Why there is such a disconnect in understanding that the consumers ARE the candidates. If you want to know the best way to reach candidates, look at what the best consumer companies are doing.
Take for instance, Apple. They are among the top brands in cult-like following and Apple is the king of subtle disruptions. This past March (2011), I was at South By Southwest (SXSW) when Apple was launching the iPad2. SXSW brings together some of the most forward thinking social media and tech companies. They discuss cutting edge and even sometimes barely existing technologies. Apple did not have a booth or a logo at SXSW. What they DID have is a pop up store in downtown Austin ,about 4 blocks away from SXSW. So, the day the iPad2 launched, guess where a ton of people were? You got it! They were not in breakout sessions that they or their companies paid hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for them to be at. Rather, they were standing in line, a hundred people deep, tweeting away about the iPad2. Apple won SXSW without even being there.
Alright, so what is the connection to this anecdote and the consumer and candidate? Priority. Keep in mind, the people waiting in line at the pop up mac store were not just run of the mill consumers. These were the normally passive candidates within the social media space that recruiters fight over on Linkedin and other online platforms. So why were they in line? Because they wanted an iPad2. Apple knew there ultra-targeted customers would likely be at SXSW so they made it easy for them to get there hands on one. Consumers crave authenticity, relevance, solid actual results, and low barrier’s of entry. That same consumer is also your next great hire.
How do you create a recruiting context that matches this culture?
- Be Authentic: Kill the corporate vomit that is on the job requirements. Write what you would want to read. Why your company is cool, why you have good people, what you are really looking for, and why YOU think they should be interested. Couple that with a quick YouTube interview with the hiring manager talking about the requirement... unedited.
- Is it a Good Job: If you are trying to pitch a mediocre job then go back and make it not mediocre. You do not have to pay top of market to win the day but if you want the guy at your competitors, you need to ask yourself why would someone leave to come to you. If your answer is, because my company is better, then you have lost. It HAS to be because my job is better, and if it's not, you need to make it better.
- Lower the Barriers of Entry: Does your Applicant Tracking System suck? The answer is most likely yes. I understand that due to compliance laws, we have to have some forms of applications. However, you should make the application process, at least on the front end, something they can do with a simple email or maybe logging in to use their Linkedin resume-like profile. Oh and while I am at it, please start taking LI profiles as resumes, its good enough!