Better Recruiting for Growing Companies

BLR’s RecruitCon in Las Vegas included a session from thought leader John Sullivan, PhD on how to be an aggressive recruiter. Let’s take a look at what he had to say.

Is Top Talent Worth the Effort?

You only need these advanced recruiting approaches if you’re targeting innovators and top performers, Sullivan says.  How important is that? According to one University of Indiana study, says Sullivan, the top 1% of your workforce produces 5% of your total output, and the top 5% produces 26% of your output. Food for thought.

They Call It a War for a Reason

They call it war for a reason, says Sullivan.  You have no chance unless you are mega-aggressive. If you want to do “shock and awe” recruiting, Sullivan says, remember:

  • Aggressiveness requires boldness and risk-taking—if you meet the boldness standard, people will literally say WOW, everyone will talk about your approach on social media and your own firm’s lawyers and HR people will be nervous.
  • Your approach must be first and unique—being first gets you “talked about” but once everyone uses your approach, it loses its impact.
  • The most talented have already been taken by other firms—so to pull working people away … it takes a powerful and compelling sales pitch.
  • Expect your competitors to be offended—if you’re doing it right, competitors will be [upset].

Is This California Job Post Aggressive?

Searching for 2 [expletive deleted] Great Developers—at ______________ ($115K–$140K/yr) (San Diego) 

If you’re a great [expletive deleted] developer who wants to make a bunch of money working somewhere awesome, then keep reading. 

We’re a San Diego Tech Company (relocation covered for the right candidates) that’s looking for not one but two awesome developers…. This quarter, you’ll be adding kick-ass new features to our already massively successful products … you’ll be working on any number of projects like new products, internal tools, improving our already [expletive deleted] great scalable architecture, or skunk works machine learning data analysis for new product R&D.

Utilizing a Dating Site for Hiring

A London start-up that works with chefs has been successfully recruiting chefs utilizing the dating site Tinder. The recruiter was using Tinder for dating and saw some profiles of people who were wearing aprons. The recruiter approached them and asked if they were chefs, saying, “I’m interested in hiring you.”

* Not that we advocate using dating sites for hiring, imagine the potential for legal nightmares!

Proximity Recruiting—the Creative Way

The best talent is already employed, so you must raid their firm to get them, says Sullivan. Some tactics:

  • One company drove a van with a recruiting sign around the neighborhood of their competitor.
  • A competitor that shared a building with Yahoo!® posted this in the restroom at the “Yahoo’s think tank”
    • We are HIRING?
      Web Developers
      Interaction Designers
      Visual designers
      We are located on the 2nd floor; Come in and introduce yourself.
  • Meanwhile another company parked a taco truck across from Yahoo’s HQ, and another had a coffee cart recruiting at the Google bus stop.
  • Another was offering “poached” egg sandwiches and coffee recruiting at hi-tech bus stops.
  • Another offered a lifetime supply of Pabst Blue Ribbon, “authentic” skinny jeans, striped bowties, a pair of Buddy Holly glasses, and $10,000.

Scopely’s Dos Equis Approach  

Another outrageous offer was inspired by Dos Equis’s “Most Interesting Man in the World.” Hired engineers received a year’s supply of Dos Equis®, a custom-made tuxedo, cigars, Sex Panther cologne, a spear gun, beard-grooming oil, an oil painting of themselves, and a sign-on bonus that included a briefcase with $11,000 in bacon-wrapped cash.

Some other unique approaches will be “talked about”:

  • Uber Ambassadors (recruiters) book short rides on Lyft to make their recruiting pitch.
  • A company seeking mechanics sent cars with hard-to-find problems to area repair shops. They placed a “Mechanics Wanted” sign close to the area in the car where the unique trouble would be found.
  • Another ad features an apple similar to Apple’s famous apple with a bite out of it, but this one has two bites taken out of it.

Personalized Recruiting 

If Apple® store workers experience great customer service, they can send a note: “Your customer service just now was exceptional. I work for the Apple store and you’re exactly the kind of person we’d like to talk to. If you’re happy where you are, I’d never ask you to leave.  But if you’re thinking about a change, give me a call. This could be the start of something great.”

Some other tactics that Sullivan has seen:

  • $15,000 bonus to employees for referring a five-star engineer.
    • Nonemployees receive an all-expense-paid trip to Hawaii.
    • The employee that refers the most during the year receives an all-expense-paid trip around the world.
  • $20,000 referral reward.

$100,000 Referral Bonus?

One company Sullivan observed is crowd sourcing the search for the president of a newly created business.

Do you know a highly charismatic and operationally strong leader who will inspire and motivate people to embrace a clean energy future? If yes, please fill out the survey below and you may receive up to $100,000 for a referral that leads us to the right candidate.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, attraction factors for smaller firms.