Talent Acquisition

What Recruiters Can Learn From Paparazzi Mistakes

This article is sponsored by Technically Compatible, an online skills testing tool designed to streamline the recruitment of web, IT and software professionals. For tips and tricks on avoiding baddies and attracting goodies, download their guide for free: The Gamification of the Hiring Game – Complete Your Hiring Mission.

Let’s begin with a story.

A top US recruiter was approached by a client who wanted to poach the lead developer of their main competitor, but didn’t have his or her name. Undeterred, said recruiter took some tips from the paparazzi and went out of his way to get access to the star. He even hired a food truck and disguised himself as a fast food vendor (hairnet and all).

For days he parked his truck in the competitor’s industrial park and questioned customers about the identity of the top tech dog, while selling them cigarettes and sandwiches, until someone finally gave up the goods.

Where we recognise that in today’s competitive recruitment market the adoption of innovative tactics is needed to attract the best talent, we do want you to keep your dignity.  To help you stay on the right side of bagging journalistic exclusives, we’ve put together a few quick tips:

Don’t hide in bushes

Let’s be honest, if you were the target of a recruitment stalk-a-thon, you would feel flattered for all of 3 minutes before a large dollop of ‘weirded out’ landed on your lap. Don’t be creepy, kids. Try not to freak your potential candidates by appearing out of nowhere like a CIA agent and interrogating them and their colleagues. It’s fine to act like a regular human being with a job to do – if you believe in what you’re selling, it’ll be catchy. Enthusiasm is infectious.

Go for the right angle, not the embarrassing shot

Nothing good comes from researching candidates on social media, with the exception of LinkedIn – where things are more professional. You may discover their Facebook photos showing them dressed as a Wookie wearing a bikini while drinking shots of tequila on a stag do. Don’t judge them on this alone (I’m a good person… I mean my friend is).

If you do feel the need to delve into this dark art:

  1. Be prepared for a bumpy ride.
  2. Try to get a well-rounded impression of the professionalism of said candidate – not every Wookie looks great in a bikini.

Shift your focus

It’s always good to know what your competitors are doing, but don’t jostle with the pack waiting for the best shot. Find your own angle for scoring points with your potential candidates.

Just like placing an article with an editor – you may need to play the long game to work out what is most appropriate for your organisation. For instance, build your employer brand by launching initiatives like confidential career planning 1:1s in lunch breaks, or a CV amnesty where you review any LinkedIn or CV profiles that have been submitted and give hints and tips on what works and where they could improve.

Nothing builds loyalty, respect and great employer branding like giving back and being useful.

Think inside the box

A little recruitment innovation can go a long way. In 2011, IKEA wanted to recruit new staff for its Australia stores. Step forward: Career Assembly.  They popped an A4 print out of ‘career instructions’ (i.e. apply for jobs at IKEA) into the boxes of hundreds of their bestselling flat pack products. When customers bought the items and took them home, they found the Career Assembly instructions inside.

This no-to-low cost campaign targeted people who were already fans of the IKEA brand and resulted in 4,285 applications and 280 ‘careers assembled’. Neat, huh. To kick-start some inspiration for your own organisation, check out this video about the scheme:

Greasing your way IN to situations

We’ve mainly been sticking to the ‘play nicely’ philosophy to attract candidates, but sometimes being a little crafty can pay off. All’s fair in love and business, right? Right?!

VW needed more skilled mechanics for its workforce so they sent a number of cars to garages across Germany to be repaired, secretly securing signs with ‘Help Wanted’ to the undercarriages of the cars. This brought them a number of skilled applicants, discreetly poached from their competitors.

Don’t have a physical product? Fear not, just change your Wi-Fi SSID name to something like ‘We’re hiring – contact X’.

Just say no to hairnets

It’s becoming increasingly more important to think creatively when trying to attract candidates, but try to avoid the creepy tactics.

This article is sponsored by Technically Compatible, an online skills testing tool designed to streamline the recruitment of web, IT and software professionals. The Gamification of the Hiring Game – Complete Your Hiring Mission.

Image: Shutterstock

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