GE Recruiting’s Imagination at Work

You think you’ve got it tough recruiting programmers. Pity GE. At least you can pitch your cool startup and the new app it has for tracking lost TV remotes.

What’s the GE recruiter got to pitch: “Come write the next generation of code for our washers and dryers?”

That’s not us being derisive here. That’s a perception which GE Digital’s TA group decided to face head on. Unlike those incredibly boring recruiting videos that no one but the CEO thinks are any good, GE’s new videos take a humorous swipe at its image, while making the point its programmers work on things people actually care about.

The campaign is built around Owen Richardson, an alum of the “School of Hard Knocks,” according to his now deleted LinkedIn profile. We watch him tell his friends he got a job at GE, only to be mostly pitied by one group, and one-upped by a friend who’s going to work at Zazzies, an app that puts hats on pet pictures.

Amber Grewal, GE’s head of global digital technology recruiting, told LinkedIn, that the idea is to “to change the perception that we are this big corporate company.”  “We are fun, we are lively, and we build software that makes a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”

The hilarious videos are working, Grewal says. “There’s a buzz, there’s a vibe. People always tell me it’s their favorite commercial.”

It Can Always Be Worse

CareerCast worst jobsFictitious though he may be (though there’s some chance he does exist, a LinkedIn source told us), Owen could be telling his friends he had just taken a job as a newspaper reporter, or an insurance underwriter. The pity then would be entirely justified.

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Neither of those occupations has much of a future, according to research by CareerCast, the job board provider. On its list of the 10 most endangered jobs, reporter ranks fourth; underwriter is at least nineth. But nothing is more endangered than postal worker, due entirely to what you are doing right now, checking the Internet.

Or Change the Title?

If you have a friend with a job on this list, do the kind thing and suggest they change the title. Heck, it’s working for HR. Back in the day, the title was Personnel Director or, in a union shop, Director of Industrial Relations. (Some of them are still around.)

But those are so uncool titles. Too pedestrian. So then they became Human Resources, and the top dog in the department was a VP or, if the company is big enough, Chief Human Resources Officer, or CHRO, pronounced like the tasty treat.

From sourcer Karen Azulai now comes news that HR titles are evolving still further. Among the more esoteric titles she’s come across are these: Head of Talent and Happiness, The Happiness Inspirer, Chief of Happiness, and Director of First Impressions.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.