Et tu, Careerbuilder?

I’ve never been responsible for creating a TV spot for an online job search site but apparently it’s one of the daunting tasks imaginable.  TheLadders was universally panned for their latest efforts and on the tail of that catastrophe, CareerBuilder (the decidedly low end job board) unleashed their latest SuperBowl ad in their daily spam update today:

Never mind the jarring, relentlessly repetitive tone of the 1 minute too long TV spot, I think it completely misses the mark in today’s economic climate.  This is not the late 90s where one can safely just up and quit an annoying job knowing a potentially better one (with a signing bonus to boot) is waiting to be had.  With talk of our recession devolving into a depression, job hopping is a luxury most can’t afford.

In an era where most corporations have already gone above and beyond the call of duty to diminish the dignity of the American worker, we don’t need ads that basically scream, “You’re a loser working a dead end job.”  Furthermore, I understand the need for edgy humor, after all this is a SuperBowl ad, but punching a bespectacled koala is the best they could come up with?

Finally, the ad tells me nothing about the types of jobs available on CareerBuilder or the caliber of companies who advertise.  Assurance that legitimate companies that offer, you know, like benefits and stuff would be more of an incentive to actually view the site.  But I suppose legitimacy is too much to ask for from a site that sends me daily confirmation that I’m already pre-qualified for an interview for a salesperson job at Tri-State Honda!

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Those god-awful ads for TheLadders

Just in case, you’re one of the fortunate few who haven’t yet seen TheLadders‘ latest ad, here it is for the sake of discussion:

Isn’t it the most off-putting, juvenile ad you’ve ever seen? How could a supposedly premium professional, executive job search site conceive of, or more likely approve of, something so crass and decidedly unprofessional? In the not so distant past they used a slightly different approach (“When you let everyone play…nobody wins.”). The tennis ad still wasn’t a work of genius but it communicated their unique value proposition none too subtly – a smaller playing field greatly improves your odds as a job seeker unlike what you’ll encounter on the free for all sites, Monster, Careerbuilder, etc.

Whereas the latest ad encourages the 6 figure+ crowd to thump their chests and applaud themselves for being “big talent.” I admit, I was probably the last of my circle of peers to join the 6 figure club (much to my chagrin) and if I saw this ad while still making under $99,999, I would be too put off to join once I crossed the threshold. Is anyone naive enough to equate big money with big talent anymore? Furthermore, is 6 figures really an appropriate demarcation by today’s standards, particularly in the large urban centers that are most likely the target market? It’s barely enough to eat in the NYC area; in fact it’s embarrassingly reminiscent of Dr. Evil’s misguided notion that $1,000,000 was still worth a lot of money in 1997.

They have a slightly less off putting ad out right now, “Chairs” which features game hunters bypassing those wobbly, wholesale swivel chairs in favor of a plump, leather executive chair. Never mind their ineffective advertising strategy, I started to question the value of their service altogether. Thus far, I’ve found employment a variety of ways:

•1st job at an international freight carrier – NY Times ad
•2nd job at an international freight consolidator – hired by a customer of company #1
•3rd job at a dotcom startup – Career Fair advertised in the NY Times
•4th job at a respectable textbook publisher – NY Times ad
•5th job at an equally respectable publisher – hired by the company that bought out company #4
•6th job at a Big 4 consultancy – Monster.com ad
•7th job at a Pharmaceutical ad agency – Industry specific recruiter
•8th job at a large, North American retailer – Monster.com ad
•9th job at an international ERP company – Recruiter’s ad on the DMA website

Notice that most of them were free, save for the Sunday Times which I would’ve bought regardless of whether I was job hunting or not. Now I’ve been a paying member of TheLadders since April 2008 at $30/month which brings my total investment (tongue planted firmly in cheek) to $300. To date, I’ve only gone a grand total of 1 (one) interview through the site. It was for a VP position where the interview lasted all of 30 minutes. I invite you to draw your own conclusions as to the caliber of companies using that site.

Now excuse me while I go unsubscribe, unless anyone out there can provide a single compelling reason to continue?