…and the Best Recruiting Website Is the Army’s

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I was just checking out the 2007 winners of the Webby awards. The gala event isn’t till June, but the winners are posted here. Anyway, I look at it as sort of a best-of-the-web (or someone’s idea of that), so I checked out the winners under the “employment” category.

Surprise: the Webby winner is the Army recruitment site. Recruiters and jobseekers, even if you have zippo interest in strapping on the combat boots, you’ve got to check out this site. It’s got it all:
• visual punch
• useful content
• entertainment value enough to keep you coming back.

The site opens with a grainy video showing shots of the multitudinous jobs one can perform as a member of the armed services. Then, wait for it: the screen blackens, and six uniformed service members step forward from an inky background. By running your cursor over them, a tab clicks up with a computer-y bleep with their names, jobs and ranks. Once you click on one of them–say, Verdo Jackson, Blackhawk pilot and chief warrant officer 2–the others take a step back into the darkness! Awesome!

What follows is a Hollywood-quality video starring Jackson, who, I might add, is Hollywood handsome. He quickly describes his job against the glamourous prop of a real Blackhawk. His sign-off grin alone is worth hitting the replay.

You can download a video game to test if your reflexes and aptitude match those of a potential pilot. Me with my granny eyesight, I moved on to the pretty mosaic of hundreds of Army jobs, each with brief descriptions that pop up upon click–personnel management systems, financial analyst.

If you want to get into the whole thing about why the Army needs such a razzle-dazzle recruitment site, and how it’s clearly targeting young and impressionable citizens with its games and videos, and how you and I are financing this site with our tax dollars…well, my friends, that’s another discussion. But this war for talent I keep hearing about: doesn’t the Army’s site up the game a little?

Check out, by way of comparison, this civilian site, recipient of another Webby under the “associations” category. It’s called Dream !t Do !t, with the “I”s rendered as exclamation points, in and of itself a turnoff. It appears to be designed for college-age jobseekers wondering what the heck to do with their lives. The site is cute and unpretentious, but it’s also poorly written and its architecture is annoying.

Everything about the site shouts, Come hither, Gen Y. There’s a collection of videos featuring cool careers; in the one about industrial design, a flat-topped blond guy talks about his background in sculpture and machining as the camera moves all MTV-jerky over the pieces on his worktable.

You can take a career quiz that’s meant to point you toward a general area best suited to your personality. It’s silly and sort of cute, though, again, the bad writing irks me. I refuse to believe that the texting generation has no clue about grammar. Hire an editor, people. I mean, come on. The quiz begins:

This isn’t Jeopardy. There are 20 questions and you can’t get a single one wrong. Plus, it’s fun (not summer vacation in Vegas kind of fun, but still…). In the end, we’ll tell you what types of careers you’ll probably be happiest in. And really, isn’t that what you’re here for? Simply give us an honest answer to the questions below, and we’ll give you an idea about where your passion might lie. It’s not the end-all be-all answer to your prayers, but it’s a really good place to find some of the best careers around.

Based on my answers to deep questions about whether I’d prefer to meet Oprah or the Donald and what I’d bring to a desert island, this is the answer:

A creative job is most likely to be your dream career, so you probably shouldn’t bother with formulas and bar graphs. You usually like the challenge of creative something out of nothing – it’s a skill not everyone has. Maybe you’ll design the world’s fastest production car. Maybe you’ll be a staff writer for a stereo manufacturer or create the first full-body airbag. Either way, your creativity will be the key. Making things, big ideas, new ways to do stuff – it’s what you’re best at. We’d tell you exactly what you should do, but something tells us you’ve invented some pretty good ideas already.

What the heck kind of job is “staff writer for a stereo manufacturer”?

Based on these web sites, I’d rather be a Blackhawk pilot. Think they’d consider a 36-year-old mom with pindot eyes?