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Nicole Dorskind

Have you noticed that advertising is getting a bit gutsy these days? And I’m not referring to Super Bowl commercials. More and more we are seeing the use of ‘attack’ or ‘aggressive advertising’ being used in the consumer-marketing world. This is a direction that was prominent during the days of Mad Men, but could it be re-emerging as the next big trend?

Microsoft’s recent ‘Scroogle’ campaign is similar to a political attack campaign. In the commercial, Microsoft attacks Google for everything from invasive ads in Gmail to sharing data with app developers. It ends by revealing that Microsoft is behind the message with the statement,  “For honest search results, try Bing.” It’s definitely aggressive and controversial.  However, with controversy comes attention, and the metrics have been pretty good.

Kindle has taken a similar, but slightly less aggressive approach when comparing the Kindle Fire with the I-Pad Mini. Ford also aired an ‘attack’ on Honda in their recent campaign.

So what does this mean for us?  Can we effectively recruit great talent with a more aggressive approach?

For employment marketing to be truly effective it needs to answer the question, “Why should the people you want to employ, choose to work for you rather than anywhere else?” We always advocate being straightforward and direct, but I wonder where can we draw the line? Many times we know exactly where the pool of talent is that we want to attract, so why not just directly target them and exploit the weakness in the competition?

Some organizations are beginning to dabble in this direction. Last year, Yahoo stationed carts passing out free chai along Silicon Valley shuttle routes hoping to poach talent from companies such as: Google, Facebook and Apple. The cups were accompanied with a handout blatantly saying, ‘Yahoo is hiring, contact this guy.“ The approach is direct, maybe arguably aggressive, but it’s also been effective both in creating a buzz and an increase in hiring numbers. While this was not a formal HR initiative, there is speculation that this has attributed to the increase in applicants for their HQ.

The employer marketing world tends to be risk adverse. I would assume that if you’re in a Talent Acquisition role, you may be thinking, “I would never be able to pull that off.” The way we communicate is constantly changing and it makes me wonder, will this be the next big thing in recruitment? What would a more aggressive approach look like in your company? How brave would or could you be?

I welcome your thoughts.

By Nicole Dorskind

Nicole profile imageAccount Director, orange Gatorade fanatic, avid runner.

Nicole (nicknamed “Coles” by our British colleagues) started with work Group in October 2009. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a media background, she was interested in an advertising career, but she wanted to be part of something meaningful, somewhere she could really make an impact.

She found her passion at work. “I sort of stumbled across this company and it turned into a career,” she says. Employment branding was a world she knew little about, but she has turned it into her professional playground.

Her time at work has been engulfed with unforgettable memories, tremendous growth and amazing learning experiences. From her very first pitch in London where she made 25 senior investment bankers crack a smile through to traveling to six different countries, uncovering what makes a distinguished financial institution special and why the right people should work for them. Not to mention that time she almost severed her ring finger trying to cut an avocado and had to get a six hour surgery. “It’s my work wound,” she says. Not to worry – the finger is still intact, but the nerves are damaged, which makes bowling extremely difficult.

No, she did not sue. Yes, she still loves her job.

Nicole is a brand enthusiast. “I love Apple, but I don’t think they need help with their employment brand,” she says. Their proposition is the level of standard she wants all of her clients to aspire to. However, Apple is not the type of client she would want to work with. She likes a challenge. She wants to fix things. And she wants to do it all over the world.

She’s always been interested in the emerging markets of places like Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific. “This world is becoming a more connected place and I want to help businesses globally tell their stories as employers,” she says. Helping organizations tell a consistent story and raise brand awareness in countries that don’t have the Internet or are just at the brink of developing their economies is what gets her out of bed in the morning.

So what is Nicole doing when she is not busy helping to build the U.S. business or providing strategic solutions to her client’s challenges?

She is checking off the countries in her NY Times copy of “Best Places to Visit.” In 2013, she spent 10 days in Croatia with her college friends and in 2010, she backpacked through Belize and Guatemala with one of her British colleagues. She’ll also take a last minute trip to escape Manhattan and visit her best friend in Colorado. Good thing JFK is a short cab ride away from her NYC apartment.

Adding more stamps to her passport is definitely part of Nicole’s future agenda, along with developing her professional career. As to what the next five years looks like – that picture is not yet painted. “My past four years have been full of development, growth, travel and laughs. I hope that’s a sign of what’s to come,” she says. Thanks to the magnetic quotes her dad buys her every holiday, she has a constant reminder of how to approach life when she looks at her refrigerator every morning – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” So no matter what the future holds, she plans to do just that.

By Jacqueline Monti

What a question. We live in a world where only a very small percentage of women sit at the top. The C-suite. Government officials. Board seats. Across every industry, we have only a meager presence. After reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, I’ve come to believe it’s because we’re afraid. Afraid that we’re not good enough, afraid that a man can do it better. Afraid that we won’t get married because we’re too career focused, or too “intense.” Afraid that if we do get to the top, we won’t have anyone to share it with. As a gender, we are afraid.

When I was a little girl, I started a card shop, printing template cards off of Print Shop Deluxe and selling them to my family friends and neighbors. It cost my dad a small fortune and the cards were ridiculous, but I had my customers. I decided I should sell them in China, so I went to the backyard and started digging. I was told if I dug deep enough, I would get there. I think my parents just wanted to keep me off the computer, but I was envisioning the BRIC economy before it became one. The point is, I’ve had big dreams for as long as I can remember. And more importantly, I was fearless.

I’m not here to write a book review, or even summarize the key points because I truly believe that all men and women should read this book. But I do want to talk about the big question it posed. These words, so simple, so plainly stated, written across the walls of the Facebook office, words that have kept me up a night since I finished the book, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

It’s interesting and sometimes challenging to be a younger woman in the corporate world. From the moment you walk into a room, you have to overcome judgment and preconceived notions. Yes, I get nervous, but am I afraid? I get uncomfortable with success and public recognition. Maybe this means I’m afraid too.

I don’t associate the word “afraid” with my personality. I will get on an airplane and go anywhere in the world by myself. I will not say no to an opportunity, even when it’s beyond my comfort level and outside of my experience. I don’t take no for an answer. But after reading this book, I see that maybe I have been afraid and I just didn’t know it. Perhaps my fear has been unconscious. The important thing is the question. Ask it. Ask it all the time. “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Write it across your notebooks, or make it the backdrop of your phone if you need to. This book has allowed me to understand that where I fall short, is related to fear. If Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, asks herself this question, then so should I.  And so should every other woman. The sooner we come to terms with our own fears and how it affects our behavior, the sooner we can tip the scales.

There are a lot of seats at the top for women to fill. In fact, 86% of executive officer positions are currently held by men. I think, if we weren’t afraid, we would get there pretty fast. Sandberg wants 50/50 but I think we deserve even more. As Oprah says, Lean In is a modern day manifesto to women. Get inspired, get motivated and lean in. Our journey is just starting.

Nicole Nicole is an Account Director at Work Group. Joining the business in 2009, her focus is on building effective relationships with clients – partnering with them to uncover their employment promise and bringing it to life through a compelling and engaging brand strategy. She’s passionate about all things “brand” and about women in the workplace. Learn more about who she is and what she thinks on LinkedIn.