Self-interest trumps altruism

Yet many job ads bang on about the company vision and mission and values rather than explaining what’s in it for the candidate.

Major Players did some research in May 2021 to discover the key determinants when choosing a job. The social purpose of the organisation was ranked bottom of a list of 10 in 13 different categories.

You might think millennials care more. But this applies across all candidate demographics. See the Generations book by Bobby Duffy, which explodes the myth of generational differences between millennials and gen Z on issues such as gender equality, racial equality and climate change.

What people (of all ages) think, say and do isn’t congruent. When asked if you would boycott a company with a terrible record on tax, staff treatment, and polluting the environment, you’d probably say “Yes”. However, when asked if you’ve ever bought something from Amazon, you’d probably say “Yes”.

Outside recruitment (but still relevant), a white paper by Tenzer and Murray called ‘The Aspiration Window’ measured drivers to purchase. They found just 1 in 10 people say “a brand’s position on social issues” or their “political stance and affiliations” played a role in their buying decisions. One in ten.

Candidates are people too… so it’s the same for job ads (where ‘purchase decision’ equates to ‘decision to apply’).

So why focus on the company vision and mission and values in your job ads? It’s not what 90% of people are interested in.

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