Thursday, March 03, 2005

Recruitment Advertising - an employee experiments

One employee is experimenting with recruitment advertising to attract people to his employers employee referral scheme. What is most interesting is that he is blogging his findings - comparing an identical advert on LinkedIn and Craigslist. Craigslist is miles ahead.

He describes his activities as 'grassroot recruiting', a term I think works. Getting this sort of activity by staff is something many companies could benefit from. However, for it to really work you need to prepare them. I will presume that by now you will have identified what your differentiatiors are in the many 'segments' that your company competes for staff in. Tell your staff. Get them to sell their own personalised version of this message. Provide 'support packs'. Of course, because the messages came from the staff in the first place they are unlikely to reject them. Make them seem like they are from HR and you'll get the 'yes, whatever' response (rightly so.)

Research suggests that people don't refer their best friends, they go further down in their networks, or even, as in this case, outside it. I have encountered someone using this form of 'grassroot recruiting', though in my case the individual was paying for adverts in his local paper. HR of course started discussing this behaviour, even whether to discipline the individual. Fortunately common sense ruled and we decided to support him. Our biggest worry became that he was making more in referral payments than we paid him in salary.

College recruitment teams often promote this type of behaviour by getting alumni to build relationships with their old schools. You should be thinking how to mobilise the whole organisation to think about grassroot recruitment.