What Zhu Zhu Hamsters and Recruiting Have in Common

If you’re a shopper, and I have to admit – I’m a shopper – you couldn’t have missed last week’s Black Friday’s must have toy of the 2009 Holiday Season. The Zhu Zhu Hamster was scurrying off the shelves and people were getting up at 4am and sleeping out in front of stores so they could buy their kid one of these $10 electronic pets. I wasn’t one of those people – but only because my kid didn’t want one of them – otherwise I would have gotten on the hockey gear and went all WWE in front of my local Walmart ensuring “Santa” filled the wish list.

I am amazed, though, at how popular Black Friday has become, and why more organizations don’t take a hint to the forces really at work here. You can say the same thing for the annual summer sidewalk sales, etc. What it really comes down to is making the experience scarce. People know it only comes once a year – so they can’t miss it. If Black Friday was every Friday, no one would care, no media outlet would cover it, there would be no lines outside of Walmart. So, why can’t companies do this with their employment brand?

Many companies struggle to really attract the “right” talent that they are looking for. Sure, they get a ton of resumes coming in when they post a position, but 99% are worthless and not even close to what they are looking for. So, how do you create a Black Friday Experience for your employment brand? Good question! Big Question!

I have two positions that I’ve always wanted: 1. Head Coach Los Angeles Lakers (probably won’t happen – I don’t have the skill sets, only the desire); 2. HR position at Nike. Now, I don’t want to brag, but I probably do have the skill set to be a pretty darn good HR Pro for Nike. Not only do I have the skill sets, I love the brand (the way the guy at Disney wearing the Mickey costume loves Disney) – I’d get the tattoo on the butt, the whole thing. I part of my desire of wanting to go to work for Nike, is also because they’ve made entry to the organization somewhat scarce – it’s not the easiest company in the world to get hired into.

In recruiting, we keep making it easier for people to know about us, to apply to us, to come to work for us – we have this belief we need to make our employment brand less scarce. If somehow we could let each person in the world know we have a need for database developers, than we would more easily fill our positions. Is this right? I think there is probably a balance of employment brand scarcity that many Recruiting and HR Pros are missing – especially with the advent of social media and it’s usage within HR. If I’m Nike, I want to find the Tim Sackett’s of the world – solid HR Pros, who really want to work for my company – but I don’t want every HR Pro just looking for a job.

So, how are you making your employment brand more scarce?

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Tim Sackett
Tim Sackett SPHR, is the ultimate Mama’s Boy!  After 15+ years of successfully leading HR and Talent Acquisition departments for Fortune 500s and smaller technical firms, Tim took over running the contingent staffing firm HRU Technical Resources in Lansing, MI. Serving as the Executive Vice President, Tim runs the company his mother started over 30 years ago, and don’t tell Mom, but he thinks he does a better job at it than she did!  Check out his blog at www.timsackett.com. Because he's got A LOT to say, and FOT just isn't enough for him.


  1. Fran Melmed says:

    i’m not sure about this, tim. don’t we want the brand spread, but the opp of landing it scarce — other than on your butt, it seems?

  2. Tim Sackett says:

    Fran –
    Taking my butt out of the arguement – I’m just feeling that their is probably a tipping point of spreading your brand to much from a recruiting standpoint. I don’t want everyone who wants a job to want my job – I want those individuals who love my brand, and are the top in the field – to want my job.
    I think Social Media has the context to allow us to get that specific – but many companies aren’t seeing it that way. Many just want everybody.

  3. Is it possible you’d have a better chance of getting the job if you went ahead with the tattoo?
    We all want what we can’t have. So the strategy is to treat your employees right, so they advertise that its a great place to work for the right person. Not any person, but “rockstars like us”.
    The way NOT to do this is to make your hiring process so lengthy and complicated that only the most patient folks will be able to complete it. That strategy really only gets you the patient and/or desperate. “Rockstars” want to be courted just a bit, and we don’t have the patience for your neverending processes. Because no company is THAT good.

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