. To get your message across to the top talent you seek, your advertising needs to be innovative enough to grab their attention and hit your points well. And that means utilizing channels that both passive and active candidates are utilizing daily, not merely channels they visit to search or apply.

New Call-to-actionIn today’s “show me you know me” culture, the content that connects is more than just relevant to the viewer, it’s also grabby and sharable. As Owen shows us, we in HR need to open to spending more on more innovative ways of reaching our audience if we want to show a bigger payoff in the end.

And I think having top engineering candidatees see you as a career destination is about as big a payoff as you can get.

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Written by Patty Silbert

President of Newton Talent since 2018, Patty Silbert has over 30 years of experience developing the innovative solutions that help HR professionals just like you meet their most pressing recruitment challenges and their companies achieve their talent acquisition goals. She is a regular writer and speaker on the subjects of recruitment strategy, employment branding, HR technology, and leadership.