Your Job Site: Use The Coffee Shop Recruiting Model–Get Your Double Shot

The Coffee Shop Online Recruiting Model

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Online job sites can be found on every virtual corner, just like your neighborhood coffee shop. When I visited my local java brewer recently, it occurred to me that a job site can mirror the experience.

The Double Grande of Recruiting Jobs Online

“Yes, I’ll have a grande chocolate cafe breve please,” I said as I quickly seated myself in a comfortable booth at one of my favorite local coffee shops with my java, computer, and cell phone in hand.  In fact, I visit this coffee shop an average of three times a week.  I logged onto my computer and took advantage of the wall outlet and free wifi while I leisurely sipped my coffee.

I love my place.  And not just because of just the amenities but because of all the action as business professionals, students, and the staff.  It feels comfortable, a second home, and a place where I can relax, enjoy and catch up with my friends and colleagues.  It’s also a destination a place where I get my fix of both business and pleasure.

It’s also a place I mention and promote frequently.  I refer my friends, write about it on Facebook, and my friends do to.  In fact, we can’t quit talking about our favorite coffee shop enough.  We’re driving business, traffic, and promoting “our place” just because.

How Can Your Online Job Search Site Mirror a Coffee Shop?

The Coffee Shop Online Recruiting Model is no different.  Coffee Shop Online Recruiting takes the idea of a coffee shop and focuses on an atmosphere and environment online that extends to offline.  What drives this model isn’t the number of clicks or cappuccinos or job searching tips, but the fact that the community can’t stop talking or returning to visit.  All guests don’t invest in a $4.00 coffee but see the coffee shop or your online job board as a destination point and a resource for job seekers of all types, passive and active, of all experience levels and backgrounds.

  • Give job seekers what they want. Create a comfortable environment where job seekers both passive and active feel like themselves and get to know you on their own terms whether it’s creating an online candidate forum directly on your website, a job seeker Facebook group, sponsoring an online chat, or a comfortable spot at the local university.  A comfortable and non-imposing online recruiting site allows your brand and message to be spread organically and with the power of referrals through those you wish to reach.
  • Invite those with influence. Hands down the best individuals to fill your pipeline are through engaged employees.  Be upfront, invite them to attend, and encourage them to include their friends regardless if those friends are job seekers or not.  Because there’s strength in numbers and these friends have friends and those friends know others.  It’s the basics of crowd sourcing but in a non-obtrusive and natural sort of way.
  • Offer Amenities. Create buzz and be different.  Create a community and a family where visitors return to your online job site on a regular basis.  Service everyone regardless if they are a candidate or not.  Offer them member benefits like instant access to an online recruiter, a free resume critique, or access to online job postings instantly via text.  Call every candidate who applies to an opening regardless if they are a good fit.  Provide them a job search toolkit because amenities matter.  It’s the difference between being a four star hotel or a five.  And because people remember.
  • Change Often. Change up your menu of services and keep them on their toes.  Offer a fall promotion encouraging engagement beyond the status quo.  Host open houses and special events.  Focus on the community in addition to your open requisitions as well as pipeline positions.  Your community will return the favor and self-promote your events, openings, and brand without being poked, prodded, and asked.  Just because it’s the right thing to do.

The Coffee Shop Online Recruiting Model is a long-term strategy that requires an open mind and a willingness to be and do different marrying your more traditional recruitment strategies thinking in a global context. Good luck and if you don’t mind I’ll take a refill of my grande cup.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Donna Svei says

    Love this. Coffee shops are true communitarian places. I have three favorites in my valley, each with a different set of friends I can count on seeing.

    Coffee shops, located near a target employer, can also be places to do a little strategic networking.



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