The gist of this story is that labels are so interested in signing and promoting bands and artists that have begun to gain some popularity on SoundCloud or other streaming services they don’t take into account that those artists have almost no experience actually performing on stage. The labels want to tap into that buzz but find themselves trying to manage someone who can’t reliably be sent out on tour.
I’d be hard pressed to find a more perfect illustration of the current job market, at least as it’s seemed from my perspective.
One of the most common frustrations I’ve encountered is the gap between the kind of role someone is looking for, the experience and skill set they require and the salary they are willing to pay. Many job listings have read something like this:
Seeking content marketing professional to write, publish to and manage five brand profiles six days a week. Must have 10 years experience with client management, social media, direct advertising and budgeting as well as a background in journalism with extensive industry contacts. Salary: $25,000/year.
Sure. OK. Let me know how that works out for you.
I’m sure there are people out there who fit that bill, but you’ve excluded a good portion of the available applicants. That salary is going to exclude most anyone who’s more than a couple years out of school, without a family to support or mortgage to pay off. So you won’t get the experience, which comes with both “hard” skills – those directly related to the work required – and “soft” skills – the ability to adapt to a work environment, relate to colleagues and so on.
Even if salary and experience are in relative alignment, the kinds of skills listed often aren’t. They want someone who’s managed ongoing social content programs but also run large programmatic ad campaigns and run five major sponsorship-based live events.
It’s possible the problem is that job listings are still focused around roles or skills and not outcomes or goals.
Flip the script and imagine a job description written like this:
Seeking content marketing professional who can help us grow revenue via a publishing program.
That’s vastly different and opens the position up to any number of people with varying degrees of experience and who find themselves looking for work at different stages in their lives and careers. Specifically, it means two different people who have achieved that goal with two different sets of tactics and strategies are just as qualified, even if their experience isn’t exactly what the company has done before or thinks it should be doing. Someone can come in, offer their own perspective, and then be judged and reviewed according to that goal.
Instead those goals are usually offered after someone has already been hired, often as part of the annual review process. But by then the company has invested in onboarding and more. It’s a system that doesn’t adequately set expectations at the outset of the relationship, something that can be harmful for all parties.
By not focusing on looking for someone who can help you long-term, companies – like the record labels mentioned in the story above – are creating problems that have to be dealt with instead of seeking to find partners or employees who can solve those and other problems for them.