Unusual Strategies for Attracting Candidates

unusual strategies for attracting candidates

There has been quite the conversation about company branding in our industry and how this is helping drive candidates into the process. But what about companies who do not have a budget for marketing? They sure as hell don’t have money for branding… or do they? Let me tell you a little story. There has been quite the conversation about company branding in our industry and how this is helping drive candidates into the process. But what about companies who do not have a budget for marketing? They sure as hell don’t have money for branding… or do they? Let me tell you a little story.

My Take on Branding

A few years ago I was speaking at a conference in Chicago with #SRSC. I like to go hear other people speak at conferences to learn; I am an old dog that likes new tricks. I attended a Craig Fisher track and his words hit me like a ton of bricks: “You need to have a personal brand.” Brilliant. Branding gets a bad break and I am partly to blame for it, really. I have always believed if the product was not good, no matter the amount of lipstick you put on the pig, it’s still a pig. Same thing with a crap company, if the culture is poor or the management consistently cheats and lies, there is no amount of cheerleading that is going to save it. Not in the internet age, that is for sure, I am looking at you Glassdoor.com.

The Honeypot Tactic

Do you know what a honeypot is? This is not the jar of honey from the Winnie the Pooh stories. No, this is a technique used to trap hackers back in the day. When an IP address would ping the server, it would look for ways to get behind the firewall so crafty defenders would set up a spot on the server that would let the attacker think they got it but they did not. Instead, like our lovable Pooh, their hand got stuck in the honey jar, and they could not get out.

A Recruiter Honeypot

Now there is another story that I want to talk about with honeypots, and it’s the story of how a CEO of a startup got some of the best recruiters to come work for her. Elaine Wherry created a recruiter honeypot to lure unsuspecting recruiters onto her side in the Silicon Valley war for talent. She pretended to be a JavaScript developer, made her LinkedIn profile look like she was the best in the business, and waited for the recruiters to come to her! It worked and she was able to, wait for it, RECRUIT the most inventive recruiters in Silicon Valley to come work for her.

My Experiment

I applied this process to my LinkedIn profile. Instead of making my profile like a resume on the top, and on the profile page, I instead added the jobs I was looking to fill. The next part was to tell viewers that I was open to a conversation so they should contact me. I added my work email so they would not have to message me through LinkedIn and to make it more personal. I was a little overwhelmed by the response and am, even to this day, amazed at how many people want to connect with me. Developers, data folks and, hell, even CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. I have received resumes of people that recruiters would drool for and have spent hours of Boolean searches and spam campaigns in an attempt to reach these candidates, only to have them evaded time and again.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is, with all the privacy concerns out there and rules being put in place like GDPR in Europe, it is time to prepare yourself that the salad days of scraping tools and ease of information may be looming and a new fix could be in order. #truestory

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Derek Zeller

Derek Zeller

Derek Zeller draws from over 20 years in the recruiting industry, and he currently is the Director of Recruiting Solutions and Channels with Engage Talent. Derek currently lives in the Portland, Oregon area. Follow Derek on Twitter at @Derdiver or LinkedIn.

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