In a time when many companies are cutting costs across their operations, a growing number of HR departments are changing the ways they recruit. Their goal: to boost recruiting efficiency (reducing recruiting costs per hire). Their means: innovative recruiting approaches that bring imagination and aggressiveness to a company's overall recruiting function. Innovations are occuring in several elements of the recruiting process. Here is a look at innovations in several areas.
An increasing number of companies are supplementing and even replacing the traditional classified ad with creative, clever, eye-catching ads. These ads are essentially a company's resume and cover letter, designed to send a unique and memorable message about the company to sought-after prospective applicants. Recently, Personnel Journal reviewed several hundred ads submitted by subscribers and reported some trends in this type of advertising. They include:
1. Use of Employees in Ads
Instead of the traditional testimonials, more company ads are spotlighting employees, talking about their skills, jobs, and accomplishments. For example, General Dynamics has run a series of ads that, by comparisons with great inventors, compliments profiled employees and their colleagues. For example, one ad hadline in the series proclaims, "We're looking for another Newton ...And another Newman: (Howard Newman, one of General Dynamic's senior project engineers). The ad's text showcases Mr. Newman's accomplishments and long tenure with the company and then urges those interested and qualified to "join Howard in the pursuit of technology excellence and discovery; apply for a position with us...Who knows? You might become the next Newman." In some other ads in the series, General Dynamics has declared, "We're looking for another Edison...Andanother Hardison: (electrical engineer Corrine Hardison). Like many employee-spotlight ads developed by other companies, this series portrays the corporation as a place where very talented and deicated people work and reach their potential.
2. Promotion of Intangible Benefits
In cases where a job is highly attractive and thus doesn't need promoting, employers have turned to emphasizing certain intangible benefits of the company such as opportunties for advancement, employment security, creative freedom, and enterpreneurial opportunities. Lockheed Missile and Space Company has run a series of sports-related ads that promote company benefits. One such ad is entitled "Net Gain." Featuring a tennis racket and tennis balls in a partly closed briefcase, the text says, "Along with a diverse and challenging project list, Lockheed Missile and Space Company makes a point of providing employees with truly comprehensive recreational programs and facilities." The Saint Paul Medical Center has developed a series of one-word headline ads that promote certain themes such as "Commitment" (describing the center's commitment to patients' care and employees' career development) and "Balance" )"Between caring professinals...between tradition and technology...between performance and opportunity"). Washington University in Saint Louis uses and in one ad entitled, "Even you-know-who rested on the seventh day," the company published its nursing salaries.
3. Point-of-Purchase Recruitment
A growing number of service companies with high turnover in low-skill jobs are recruiting using point-of-purchase ads. For example, Pizza Hut places recruiting coupons on its carry-out boxes. Featuring a drawing of a large lead pencil, the ad suggests, "If you want a good job, get the lead out." The coupon provides a mini-resume form for prospective applicants who don't have resumes. The quik Work Chinese food take-out chain uses bag-stuffers that picture a broken fortune cooke and proclaim "Not everyone will have the good fortune to work at Quik Wok." The suffer decribes job opportunities. The success of point-of-purchase ads has eliminated Quik Wok's use of classified ads. Other users have found the strategy to be a low-cost, highly efficient, and flexible form of recruiting; when a new position needs to be filled, they simply distribute the bag stuffers.
Companies in fast-growing industries are seeking the expertise of a relatively new type of external specialist the contract recruiter. This specialist is contracted on a temporary basis to perform recriting functions for different job openings. The recruiter screens resumes, conducts telephone and in-person interviews, coordinates campus recuriting, prepares and executes formal offers, and performs any number of contractual recruiting responsibilities. He or she is not affiliated with an employment agency and does not receive a commission or a percentage of the hiree's salary. Rather, the recruitier is self-employed and is paid at an hourly rate negotiated with the client company.
These self-employed specialists are becoming popular because they can provide several benefits to client companies. When a company is undergoing exceptionally fast groth with immediate hiring needs, a recruiter can be quickly brought in to handle the suddenly brudensome task. Th recruiting is performed without hiring permanent (and later unnecessary) saff. For example, when GTE in Needham, Massachusetts, suddenly found itself with a Department of Defense contract requining 1200 professinal employees to be hired in 16 months, GTE turned to 12 contract recruiters who became an instant employment department. The set up the system, completed the task, and then trained their replacements before departing 16 months later. The comsmetics manufacturer Helene Curtis, Inc., regularly calls on contract recruiters to help the company handle its 15 to 20 percent growth. Recruiters can also serve as external, objective advisers to the company's human resource function.
Some contract recruiters develop expertise in certain employment fields (such as exectrical engineering or computer software design). Companies with hiring needs in these areas benefit from the specialists' contacts and highly focused capabilities. Some companies hire the same recruiters time and again, finding that the subsquent knowledge of the company's recruiting needs and functions that the recruiter acquires helps to further reduce per-hire costs.
With declining college enrollements and growing demand for recrits with college degrees, companies are finding that recruiting on college campuses has become very competitive. As a result, many are alunching strategies to both boost their their offer-acceptance rates and lower their recruiting costs.
Rather than select recruits from the placement office's resume file, some companies are identifying a number of students in their junior year and focusing efforts on these select recruits. More firms are establishing programs tahat educate professors more fully on the company's career opportuntities for graduates. For example, Macy's brings professors to a showcase store where the educators spend a day observing trainees and meeting with managers. Other companies, such as Citibank, hire professors to lecture in the company's traning programs. Organizations such as Texas instruments also provide executives as guest lecturers at seceral unviersities. These actions are designed to enhance the professor's knowledge of the company, which it is hoped will be communicated to students, and to develop executives' relationships with certain schools.
Some companies are also refining their recruitment brochures. Rather than providing the tradtional, very general brochure on the company, firms are now developing smaller, more individualized publications that provide information on particular jobs and departments and information on the community where a prospective applicant would work (for instance, information on cost of living and community recration facilities). Inivation letters to a campus interview are personalized, often explaining why the company is interested in that particular student. More companies are also paying more attention to the quality of their on-campus interviewers, providing their recruiters with traing in commucations skills. And many firms are repalcing the form rejection letter with one that is more tactful and considerate. firms are mindful of the impact taht a word-of-mouth reputation created by an incosiderate, uninterested recruiter can have on a company's campus recuriting efforts.
Computer databases are being developed as job and resume data banks. For example, job scores, Inc., has developed a franchise chain of "stop and shop" employment centers located in a high-traffic shopping malls. At any center, a job hunter can tap the job stores Network computer database by obtaining a computer printout on job openings in the local area amd nationwide. The fee $75 for 90 days' access to the network. Any company can list its job openings on the network at no charge. In seeking participation from businesses, job scores' franchises focus on job openings that companies usually don't fill via employment agencies.
JobNet, another computer databases network, allows job hunters to place their resumes in the network at no charge. Companies pay a fee for access to the database, which has over 1 million resumes of technical professionals online. A compan can search the database by specifying any of a number of criteria, such as how recent the resume is. Career Technologies runs the network and obtains resumes via jon fairs, advertising , and exvlusive contracts with over 20 professional associations and societies.
Some college placement centers are also establishing computer databases to link students with prospective jobs. For example, the Career Connection Company of State College, Pennsylvania, has established Job Search, a computer database of job information. The network provides job listings (up to 20 lines each provided by companies) and is available for all students.
Lastly, companies are adding pizzazz to the widely used employee referral and bounty system. A growing number of companies are aggressively promoting referral campaigns with special themes and prizes. Referral bonuses run the gmut from money and trips to time off and credit used to "buy" items from a special catalog. Many referral programs are periodically given a bosst with new bonuses and new themes.
1. Assess the effectiveness of a recruitment advertising strategy that relies on imaginative, highly visual, eye-catching ads. What are the potential strenghts and drawbacks of this approach to recruitment advertising?
2. What type of company (in what kind of industry) would benefit most from contract recruiters? What type would benefit least?
3. Suppose you are faced with the task of developing a college recruiting strategy for obtaining talented business school graduates with degrees in mangament information systems (developing and managing a company computer information network). Demand for these indviduals is currently very high; supply is limited. Develop a recruiting strategy that addresses innovations discussed in the case and includes your own ideas.
Referring the the case, this solution examines the effectiveness of a recruitment advertising strategy that relies on imaginative, highly visual, eye-catching ads, including the potential strengths and drawbacks of this approach to recruitment advertising. It also evaluates the kind of industry that would benefit most and least from contract recruiters. Finally, the development of a recruiting strategy that addresses innovations discussed in the case is explored.