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What career orientation can you offer your candidate?

In B2B marketing, we aim to convince other businesses that our product is the best, or at least the one the better fits their objectives. Similarly, in B2C marketing we target consumer needs and desires. Such needs are different from one to another, but the basic marketing mechanism is the same: find what your target audience cares about and show in a compelling way you have what they are looking for.

Career Orientation

In B2H marketing – marketing of your company as a workplace to retain existing employees and to attract new hires – the same logic applies. (Deliberately I mention retention first, since most of us think that looking for new ones is more important in terms for customers and employees, than retaining existing ones. Retention is not only is cheaper but it can bring new customers and hires as well.) So it is important to understand what people look for in a company and who your working environment can fit.

Let’s get back to theory, or at least one out of many possible HR theories:

In Managing the New Careerists, former BYU management professor C. Brooklyn Derr outlines a helpful framework to understand what people are looking for in a work place. He claims people display predominantly one of 5 career orientations[i]:

  1. Advancement: people looking for moving up: getting promoted, being a manager or partner, getting more power.

  2. Security: people who look for job security and stability, even in exchange of a boring job.

  3. Freedom: people who are interested in doing things their “own way”, with not too many people telling them what to do, and even not many people they are responsible for.

  4. Challenge: people interested in mastering their skills and profession, and solving ever harder problems.

  5. Balance: people looking for work-life balance.

True, not only people look for different values but also companies display different cultures that highlight different aspects. At the very best case, a company may have different positions that are more suitable for this or that career orientation. In any case, it’s important to have such framework in mind when promoting the company as a whole or a specific job.

For example, a person looking for a stability will not fit into a high-risk start-up environment. Similarly, someone interested in fast upward mobility will feel outplaced in a slow-moving company.

[i] A good summary can be found here:

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