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Employers are consumers, too – and they aren’t always rational

employers are consumersWhy would I focus on the idea that employers are consumers? After all, everyone knows that…right?


To put it discreetly, sometimes we ‘forget’. We think that employers:

  • know exactly what they want
  • know exactly how to articulate what they want
  • know why your offering is better than (insert your most successful competitor’s name)
  • always maked rational decisions

Guess what? We are quite often wrong.

A basic fact of marketing is that your target audience is ‘overcommunicated’. In other words, they are flooded with marketing messages and information. What happens when someone is overwhelmed with messages?

a) they shut down – and ignore the messages, or…

b) they remember the most prevalent message, or..

c) they remember the first message

So why would employers be any different from any other consumer out there? No matter if the corporate VP of HR is making the buying decision, or a lowly HR generalist, or even a hiring manager – they are all human, and they are all overcommunicated. So when they have a position (or 50) to fill, they try to make what they believe is a rational decision. And their decision is based on…what they have in front of them.  Perhaps this information is the result of an internet search. Or the last HR conference they went to. Or the recommendations of their team. Or what they heard on the radio or saw on television or a streaming service or…

You get the picture. They make a decision based on incomplete informationmarketing messagespast experience, or simply something random that’s caught their attention. In short – this decision is not a rational decision.

Well, that’s ok. I call this situation ‘living in the real world’. And as a job board, you should not assume that employers will make rational decisions – and thus pick your job board. Instead, understand that employers – like all of us consumers – will make buying decisions for a lot of reasons. So what do you do?

Meet them where they are. If they are doing internet research, make sure that your pitch to employers shows up in relevant searches. If they are relying on HR conferences, make sure that your site is represented. If they are influenced by ads, make sure your ads show up. And so on.

Don’t assume rational decision making! (Sure, you can hope for it, just like I hope for a return to warmer temperatures!) And meet your employers where they are. Remember, employers are consumers, too.

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