Saturday, August 18, 2007

"A thought is often original, though you have uttered it a hundred times. It has come to you over a new route, by a new and express train of association." Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Second thoughts are ever wiser." Euripides

"The men who build the future are those who know that greater things are yet to come, and that they themselves will help bring them out. Their minds are illuminated by the blazing sun of hope. They never stop to doubt. They haven't time." Melvin Evans

Pesky details:
WBBM TV misses the obvious. Michael Miner writes Don't call this number via Chicago Reader here. Thanks to programming ace Tom Teuber for the tip. Which reminds me. Previously I needed to reach a pal at 780, WBBM radio. No main number on the station's website, the directory assistance listing dated and not working. I was told "Yeah, we moved and haven't gotten around to updating the contact info."

Getting better vs Getting different

Recruitment needs a reboot. One need only review the trade want ads. Not a week goes by without some hiring manager calling to say "There's no one out there. We're running trade ads and the applicant qualitative is terrible." My sense is you need to stop running the same boring, ineffective copy. Change up your game. Stop doing what is not working.

You may have seen that certain played out ad for sales managers. It's a laundry list of super hero attributes, it concludes something like this..."If you answered yes to all of these questions we need to hear from you." Well, if I could answer yes to all of those questions I'm not likely to be reading your ad and if I do read your ad why would I have any interest whatsoever in working for you? Using an ideal candidate description is totally acceptable when you are willing to actually pay for that person. Too often folks are wasting valuable time seeking skill sets of six figure talent when they only have a five figure budget. Be realistic, be sincere, be authentic.

What the majority of the bad ads lack is the one critically important element - WIIFM (What's in it for me?). The copy fails to capture the imagination of the qualified applicant. More importantly, the copy fails to capture the attention of those that know the qualified applicant. "Hey, wait a minute, the person they are looking for is my friend Karen!" The incredible power of personal referral. Tell your story. Get the qualified (and those that know them) interested.

People with jobs, generally, don't read the want ads. Want ads attract, in the majority, the unemployed. That's the first rule of recruitment taught us by Kevin Sweeney. It holds true.

David Ogilvy
didn't write a better ad when looking for a creative director, he wrote a very different ad, to wit:

Wanted by
Ogilvy & Mather International


In my experience, there are five kinds of Creative Director:

1. Sound on strategy, dull on execution.
2. Good managers who don't make waves...and don't produce brilliant campaigns either.
3. Duds.
4. The genius who is a lousy leader.
who combine personal genius with inspiring leadership.

We have an opening for one of these rare birds in one of our offices overseas.
Write in inviolable secrecy to me, David Ogilvy, Touffou, 86300 Bonnes, France.

Should we contrast and compare DO's ad with any and all other CD help wanted ads from that day, it's a fair bet - there would be no comparison, not even a contest.

To attract the exceptional talent you need to go off the rez with an exceptional approach. To be clear here, every associate no matter the department nor job title deserves to be considered and respected as talent. It amazes me that folks spend good money to run badly written, plainly boring, cookie cutter recruitment ads with the goal of capturing the attention and interest of our best and brightest. Not going to work, that dog don't hunt.

Stop wasting time and money trying to get better. Start investing time and resources in getting different. Pull away from the pack. Differentiate your company, your opportunity, your recruitment messaging.

Be the first to set up a dedicated voice mail box and invite calls. No calls turns into the very different, please call us - all calls returned. Have the outgoing message recorded by the hiring manager. "Hi this is Jennifer, thank you for taking the time to call. Please leave me a message with your name and phone number and I will call you back. If you have not sent us your resume you can email it directly to me at; thanks, I'll be in touch."

Take advantage of lazy competitors

When we are involved in any recruiting effort we insist on a few rules of engagement that are not negotiable. One involves manners, the protocol of timely, polite, professional response. Think: why spend money to advertise an opportunity, make your best efforts to get the word out and when folks do exactly what you want, when they do precisely as you ask, why would you ignore them? This happens the majority of the time. People make application and nothing happens. Our notion is if someone takes the time to contact you the very least you can and should do is acknowledge receipt of their communication. Further, this is a major opportunity to make a first impression. Bonus: having folks in the gene pool telling others "WOW, they reached out to me!"

Important hint: this is actually part of a much bigger strategy. Recruitment is an ongoing process not an event. You never know where the applicant is going to end up. Today's out of work, perhaps even unqualified applicant, might just turn out to be tomorrow's star, the one that will remember she never heard from you. It's not about hiring for a single position, it's about building the talent portfolio before you need it.


There is never an excuse for bad manners. Respond to all contact. That future star will never forget the simple kindness of good manners. Apply the golden rule, early and often. Your lazy hack competitors will never know what hit them.

There's no shortage of the best and brightest, they are out there, you simply have to admit that you cannot bore them into contacting you, you can't expect to gain their respect with bad manners.

To get results, stop trying to get better and get different.

Today's image: Sun Rays by chefranden. Wonderful shooting. Thank you very much.