My take on options

Our marketing team has a new employment branding campaign that I really like. They have different ads around the same core theme in different places. Of course, the one that appeals to me is the one on our college recruiting website. What can I say, I am a dog person. Either that or I need to grow up…you decide. Could be both.


So you will see the theme also on our MBA site. I like that it uses actual Microsoft employees; one of my soapbox issues for a while now. We are better than stock photography or corporate models. I’m pretty sure the dog is a model though. Just a guess…I can’t find him in the address book.  It will be fun to see this campaign roll out to other places. I hope we see it on our corporate careers page.

The focus of the campaign, as you can see is the choices available to Microsoft employees in driving their careers. When I have spoken to employees about our employment brand, it’s been interesting to note the differences in asking a new employee “Why did you choose Microsoft?” and asking a tenured employee “Why do you stay at Microsoft?”. There is definitely some cross-over but there are things that you come to really appreciate as an employee that you didn’t expect. I think the theme of choices resonates well with tenured as well as new (or potential) employees. You have choices to make coming in (have you seen the listings on our careers site?) and you have choices to make when you get here. Specifically in marketing, when you talk to a long time employee and ask them about what they have done at Microsoft, you’ll generally hear a number of different roles in different groups. Microsoft as a company appreciates a well-rounded individual. For the individual employee, the benefit is the ability to round out your skill set and not get bored doing the same thing.

I’ve had choices in my history though my path here could be thought of as linear. My passions are the candidate experience, candidate generation, candidate engagement. So I have been able to find (or in some situations craft) roles where I can focus on on those things rather than running interview days. That ability to work in my passion zone has been what has kept me interested, engaged and productive. I suspect that I would struggle personally if I were still running interview days and negotiating offers (and boy do I appreciate our Staffing partners that handle that piece so we can concentrate on what we are good at). So yeah, I have always been in Staffing (it’s my thing) and maybe someday I’ll try something else (maybe marketing, maybe not) but I’ve still had the benefit of making career choices here.

So what do you guys think of the campaign? How important are options/choices in making a career decision? Is that something that you are thinking of in deciding on a new position? And if you were the dog, which would you choose?

Comments (9)

  1. Christine says:

    I think this is a great campaign!  I imagine it’ll be especially persuasive to the under-30 crowd, as we got graduate degrees in record numbers, but many of these degrees don’t correlate whatsoever to the corporate sector (I have two religion degrees–one from Vanderbilt, the other from Harvard, and neither helped me get my job in Internet Marketing).  We know we HAVE skills, but before we really get going, we don’t know what they are.  We don’t know what we will enjoy the most, so we hop on and have a go.  Knowing I had choices was part of why I ended up at my current company–I figured I could try to switch departments if I didn’t like what I did, and big shock, that’s exactly what I did.  

    My generation likes flexibility as we find uses for our talents.  Many of us did not follow prescribed career paths and realize we have to create our own as we go.  This is why the "Options are good" marketing campaign should work well in recruiting from the under-30 set!

  2. Vicki says:

    Good campaign – wrong dog breed. The Boston Terrier has been used a lot for prescription drugs (remember the one about allergies?).

    I’m a dog/cat person – so I can remain neutral – even if I have the BEST Chihuahua in the world. 😉

    In regards to your questions about career paths and choices – it is so important to have an employer who provides options! Maybe I am in marketing now, but I’m also working in education – I would like a mix of the two disciplines – or maybe get into training? How about relocation to a different area all together?

    Today’s generation only knows loyalty when they are valued in an organization. The underappreciated employee will find options and choices -elsewhere.

    I like that Microsoft looks to keep talent by letting them know they are talented – and allow them to use their skills elsewhere if they so choose.

    Awesome stuff.

    Now if only I can find that niche in Microsoft and they will call me . . . . 😉

  3. Bad_Brad says:

    To answer your questions:

    So what do you guys think of the campaign?

    Quite honestly, I think the Microsoft brand stands well on its own without a campaign.

    How important are options/choices in making a career decision?

    I think for many new MBA’s, they are more excited about just getting their foot in the door at a big-time company like Microsoft with a lot of opportunities.  In a way, I think it goes without saying that there are many "options" at a place like Microsoft, but it never hurts to make it very clear upfront that, here, you will not be pigeon-holed into doing one thing for the rest of your career.  Unless that’s what you want.  For some candidates with a very specific focus, maybe it is.  But for candidates who want to become well-rounded, I think knowing that there are lots of options is very important.  But like I said, I think it goes without saying at a company as vast and diverse as Microsoft.

    Is that something that you are thinking of in deciding on a new position?

    Yes.  Absolutely.  At this stage of my career, I would be completely remiss if I didn’t consider how a position will prepare me and develop me for the next step.  In fact, this is probably the #1 consideration.

    And if you were the dog, which would you choose?

    I would choose the mailbox, since it gets used every day.  That way, my workmanship would be sure to be noticed.  If I chose the fire hydrant, it might be weeks or even months before anyone noticed my handy-work.

  4. Bhaskar says:


    I should admit that i am really impressed with the way "options" are being mentioned for choosing careers.I was just trying to understand if Microsoft offers similar options to those who are in europe/U.K.

    As I have moved to UK recently from USA,I was trying to understand the operations of microsoft in europe.



  5. HeatherLeigh says:

    Christine-great point. It may be a gen Y thing (I’m making assumptions).

    Vicki- see now some "bog dog" people (like myself) may wish for a black lab or seomthing. I try to remain dog agnostic.

    Bad_Brad, awesome feedback..thanks! I also chose the mailbox but for different reasons. Neutral color and natural fibers : ) I can absolutely appreciate the need for ones work to be noticed, which is exactly why "good potty" is a common refrain in my backyard. I swear my dog smiles at me when I say that. We all want to be appreciated for what we are good at! Hah!

    Bhaskar- I don’t recruit in the UK, so I don’t really have an official answer to that question. My assumption would be that the opportunity to choose ones career path would be similar in our subsidiaries.

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    Ew, see…I said "bog dog"…I meant "big dog".

  7. RJD says:

    Love it!  I probably need to grow up, too…

    As a developer, options are hugely important to me.  Microsoft has the allure of working on something cool, and then possibly working on something else cool.  Or staying with the cool thing you were working on and doing something a little different.  But I’m the kind of person to pick up my own cheese and take it someplace else.

    I think part of what makes this funny is that the dog is an ugly little puggy thing.  Wouldn’t be the same with a Golden or a Lab.  You’d get the Orvis crowd then.

  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    Awww, all doggies are cute!

  9. RJD says:

    Golden Retriever puppies are cute.  This fella may be endearing, but not cute.  Unless you mean "so ugly it’s cute".