By Kevin W. Grossman

Fascinating. The fact that there are legions of fetal cells that hang out inside a mother for decades after she gives birth – and that they might even help heal her when she’s sick or hurt.

But whether they hurt her or not isn’t as simple as it seems, according to research by Dr. Kirby Johnson at Tufts University, which I learned about from a recent Radiolab podcast. At first, when Kirby and his team were analyzing the data, it seemed as though (and they romanticized as such) that maybe the fetal cells were actually helping healing the mother’s liver infection, or bladder infection, or whatever ailed her.
Not the case – in fact, sometimes they fetal cells were actually attacking the Mama’s organs and cells. (The Mama is what I affectionately call my wife, the mother of our lovely two little girls.) There are lots of variables that, depending on context, change the impact on the Mama.
The research continues, but it got me thinking, and you knew that was coming, about how the Mamas in your world of work and recruiting – your company career site, your company referral program, your online social networks, your talent network service, your applicant tracking system – how all of these give birth to your new employees.
Then even after new hires are birthed, there are those fetal cells that remain, meaning those who you didn’t hire. Except now they stay to be healed in a sense, not to heal, and they’ll leave to hurt if there’s no reason to stay (think slamming you on social media, Glassdoor, Vault, etc.). Whether or not they do stay to be healed, well, that all depends on a lot of factors that are based on content and the contextual quality of that content.
For example:
  • How much of your true company culture is revealed?

  • How much relevant industry content is shared?

  • How much career development advice and resources are given?

  • How easy is it to learn about other jobs they may qualify for and to apply for them?

  • How easy is it to collaborate (and commiserate) with others who have stayed, including those birthed and hired on?

There are many more examples where those came from, but the fact remains that if you want to improve the candidate experience for all who linger and long to be hired, then it’s the contextual quality of content that births those talent networks.
And heals them.


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