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2020: A Review (AKA How to Write a Marginally Popular Recruitment Blog)

By December 11, 2020No Comments

This blog started off as a review of 2020. However, being that this is my last hold of the Whiteboard marker for 2020, and that a 2020 “round up” is a stupid idea for a blog, I’ve decided to be slightly self-indulgent.

Firstly, I should preface that I am no expert in blog writing. We don’t have a “social media person” here at Rice. No blogs are edited or signed off by committee. In fact, most blogs aren’t even conceived before Friday morning. I write on my phone, so my spelling and grammar is often a mess, and I personally limit my writing time to 37 minutes. The exact amount of time it takes for my train to crawl between New Lynn and Britomart. We have however bashed out a blog every working Friday for over 10 years. Not many firms in any industry could demonstrate that kind of commitment to pissing people off. In that time, I’ve learnt a bit about what makes a blog hum, and what makes one slowly die a death in some lonely corner of the internet. So here’s a list of my top 5 most viewed (on LinkedIn) blogs  of 2020, and why I think it got your buttons a’clickin’.

5) How To Apply For a Job When the Market is F*cked

This was my fifth most read blog of the year. Sparked by a question from a candidate, it focused on the approach to job applications under the “new normal”. Quite frankly, this was a topic dryer than a nun’s snatch, however, it still got the love. Do you know why? I put it down to two things. Firstly, a bit of cursing in the title positions me as “edgy” and “dangerous” (and therefore hugely attractive to members of the opposite sex), and it alluded to offering some form of advice to those people looking for a job. And in mid-2020, there sure were loads of ’em! People that is, not jobs. The lesson: Inject a bit of potty mouth and dangle your carrot in front of those who need feeding.

4) Lockdown Lessons for Recruiters

A blog for those days when you have absolutely nothing to say. Written almost “stream of consciousness” in a major hurry, this one somehow hit the mark for a few people. I’m putting this down to algorithms. Perhaps the combination of the keywords “Lockdown” and “Lessons” was making LinkedIn’s dick hard that week, but this was the b-side that somehow became a hit. Or perhaps I’m being too cynical. Maybe an overall positive vibe and the suggestion that we could all learn something was right for that moment. The lesson: Either use keywords that are current, or claim to be able to teach someone something. I’m not sure which to believe.

3) “We don’t use agencies” and other lies

A more recent one that got some “action”. Basically, me letting off some steam against internal functions who claim they don’t spend anything on recruitment agencies. This was the sort of blog I enjoy writing. Half-truthful, half-agent provocateur, we even stirred up some beef in the comments. Some of which have since been deleted, so you know the blog hit the mark. As any great dictator knows, in order to win support and galvanise our position, we need a common enemy. For this week (and please, it’s just for this week. It’s all an act) I put Internal Recruiters in my sights. And the agency recruiters lapped it up. Saying something others would like to say is always going to get clicks. And annoying a specific group will usually garner comment. The lesson: poking a hornet’s nest with a stick creates a bigger reaction than reading poetry to a bee.

2) Recruiters Pull Out Early

My second most-clicked blog of 2020 contained all the elements of a marginally popular blog. Firstly, a smutty innuendo in the title with a suggestive image. Secondly, gossip. When everyone was still trying to figure out if they’d keep their job or not, a small insight to who else was walking that tightrope was welcomed. We are all voyeuristic by nature, and most of us get off on watching car crashes. And 2020 was one hell of a car crash. I also found out after the fact, that this blog was reasonably contentious, with a few people put out by its contents. So another tick for a marginally popular blog right there. The Lesson: Sex sells. And so does gossip.

1) Recruiters – Just Hang On In There

My most read and shared blog of 2020 was my most upbeat, good natured, and positive blog of 2020. How about that then? Contrary to almost everything I’ve written above, the world isn’t nearly as cynical as we’re lead to believe. This blog was about the impending disaster, and how us as recruiters, despite our faults, had the resilience to make it through to the other side. There was no controversy, no gossip, no sex, no name calling, no SEO. It was just me trying to cheer myself up when facing what was sure to be a challenging year. The lesson: You can use swear words, smut, and promises of secret intel, and write marginally popular blogs all day long. You’ll have heaps of fun, and hit the spot more often than not. But if you want to write something that’s right on the money, you can forget all the gimmicks. In a world where public social media “beefs” are all the rage, and politicians throw out more insults than policies, what the world really needs is something that puts a shit-eating grin back on your face.

Thanks for indulging me today. The final Rice blog of the year comes from Scott next week, so I’ll be seeing you all in 2021. Thank God.