Advertising Isn't Attraction - by John Sumser - HRExaminer

When you sift through all of the BS from all of the suppliers, it’s all about catching the horse after it’s left the pasture.

Marketing that works well has the net effect of reversing the flow of the phone traffic and lead generation. With no clear marketing strategy, the enterprise is forced to identify every potential sales target by name and then reach out and create the relationship. The hard work of physical lead generation is a part of building or rebuilding a business.

Marketing, when executed effectively, is all about making the prospect of doing business with you so attractive that the normal dynamics of promotion become inverted. It is an offensive game that deteriorates at the moment that it shifts to the defense.

Recruiting, as currently practiced, is a defensive and reactive process full of promotional techniques. Placing an ad on a job board, hiring a staffing or search firm, and, filling a requirement after it is identified are all reactive behaviors executed in defense of a set of circumstances that happen out of the control of the recruiter.

The industry that has grown up to support Recruiters and other HR professionals assumes that a reactive posture is the starting point. When you sift through all of the BS from all of the suppliers, it’s all about catching the horse after it’s left the pasture. The ‘best places to work’ meme, once a way of attracting people is now a cynical game played by well-heeled larger firms.

The problem with promotion as a development tool is that it makes people want to run away. Promotion, as demonstrated by the cold call or the surprise demonstration, introduces the ‘prospect’ to a strange thing and asks that s/he consider it without regard to schedule, quality or need. The presence of fear in promotional tools is precisely the reason that cold calls and direct marketing approaches have such low rates of closing. When you reach out cold to a prospect, your batting average falls rapidly.

Attraction, on the other hand, gradually and interestingly introduces the prospect with no threat of immediate sales pressure. Usually, attraction oriented tools and processes give the prospects something of value well in advance of the sales pitch. Advertising is much more about attraction, through increasing brand awareness. Advertising takes time and focus. It operates on different rhythms than the direct approach. It is friendlier with a relaxed pace.

Community development is an even longer path.

Now, of course, you have to beat the bushes to get started or restarted. Recruiting in an early stage enterprise has a higher promotional content than a mature operation should have. But, promotion as a development tool is best left to fly by night operations.

The question is why the Recruiting industry has avoided the more productive approach of building attraction into its basic processes. We think the answer lies in not understanding that the acquisition and maintenance of Human Capital requires a solid infusion of regular capital. Since the question is rarely understood in those terms, Recruiting is treated as an expense rather than as an investment.

Recruiting is an investment and always requires an investment at the front end. Techniques that attract candidates are the best ways to convert so called passive seekers into active seekers.

 
  • http://twitter.com/Alconcalcia Alasdair D Murray

    “Recruiting is an investment and always requires an investment at the front end.” Indeed, yet more and more recruiters these days seem to just cut & paste job descriptions onto Broadbean and whack them out scattergun style to numerous random job boards, rather than take the time to think about any element of allure or sell in their job ad copy. They seem not to recognise that targeting is key and every communication is a chance to promote themselves as an attractive company to do business with. It really is a wasted opportunity borne out of a perceived need to get the lowest cost rather than the best quality people.

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