Would you join a company just cause they let you blog?

Every once in a while someone comes up to me in the hallways or in a cafeteria here and says "I joined Microsoft because of Channel 9 and your blog."

That really used to freak me out because I didn't think that was a logical reason to join a company. But then I started asking them more about why they say that. Most answer one, or both, of two reasons: 1) The company seemed a lot more fun/interesting or less evil to work at after they watched the videos. 2) They wanted to work someplace where you could talk with customers without worrying too much about "the rules."

Anyway, Dennis Howlett looked into this a bit more and I sent him over to our HR/Recruiting department (which has a couple of good bloggers) to see if they had any "numbers." Dennis linked to the answer. I forgot about this one, but last year more than 3,000 resumes came in through our employee blogs just Gretchen's blog. 137 people were hired this way.

Small numbers, yes, but this is a young trend. What will it look like in 10 years?

Separately I hear that Channel 9 is the #1 most referred to thing by college recruits. I'm trying to get actual numbers on that, if you know, please post them. (Last month we passed three million unique visitors for the first time, yowza!)

Sigh, why didn't I remember these numbers when I was at Amazon last week?

On a similar topic, the Wall Street Journal today printed an article about corporate blogging (that link takes you to Jeffrey Treem's blog, the WSJ article isn't on the Net yet) and included Microsoft in it again. Yet another reason for letting your employees blog: better PR.

80 thoughts on “Would you join a company just cause they let you blog?

  1. I blog to demystify our recruiting process

    Maybe making it not so byzantine (in the first place) might help?

  2. I blog to demystify our recruiting process

    Maybe making it not so byzantine (in the first place) might help?

  3. My thesis is that they would have been far less likely to turn corrupt.

    Your blind utopian faith in mankind (and blogs) is beyond naive…of course such would of happened, they greased everyone’s hands, even analysts and the accountants (it all lead to the downfall of Arthur Andersen, member?), some spoon-fed blogger that doesn’t do heavy 9 to 5 investigative reporting would never discover the truth, and if they did, they’d be gone in under 2 seconds, and most likely sued. It happens to most whistleblowers. Even the big short sellers couldn’t rattle that cage, so some twiddling geeky bloggers gonna reverse human nature? Not a chance.

    Does your blogging stop bad things from happening at Microsoft? No. Did it stop the ‘stealing fonts’ issue? You are but post-reaction, not pre, pre will get you in NDA trouble and mostly likely fired.

  4. My thesis is that they would have been far less likely to turn corrupt.

    Your blind utopian faith in mankind (and blogs) is beyond naive…of course such would of happened, they greased everyone’s hands, even analysts and the accountants (it all lead to the downfall of Arthur Andersen, member?), some spoon-fed blogger that doesn’t do heavy 9 to 5 investigative reporting would never discover the truth, and if they did, they’d be gone in under 2 seconds, and most likely sued. It happens to most whistleblowers. Even the big short sellers couldn’t rattle that cage, so some twiddling geeky bloggers gonna reverse human nature? Not a chance.

    Does your blogging stop bad things from happening at Microsoft? No. Did it stop the ‘stealing fonts’ issue? You are but post-reaction, not pre, pre will get you in NDA trouble and mostly likely fired.

  5. @38. It’s clear from your blog soliciting resumes is not the goal. Which is why I find the discussion of the numbers a bit confusing. And more important, why Scoble even mentioned them.. given that he’s gone on record as saying blogging is “not about the numbers”. Very curious.

    @36. See answer above. If blogging is not about the numbers, then why even bring it up? And as for the resumes.. sure, perhaps. Then again, wearing a sandwich board on the corner of 156th and 40th might also have been just as effective in generating resumes. We’ll never know for sure,since.. well..it’s not about the numbers.

    And there is a difference between having a policy against blogging, having a policy encouraging blogging, and not caring one way or the other if your employees blog. One could just as accurately say Microsoft “let’s you drive to work”. My question remains unanswered: are there MS employees that are rewarded for blogging over those that choose not to? If so, then yes MS encourages blogging. If not, then I submit MS doesn’t care one way or the other.

  6. @38. It’s clear from your blog soliciting resumes is not the goal. Which is why I find the discussion of the numbers a bit confusing. And more important, why Scoble even mentioned them.. given that he’s gone on record as saying blogging is “not about the numbers”. Very curious.

    @36. See answer above. If blogging is not about the numbers, then why even bring it up? And as for the resumes.. sure, perhaps. Then again, wearing a sandwich board on the corner of 156th and 40th might also have been just as effective in generating resumes. We’ll never know for sure,since.. well..it’s not about the numbers.

    And there is a difference between having a policy against blogging, having a policy encouraging blogging, and not caring one way or the other if your employees blog. One could just as accurately say Microsoft “let’s you drive to work”. My question remains unanswered: are there MS employees that are rewarded for blogging over those that choose not to? If so, then yes MS encourages blogging. If not, then I submit MS doesn’t care one way or the other.

  7. Dmad – We would have gotten some, but not all, of those resumes had we not blogged, and actually our through-put for the blogging efforts is quite good compared to traditional means. And as Robert says, blogging is not a replacement for traditional means – just a supplement.

    But all of that aside, soliciting resumes is NOT the reason I blog. I blog to demystify our recruiting process and help people who have already decided to apply or interview be better prepared. Extra applicants is just icing on the cake.

  8. Dmad – We would have gotten some, but not all, of those resumes had we not blogged, and actually our through-put for the blogging efforts is quite good compared to traditional means. And as Robert says, blogging is not a replacement for traditional means – just a supplement.

    But all of that aside, soliciting resumes is NOT the reason I blog. I blog to demystify our recruiting process and help people who have already decided to apply or interview be better prepared. Extra applicants is just icing on the cake.

  9. Christopher: if blogging were allowed inside Enron or Global Crossing, would those companies have turned into the corrupt enterprises that they did?

    My thesis is that they would have been far less likely to turn corrupt.

  10. Christopher: if blogging were allowed inside Enron or Global Crossing, would those companies have turned into the corrupt enterprises that they did?

    My thesis is that they would have been far less likely to turn corrupt.

  11. Dmad: I never said blogging was a replacement for other methods. I just note that we got 3,000 resumes through Gretchen’s blog last year. Would we have gotten them if we didn’t have blogs? Maybe, but I doubt it after talking to some of the people who’ve joined Microsoft in the past year.

    As for “letting me blog.” Well, some of our competitors tell their employees not to blog and threaten their jobs if they do so. So, yes, Microsoft lets me blog is an accurate statement.

  12. Dmad: I never said blogging was a replacement for other methods. I just note that we got 3,000 resumes through Gretchen’s blog last year. Would we have gotten them if we didn’t have blogs? Maybe, but I doubt it after talking to some of the people who’ve joined Microsoft in the past year.

    As for “letting me blog.” Well, some of our competitors tell their employees not to blog and threaten their jobs if they do so. So, yes, Microsoft lets me blog is an accurate statement.

  13. I took up my current job not because Salesforce.com *lets* me blog, but because I am *encouraged* to blog. There’s a big difference.

    And plus, I love the passion of the SFDC community – low on buzzwords, high on getting things done. I like.

  14. I took up my current job not because Salesforce.com *lets* me blog, but because I am *encouraged* to blog. There’s a big difference.

    And plus, I love the passion of the SFDC community – low on buzzwords, high on getting things done. I like.

  15. Robert, a different way to look at your question is to consider blogs as a new job search tool for applicants.

    The company I work at, Tucows, has an in-house blogger, Joey Devilla who has a personal blog and developer relations blogs.

    When I was doing my job search and interview process with Tucows, I used Joey’s blog as a background check on Tucows. For example, did he write about the frustrations of work or his enjoyment of it? What did he do on the weekends? Work or enjoy the other parts of his life?

    My best tip for job research now is type ‘working at xyz company’ in Google and look for the blogs. It says alot if a person has a picture of their car in an empty parking lot with the caption ‘leaving work’. (I found that too!)
    siobhan

  16. Robert, a different way to look at your question is to consider blogs as a new job search tool for applicants.

    The company I work at, Tucows, has an in-house blogger, Joey Devilla who has a personal blog and developer relations blogs.

    When I was doing my job search and interview process with Tucows, I used Joey’s blog as a background check on Tucows. For example, did he write about the frustrations of work or his enjoyment of it? What did he do on the weekends? Work or enjoy the other parts of his life?

    My best tip for job research now is type ‘working at xyz company’ in Google and look for the blogs. It says alot if a person has a picture of their car in an empty parking lot with the caption ‘leaving work’. (I found that too!)
    siobhan

  17. Scoble, Gretchens numbers are a bit confusing. If I take them as written it would seem only .04% of the job applicants were hired from resumes coming in via job blogs. And it would appear only .01% were hired directly through JobBlogs. I gotta believe MS has a much better hiring percentage through traditional recruiting methods. This is hardly a testimony of the success of recruiting via blogging.

  18. Scoble, Gretchens numbers are a bit confusing. If I take them as written it would seem only .04% of the job applicants were hired from resumes coming in via job blogs. And it would appear only .01% were hired directly through JobBlogs. I gotta believe MS has a much better hiring percentage through traditional recruiting methods. This is hardly a testimony of the success of recruiting via blogging.

  19. Scoble, are you saying the Channel 9 is the thing that tips recruits to Microsoft over, say, Google? Or are you saying that of the recruits the MS has to ultimately settle on, Channel 9 was the one thing they said looked pretty cool about MS? Just wondering if Channel 9 is helping MS win people that would have otherwise gone with an otherwise more attractive offer?

  20. Scoble, are you saying the Channel 9 is the thing that tips recruits to Microsoft over, say, Google? Or are you saying that of the recruits the MS has to ultimately settle on, Channel 9 was the one thing they said looked pretty cool about MS? Just wondering if Channel 9 is helping MS win people that would have otherwise gone with an otherwise more attractive offer?

  21. Blogging shows an active and interested mind. It also presents a sample of what you’re capable of as a writer. While I wouldn’t consider the ability to blog to be a primary or even secondary reason for joining a company, you may be a more interesting applicant BECAUSE you blog, particularly if writing is part of the job description.

  22. @20. Again, all great for you, and marginal benefits for Microsoft. And, it appears that YOU are choosing to blogging. This is far different from MS “letting you blog”. Again, they seem to be neutral on their employess blogging. They neither encourage or discourage it–as part of the employees jobs.

    The real barometer would be if, all things being equal, someone were to be rewarded for blogging over someone who didn’t. Does that happen? I’ll repeat my oft asked question: Has blogging had a direct impact on MS sales and profits? For a company to “let their employees blog”, or even implement it as policy, it would want to see an ultimate impact on their bottom line. This was the crux of the Amazon debate.

    And from what I can tell, MS has had many programs, long before blogging, the encouraged employess to “talk directly to customers”. How successful those are is a different debate. While a tool to faclilitate interaction (provided comments are encourged), I would hardly classify blogging as “talking directly to the customer”. As Mini-Microsoft’s blog indicates… ACPOTI.

  23. Blogging shows an active and interested mind. It also presents a sample of what you’re capable of as a writer. While I wouldn’t consider the ability to blog to be a primary or even secondary reason for joining a company, you may be a more interesting applicant BECAUSE you blog, particularly if writing is part of the job description.

  24. @20. Again, all great for you, and marginal benefits for Microsoft. And, it appears that YOU are choosing to blogging. This is far different from MS “letting you blog”. Again, they seem to be neutral on their employess blogging. They neither encourage or discourage it–as part of the employees jobs.

    The real barometer would be if, all things being equal, someone were to be rewarded for blogging over someone who didn’t. Does that happen? I’ll repeat my oft asked question: Has blogging had a direct impact on MS sales and profits? For a company to “let their employees blog”, or even implement it as policy, it would want to see an ultimate impact on their bottom line. This was the crux of the Amazon debate.

    And from what I can tell, MS has had many programs, long before blogging, the encouraged employess to “talk directly to customers”. How successful those are is a different debate. While a tool to faclilitate interaction (provided comments are encourged), I would hardly classify blogging as “talking directly to the customer”. As Mini-Microsoft’s blog indicates… ACPOTI.

  25. I think blogging helps to bring a personal touch to a corporate face, it’s easy to forget there are real people behind big companies. For employees I think it really helps them to engage the customers if you have the means to freely talk to them. While the company I work for doesn’t blog I have used Amazon customer reviews of our products and forums to help gauge real customer opinion. I would certainly consider encouragement to blog by an employer a perk.

  26. I think blogging helps to bring a personal touch to a corporate face, it’s easy to forget there are real people behind big companies. For employees I think it really helps them to engage the customers if you have the means to freely talk to them. While the company I work for doesn’t blog I have used Amazon customer reviews of our products and forums to help gauge real customer opinion. I would certainly consider encouragement to blog by an employer a perk.

  27. Ummm, no. I wouldn’t join say a company like Enron or Global Crossing, even if they let me blog all the live long day. Besides with Microsoft, most of the bloggers are but puffy pointless cheerleading Evangelistic rot, while the company steers the ship into vaporware icebergs.

Comments are closed.