The "lost dog" recruitment strategy

by Tim Sackett | Posted | Talent Acquisition

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When I was a kid, our family dog, Tippy, ran away. We'd had Tippy for a number of years, so as you can imagine, this situation was heartbreaking.

I think we did what any family would do to find our lost dog.

My Dad worked the neighborhoods by car - window down, yelling Tippy's name, stopping to speak to neighbors to see if they had seen our little dog.

My Mom, sister and I made signs. You know the ones:

LOST DOG! Reward! Please call!

And of course a picture.

We posted the signs on every telephone poll within a half mile radius of our house.

Within a few days, we got a call from a retired guy who'd seen our signs, found our dog in his yard, and was able to coax him into the garage for safe keeping until we could come and get him.

Are you using a "post and pray" recruitment strategy?

I go around and meet with a ton of HR and talent pros at various conferences and corporate events, and I always like to ask them how they recruit.

Some have a really good recruitment strategy and marketing muscle behind their strategy, but the majority of HR shops don't.

Most HR shops have what I call the "post and pray" recruitment strategy. It's a reality for over 50% of the HR departments in corporate recruiting. They just post job openings on the careers page on their corporate website.

There are a number of reasons for this: budget, culture, lack of knowledge and skill, etc. But, the fact remains that most corporate recruitment strategies are a version of "post and pray".

Once in a while I'll find well-meaning corporate talent pros who get really excited about their careers website.

They'll talk about their process and how every single one of their jobs is on their corporate careers page, and how you can search their openings, and how they have integrated screening tools.

They are legitimately, very excited about their careers page!

Then, I ask them one more question: "How do candidates find these openings?"

Um, what?

"How do candidates know you have openings?"

Oh! Well, they just come to our site and they can search all of our openings...

"Lost dog" vs. "post and pray" recruitment strategies

When you post and pray, you've ‘theoretically' lost your dog - but instead of going out and putting up LOST DOG posters all over your neighborhood, you think it's enough to only put a LOST DOG poster on the front door of your house!

You're essentially hoping that someone will walk by your house, see the poster, then somehow also find your dog after they've left your house and bring it back to your house.

A ten year old kid knows more about how to find talent, than your entire corporate recruiting department!

Corporate recruiting departments do this because they have an overactive sense of what their employment brand is.

Google can put openings up on their corporate careers page and people will find them, because people desperately want to work at Google.

ABC Widget Manufacturing in Anytown, USA can't.

Very few people are looking for a job at ABC. You're not Google! You've lost your dog and you're not doing a very good job locating it!

So use the "lost dog" approach for recruiting top talent. Plaster your job openings all over your "neighborhood". Make the most of professional or industry associations, groups and events, educational institutions, job boards, job crawlers, social networks, etc. Blast them to all your employees. Tweet about them.

Use every "telephone pole" you can find to get the word out. You just might end up with a whole bunch of top dogs!

Related reading: For more insights on how to improve the effectiveness of your recruitment strategy and practices read Tim's post The best employee referral form ever.

The Best Employee Referral Form Ever


The Best Employee Referral Form Ever


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