As a blog reader, what do you want from a recruiter’s blog?

In my recent experience speaking at industry events about blogging (2 more in the works...I'll provide details as the dates get closer) and engaging with recruiters individually, I hear some themes. Actually, they are questions...the same ones I hear over again. First, recruiters want to know if their company will let them blog. Wish I could help them answer that, but you know my philosophy is to show them the results and then ask for permission...I realize that doesn't work in all corporate cultures. I can't complain in that regard.

Second question I am frequently asked is about do you as a recruiter decide what to blog on?  Even with the relatively small number of recruiters that blog, I see a segmentation occurring in terms of content. I'll give  you a couple examples and then I want to know what it is that you want to hear about from us recruiters.

Example number one is Recruiter Blog as Job Posting Site. This is kind of how I perceive the Semiconductor Jobs Blog (although there has been some additional content lately). I see this as a tool for a third party recruiter to attract actively looking candidates, especially if that recruiter doesn't have a true "jobs site" to utilize for posting job descriptions. For corporate recruiters like myself working across a large space, it's not an option. But I get why a TPR would want to do this.

Example number 2, I think of as a "Get to Know Our People" blog. An example of this would be the Monster blog. They blog about things like bad coffee and what it's like to telecommute. But I can't tell what their company is recruiting on, what it's really like to work at Monster (the bloggers are career advice writers) or who their audience is. It will be interesting to see if the Monster bloggers share more about what they do (like offering career advice) and share some industry insight (I'm sure there's lots of info they are privy to at Monster that the rest of us would like to know!). This is a relatively new blog so I'll keep watching to see how it develops.

Example 3: Educating job seekers blog. CanadianHeadhunter for example...which is actually 2 guys...Anthony is the quiet one and Michael is the other one ; ). These kinds of bloggers put out info that helps people not only to search for positions but also to plan their careers. Good stuff. With this kind of blog,  I think people will keep coming back if they find your advice credible.

I see my blog as a combination of these with some other stuff added and I'll give you some ideas of how I've gone about segmenting my audience (I told you I think about marketing w-w-w-a-a-a-a-y-y-y-y too much!). First, let me say that I don't really think that there are "right" and "wrong" types of blogs. Each recruiter has to decide what to blog for themselves. So my comments above are not criticisms. I guess I feel the key is understanding what you want to accomplish, understanding your target audience and executing well (that means you have to be interesting, relevant or both). It is tough to find your blog voice. I know it took me a while and I was surprised that it sounded a lot like that voice in my head and a lot like Charlie on Charlie's Angels (am I sharing too much?). So what I want to do is share some of the lessons I learned over the last 8 months or so that will help recruiters make some decisions about what they want to blog on (I'll stop begging you folks to blog then, I promise!)

First thing: if corporate/professional blogging does not support one of your goals, don't bother. Seriously. I'm responsible for community building in the marketing space. Blogging is one of the ways I do that. Otherwise, I don't think I could justify the time investment. Understanding what the goal is that blogging supports will help you identify your readers. But here's the problem: I don't think enough companies are making recruiters responsible for community building (in which case, recruiting becomes totally reactive) and employment branding (most likely because they don't know how to measure it). Recruiting managers need to figure this out and make recruiters accountable and recruiters need to take accountability on their own (ask for employment branding to be included in your goals...I did)...but I digress. (And as I mentioned I get some soap box time at some upcoming industry events....wheeee!)

Second, think about who you want to read your blog (and the keywords they may be searching on). Once you've figured that out, ask yourself "who else?" You really have to think broadly. For example, I started with marketing job seekers. Then I said "wait a minute, self, these people have most likely already applied or posted their resume to a database...who else should I be talking to?" Then I thought about non-seeking marketers. I was getting warmer. These people might not be looking right now, but I wanted them to think of me first when they started looking. Could I provide content that would keep them engaged? Could I link to other marketing bloggers who have interesting content? Could I speak credibly about marketing? OK, what about marketing bloggers that  have their own loyal readers...could I get them to link to me as well and engage with their readers? See how this thought process worked? I was finally able to come up with a target reader segmentation: active seekers, non-seeking marketers, marketing bloggers, influentials (these are your industry analysts), recruiters and media. Each groups wants something different in terms of content and I had to think about how to give them each what they want and keep them coming back (or get them to subscribe). And you thought I was just here playing around...this is serious stuff! ; )

Next, find your voice. This is hard. You have to do it by blogging regularly. After a certain amount of time, something clicks. One key: if you post something and nobody comments, your blog post is not resonating (ever felt like you were talking to yourself? yeah, me out there?). Trust me, I have those posts (college football anyone? I didn't think so). I use that as feedback. Plus I examine how people respond to me in general...would they want career advice from someone who is a total goof? Probably not. Do they appreciate some humor now and then? Yep! If part of what you are trying to accomplish is connecting with your readers, you have to put some of your personality into it. You have to find the voice that your readers appreciate (I blog differently to an audience of marketers than I would to an audience of tech folks, for example).

So here's where I ask you some questions. First, if you are a regular reader of my blog (or a new reader inspired to respond), let me know if you think you fit into one of my segments above and which one (this could be interesting, actually). Let me know if you think I missed a segment (for those of you who have asked me if I've gotten any dates through my blog, keep in mind that "single men" is NOT one of my target segments! Some of you people are crazy!). Then let me know what it is that you want to get from a recruiter blog. It could be stuff that you have seen here or elsewhere or what you really wish recruiters would blog about but have not seen yet. You'll help me to post about the stuff you care about and you'll help some other recruiters that are trying to decide what to blog about find their blog voice. If you are shy, feel free to post with just a first name or something. I'm more motivated by the info than the need to track you ; )

(P.S.: I haven't a long blog post in a while and that felt good!)

Comments (14)

  1. Jason Davis says:

    Hi Heather,

    Thanks for mentioning my blog ( in this post. The fundamental purpose of this blog is not for third party recruiters though they do benefit. The main purpose is for me to market my clients to a database of over 70 thousand people in the semiconductor industry. I have been building this database since 1997. So far, the companies that understand the value of me having identified these poeple and then sending out newsletters weekly have greatly benefited. Multiple hires have been made and the traffic to these companies websites have increased. for example. I recently conducted an interview with a director at a client company and in 2 days over 3500 people read the interview. The important thing is that these 3500 people were targeted individuals.

    I have a network of over 20 third party recruiting firms in the semiconductor industry that came together through a company I started called I market their needs on the blog and if a candidate applies who has the skills for one of the positions, I forward the candidate to that recruiter. Currently third party recruiters cannot post jobs directly on my blog.

    I have some interesting plans for another blog of mine called and would love to discuss them with you off line. Email me if you are interested and I can call you.

    Thanks again for the mention


  2. Thanks for the plug! Anthony’s motto is "A shtiller naar is an alba hahem." (I made that up). OK, he’s the George Harrison of our duo. OK, not really. But I’ve tried to pattern my blog persona on that of Damian Penny (his fellow Newfie) and he tries to be more businesslike. Regards, MK

  3. Joe says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, and I don’t really fit into any of your segments. I’m just a software tester who’s pursuing an MBA at night. To date I’ve taken exactly one marketing class — the required core class for my MBA.

    As for the reasons I read your blog, I come here for an inside look at how recruiting works, for the career guidance that you dispense at irregular intervals, and for the gems on personal marketing.

    Regarding what I would like to see you post about, honestly I’m happy with what you’ve been doing so far. Don’t worry about getting side-tracked on various tangents that don’t have anything to do with the blog’s "mission". I frequently find that when I read the blog of someone intelligent, they have interesting things to say about lots of things that are outside their "area of expertise".



  4. Heather says:

    Jason-thanks for sharing how that works. Interesting.

    Michael-you are a very strange man, but we love you.

    Joe-thanks for the feedback!

  5. >Michael-you are a very strange man, but we love you.

    Hey, that’s what my last four wives said. OK, not really. They said they hate me! MK

  6. Russ Moon says:

    Wow, another psychic moment.

    The oracle has spoken and it was good for me too.

    I’m a bit more prepared for that meeting tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

    Segment – none of the above

    Content – your blog today was da bomb, you draw closer to your true self with each insight, my instinct tells me people of all segments will respond to the sincere convinction you express as much as the useful tidbits that are shared. The non-cyclical topical output, in my opinion adds to the draw.

    Bloglicious, I may have to read that again.


  7. Kelly says:

    Hi Heather,

    I’m not sure what category I would fall into; I’m a staff writer at and I tried to interview you, but you sort of left me hanging a few months back. No worries though, I still enjoy reading your stuff and am working on a blogging article and how it relates to job seekers, –so I too am looking for recruiter insights. Your stuff is always good. BTW, I think you really have landed "finding your voice." I always leave oddly entertained and informed.


  8. Heather says:

    Yikes, Kelly, I didn’t realize that I left you hanging…I thought I let you know that I wasn’t the right person to interview for the subject of your article (I’ll look through my mail to make sure I’m not losing it…but I really thought I remembered following up on this). Sorry about that. I’m happy to connect you with the product team for our ATS at some point in the future. They’ve been busy with a new release but I’m happy to refer you to someone when things slow down for them a little bit. Happy to take this up with you offline.

    Thanks for the positive feedback!

  9. Kelly says:

    Hey Heather,

    No No, you’re right (you followed through) .. then I switched my focus to blogging as sourcing (no reply). But really, I just wanted you to know I was still a reader!! I really love your advice about the whole vending machine-ads for N. boots! HA!

  10. I fit in to the active seekers category. Of course I’m 25 and single so maybe there is another category there after all. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Raz says:

    I am one of those demotivated-marketing-blogger-inspired-again-by-your-blog type of blogger. Haha. Excellent blog you have here. I think you have some point about segmenting the type of audience you want. Instead of creating separate blogs for different type of audience, it make more sense doing it in one place….

  12. Pradeep says:

    What would I want from a recruiter blog – All that you have had so far……. and much much more ๐Ÿ™‚

    (Hey we have been spoilt by the beta-versions, Ga versions, 2.0s all the way to the 2000 versions) so satiation never comes along – credit Maslow to make that a law.

    Anyway – from a "consumer" of your blog – here is an angle.

    WHAT IF …. I knew the common mistakes being made?

    WHAT IF …. I realised a case-interview style could harm a person who is a great marketeer but just not great at a debate-style-case-interview

    WHAT IF …. I was just interested about the real great resumes/letters/responses you’ve had in interviews and wantin to read them.

    Now each of those could unfold a new mindmap tree of thoughtflows and thereby different audiences.

    I could elaborate more on this and provide detailed suggestions – but hey, thats if this idea even resonates with you ๐Ÿ™‚

    So – till then.

  13. Heather says:

    Hi Pradeep,

    Thanks for the feedback. I have done some posting on common mistakes that are made (specifically things like resume mistakes, how people post to resume databases, etc). I’ll continue to do this type of blogging. I’m going to do this at a high level though because, while I like to share information, I don’t want this to become a clearing house for resume writing tips…I’d like to appeal to a broader audience.

    With regard to our interviewing process, I really want to avoid giving too much advice on what to do within the actual interview itself, at least Microsoft’s interview. In my opinion, great marketers need to defend their proposed strategies. So I don’t think that people need to be great "debaters" exactly, but I don’t see case style interview questions being a debate. Interviewees do need to be able to thoughtfully walk through a business objective and present a clear, convincing strategy. My concern with all of the talk on blogs about preparing for MS interview questions, is that it actually makes people think that interview success depends on preparation. Preparation *helps* but it definitely does not get people a job here. In the interview, we want to understand how you think, not necessarily just how well you prepared. So, I think I am going to let the Microsoft interview question topic go.

    Similarly, with your point about great resumes, responses, etc., I don’t want to present "best practices" as what it takes to get a job here. I’ve given some hints on resumes and things like that but we just want you to be yourself. I can’t share out resumes and the like because they are submitted in confidence. But I will definitely keep in mind that topics like writing good resumes and the application process seem to resonate with folks. You’ll see some past posts about that as well, if you look in archives.

    I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts Pradeep. It’s hard for me to walk the line between providing interesting content and becoming too prescriptive (I’d tend to sacrifice the first to avoid the last). I also want to stay true to our interview process and don’t want to provide info that people will try to use to trick the system (for many reasons but mostly because it just doesn’t work). But this is a good reminder that some of these topics are still top of mind with some of you. So thanks for sharing your perspective!

  14. Pradeep says:

    A brief ramble….

    When I was working for a top 10 Business school’s MBA admission team to refine the process, and increase their yield rate – one of the suggestions I had for my director was the same I posed to you….. Share the best essays and best stories you have heard in interviews. Guess what – she had the same response as you did.

    Bottom line, she said – We dont want cookie-cutter responses or ppl to "cheat" the process – and if they are awesome ppl – they will remain awesome adn we need them.

    No arguments there at all.

    And now the retort….

    But then isnt there merit to the argument that – when best answers are shared, and people "out there" who research get to read them – they put it back in their "learning process" and thereby increasing the competitiveness and pushing the quality-frontier outwards!

    Agreed these kids might be the paranoid over-researchers as opposed to the born-geniuses – but what abt the old adage that genius = 99% perspiration!

    I have by the way convinced my director to write a book on the stuff she has read and heard in MBA admissions interviews btw ๐Ÿ™‚

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