In 2018, Everything Old Is New Again…At Least As Far As Recruiting Is Concerned

Kelly Dingee Kelly Dingee, Recruiting, Sourcing

The recruiting world is a funny place.  We have to bend, all the time.  We scale up when supply is not in our favor, spreading our budgets thin and leveraging all resources.  The sense of urgency, of securing “that hire” yesterday, is incredible.  When supply is in our favor, we trim the budgets, and maximize time to fill.  When one resource or tool no longer meets our needs, or generates nominal ROI, we move on.

Social media, when it really gained a foothold in 2008, became our medium of choice.  Cheap and easy during the recession, it has been the belle of the ball for nigh on to 10 years.  10 years is a long time, a really long time.  Many of us developed networks, made hires and secured new gigs of our own via this medium.  As time has trampled on, social media has become more expensive to leverage, requiring teams to manage brand and content.

Recently, I’ve wondered if it’s still all that it was.  From a sourcing perspective, just finding names and profiles, it’s an incredible index that can be leveraged.  But from an employment brand perspective, an advertising perspective, it seems that change is happening.

I wonder if there’s burnout?  Can we all only tolerate just so much information coming at us online?  Do we distrust the advertising we see?  Are we tuning out instead of tuning in?  With the intense mix of generations in the workforce, is it just impossible to put all your advertising dollars in one basket?  Is a diverse advertising strategy the only way to negotiate the challenge of there being more jobs than candidates in 2018?

Case in point, Leidos has gone old school with an advertised external referral program.  $2K my friends!  That is nothing to blink at, and surprisingly I heard it advertised on NPR. Radio.  Yes, radio.  I have a lengthy commute and in order to have reasonably informed conversations, NPR is my go-to.  A little deeper digging, and I found this item detailing the strategy.  I love this, it made me remember working in Telecom in the sweet spot of 95-00 where we not only had cash referral bonuses but handed out year-long BMW and Mercedes leases to repeat referrers (typically the car leases went to employees that contributed in excess of 3 hard-to-fill engineering hires).  Flip that up for 2018 and offer a Tesla lease….that is the hot car of the DMV commuter.

Leidos is asking all people, not just their people, to leverage their networks (dig into LinkedIn, my friends…) and they are paying John Q Public.  This is amazing.  And while they’re using traditional media to push the program, it could also be in place to save them tons of dollars on third-party agency spend.  I hope they share their results at the end of 2018.

Radio is not the only medium I’m seeing re-visited either.  Billboards.  Littered across the many roads of Pennsylvania (81, 83, 76), there are so many roles available, how to apply and starting rates.  Billboards.  I wonder how successful those are?  Most appeared to be appealing to the entry-level employee, at a rate at least double the minimum wage in many cases.

What’s next?  Will we return to job fairs en masse?  Paper cars with flyers?  Advertise in a…newspaper?

I don’t know, but I’m dusting off my toolbox to see what worked 20 years ago to see what we can leverage in this new, no-holds-barred recruiting world.