CXR Recommends [Book]: Give & Get Employer Branding

As a card-carrying radical student of the recruiting landscape for more than 50 years, I could simply write a few sentences, implore you to read Give and Get Employer Branding and move on. However, this book offers a truly different approach to employer branding that justifies an enthusiastic review

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are.
You trade in your reality for a role.
You trade in your sense for an act.
You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask.
There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level.
It’s got to happen inside first.”

An attainable revolution in employer branding 

More than enjoying the intellectual components of Give and Get’s model, there are truly revolutionary possibilities afoot here. Not new in the ‘Aha!’ sense but, in the way these two authors present their ideas – systematically, discussed case-by-case, and always, always doable, so that we know we too can execute successfully. Give and Get offers us the means to change our piece of the landscape going forward…not just in degree but in kind. What we must bring to this party is a choice to step up to the promise found here.

Revolution is a misused term. Arguably it is the most common metaphor for how we translate the confusion of change around us – nearly 40,000 book titles on Amazon use the word in their title. It’s time we get back to the basic Webster Dictionary definition of revolution: “The forcible overthrow of a social order, in favor of a new system.” Implicit in this definition, especially in the context of recruiting, is the fact that it isn’t just about making tools, concepts and models (like those available in Give and Get). Rather, it is combining them with candidates and recruiting leaders who step up to shift the focus away from doing more of the same thing to doing something completely different. From sales to informed choice. From screening candidates to candidates screening employers.

Give and Get advances the notion that we need to “repel the many and compel the few.” It focuses that notion around meaningful issues such as aligning to a candidate’s purpose, potential impact and sense of belonging with full transparency. The authors are fomenting real change (in kind not degree) about how we attract, engage, screen and select the pool of prospects. Looked at from this perspective, the center of gravity of the hiring decision shifts dramatically.

Turning the traditional candidate experience upside-down

Thomas Kuhn explains in his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, that a true revolution shifts from examining existing problems to challenging the basic notion of what is a problem. Challenges that foster controversies that become defining characteristics of a new order. When Give and Get focuses on telling the truth to ensure candidates can make informed decisions, traditional notions of who is in charge of selection decisions and the order in which those decisions can be made are turned upside down. This is frightening to traditional models.

If you bow to an employer’s traditional notions of reducing risk, putting the best spin on the work, and manufacturing engaging content at the cost of a deeper understanding and support of how good choices are made, you will read Give and Get and perhaps nod in agreement with little to no incentive to apply what you might learn (save whining about why ‘they’ aren’t letting you accomplish what’s possible). If that’s the case, save your money.

If instead you apply what you learn to your own purpose, your desire for impact and sense of belonging, and examine what you are willing to risk in that light, you might then imagine the possibilities and choose to influence them. This is the book for you.

Perhaps Israeli Professors Noam Tirosh and Amit Schejter said it best in their 2017 digital blog, Who Benefits from the so called New Media Revolution, “Revolutions are not mere changes in a perceived reality; instead, they are an inherent alteration of the foundation of reality.”

Note: This is an edited and condensed version of the Forward Gerry wrote for the Book Give & Get – Employer Branding by Bryan Adams and Charlotte Marshall. Charlotte is a CXR member.


Picture of Gerry Crispin

Gerry Crispin

Gerry co-authored eight books on the evolution of staffing and has written 100s of articles and whitepapers on similar topics during a career in Human Resources that spans more than 40 years from HR leadership positions at Johnson and Johnson; to boutique Executive Search firms; a Career Services Director at the University where he received his Engineering and 2 advanced degrees in Organizational/Industrial Behavior; and, GM of a major recruitment advertising firm even as he launched CareerXroads 25 years ago.

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