I’m not new to the rodeo. I’ve been in recruiting for many years. For those of us who are “seasoned,” we have plenty of stories to share and things we have learned through the years. I’d like to use this opportunity to tell you about one of those times when you experience one of the game changers. We’re not just talking about resume builder, but really being a part of something great! If you have had this opportunity, share your story in the comments section.
My game changer started in August 2012 when I joined a company called ExactTarget, a leader in the marketing industry. The company had just gone public in March, and it was known for its “orange” culture. It’s helpful to understand what orange was to not only the culture of the organization but the community of Indianapolis and overall marketing industry. This little company built on orange values would be acquired by the behemoth called Salesforce for $2.5 billion in the summer of 2014.
ExactTarget had a “rep” around town that was established way before my arrival by the founders and the employees who carried the orange torch. At that time Scott Dorsey was the CEO and was always passionate about talking about the “orange culture” that was unique to ExactTarget. Knowing a little about the company is important. As a recruiting leader, your culture is the differentiator in this candidate market we live in today. It’s the experience the organization gives them during the candidate journey that makes them want to work for you and be part of the success story.
Here’s a portion of a blog post I wrote while with ExactTarget highlighting how we lived our core values:
“In short, our ExactTarget employees treat people well. It could be that Midwest hospitality but many people describe us as easy to do business with and that we make our clients look like heroes. This goes for internally and externally because we stay true to permission by empowering marketers through software.
We look for people who have an entrepreneurial spirit; because you will make decisions like an owner and pursue goals as a team!”
Here are a few examples of the “orange experience”:
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Engaging people in your recruiting experience outside the organization: When a candidate was flying into Indianapolis for an interview, every touch point was covered. This included everything from the limo driver who picked them up at the airport to the hotel staff who had their room stocked with orange swag waiting for them, including a branded room key. On the day of the interview, candidates were welcomed like someone you would invite to your home. After the visit we would send them a personalized thank-you card for considering us.
Spreading the love by employer branding: The ExactTarget orange culture was far-reaching. Its influence spread far outside the Indianapolis metro area. Employees wanted to show orange love for the company. Some collectable items included ExactTarget themed t-shirts, backpacks, pins, and pens. Even after leaving ExactTarget, I am still proud to wear my #foreverorange t-shirt. Who buys a T-shirt for a company no one works for anymore?
Of course there were times when we didn’t hire a candidate. The orange experience continues even for candidates that weren’t hired. Most candidates have very little expectation they will hear back from a company. If they do, it’s the standard “thanks but no thanks” email. Make it personal. Even if they were not a fit for us, we would personally write or call these candidates in order to still keep them engaged. Often, they appreciated the personal touch and even referred someone to us for the position they didn’t get.
One of the core values of ExactTarget was to treat people well. If you do that one thing, you will make an impact not only in your hiring goals but also in someone’s life.