By Todd McMeen, Managing Director
Please, don’t post another job ad until you read this. That’s because we've reimagined the recruiting process. I’m going to show you how we help our healthcare clients recruit their staff. You’ll learn how to attract a critical mass of applicants through an efficient pipeline and funnel the top prospects to your attention. First I’m going to share what doesn’t work, and then I’ll show you our really cool way.
WASTE OF MONEY
Traditional methods of recruiting require too much work, take too long, and cost too much money. Headhunters will charge you thousands of dollars to fill a position like an office manager, far more if you’re hiring a health practitioner. And online ads from companies like Monster or Indeed have never worked well for me. Do you know how most of these websites work? You pay upfront, and then they run your ad until a preset number of leads, say 200, clicks on your ad. Here’s their fatal problem: I got a hold of an honest sales guy at a jobs website to find out why my ads kept failing so miserably. He told me individuals receiving unemployment benefits are required by the government to keep applying for jobs in order to maintain their benefits. And merely clicking on a job ad counts! They click on a lot of job ads, which gives them a paper trail proving they’ve tried. These are essentially fake leads! The only advertising source which worked moderately well was Craigslist.org, but it rarely generated enough traffic; each ad only brought in a couple of leads. So I always had to run ads for several weeks just to get the volume I needed.
Assuming you do find enough applicants, the process of reviewing resumés and conducting interviews is far too inefficient. I don’t want to sift through a pile of resumés since I can’t easily compare apples to apples. More importantly, resumés tell the stories the applicants want to tell. Resumés don’t answer MY questions. So then I have to spend hours upon hours interviewing folks. Not a good use of my time, not to mention the time of all those applicants.
HOW WE TARGET APPLICANTS
Since online advertising worked so poorly, I decided to take charge of spreading the word about our clients’ job openings myself. I do run a marketing firm, after all. Let’s say you’re hiring for a part-time office manager. First we profile our ideal applicant. You might pick mothers with teen-aged children, since they’re likely to appreciate the stability you offer. Next, we source a list of 10,000 names and email addresses fitting our target demographic who live within 25 minutes of your office. I bet a couple dozen of those 10,000 people would be perfect for your job. And, I bet another couple dozen people each know a friend who should apply.
A CRITICAL MASS
There's just a degree or two of separation between you and that next hire. So, our strategy is to trigger a critical mass of people in your local area to spread the word about your job. We want 1000s of local folks to see your job opening and forward it around to all their friends. To get the ball rolling, we use direct email, which is one of the most effective advertising mechanisms. We draft an email explaining that you are looking to hire, and then we describe your business and a bit about the position.
AN OPTIONAL TWIST TO GET REFERRALS
Here's a optional twist to create more referrals. The note we email blast out can explain that we have a fun, crowdsourced way for them and their friends to earn Amazon gift cards for helping us spread the word about this job. We can embed in each email note a unique referral link that they can share with all their friends via email or social media. If we hire someone who applies using their link, we’ll email them a $125 gift card. If one of their friends uses that link and signs up to help spread the word, we’ll know this new helpful friend came from that original link. So, when that new friend spreads their unique referral link and someone using that link applies and is hired, we’ll send both the first and the second person who helped a $75 gift card. Our system can track several levels deep, so everyone in the chain who spreads the word can get a thank you gift card.
In the Right Box
To send all those emails in a manner which makes them less likely to be flagged as junk mail, we built our own email blast tool called InTheRightBox. As the name implies, we want the emails landing in the recipient's inbox, not in their spam box. So we import the 10,000 names you bought and use our email blaster to send everyone a personalized note from you about the job announcement, along with simple instructions for how they can help spread the word and receive a thank you gift card.
AN ONLINE JOB FORM
All that traffic about your job is directed to a web page which gives applicants just enough details so that they want to take it to the next step and fill out a job form. We don’t tell them too much about the job, because then applicants tend to tell us what they think we want to hear. What I'm after is for applicants to tell us the five or six things I really want to know about them. And everyone answers the same questions so that you and I can review them all side by side in a sortable dashboard.
We often ask the applicants to upload a short video answering an open-ended question, such as “how would you handle a complaining visitor at our clinic?” We can tell within 15 seconds if the person isn’t a fit by watching these videos. And you know what? Not everyone even answers the question; you should hear some of the excuses we get! If they can’t figure out how to record a video from their phone, they aren’t resourceful enough for the tasks they’ll face in your office. This easily filters out the wrong applicants and funnels the right ones to our attention. It's as much about pushing away the wrong applicants as it is about finding the right ones. Our process is efficient for the applicants, too. They don’t have to get all dressed up and commute to an interview they only have a one in ten shot of landing. Mark my words: five years from now, everyone will be doing video job applications. You heard it here first!
This whole approach creates a lot of local buzz, which is what’s needed to drive applicants to you. A side benefit of this approach is that thousands of people will see your business’s name and learn you’re a growing, local employer. You might even get a handful of new clients out of this.