Remember the scene in Men in Black where agent Jay is shown the “locker” only to reveal that we are only part of a smaller spec of a massive universe? Well that’s kinda how it is with all of us in recruitment advertising. Sometimes we have to open up that locker and realize that although we know what we’re doing, when it gets out into the vast universe, it goes unseen and buried and needs to compete on a grander scale.
People see an average of over 3000 messages per day. Broadcast, print web, and of course lets not forget all the social environments on the web. Most all of it is consumer brand advertising.
Because of this they have preconditioned expectations…their radar goes up and asks, “ok, what are you trying to sell me?”
Consumer advertising and branding spend an astronomical amount on frequency, and media to condition us. And now even that power is starting to be handed off to all those with strong influential social networks and blogs.
Ironically, recruitment advertising doesn’t have these types of budgets, so it has low frequency, and has to play in smaller strategic media and networks. This is part reason why there is this natural approach to make the advertising as overt and straight to the call to action as possible.
For big consumer brands a % of their audience is also a % of possible candidates. The audience is usually influenced in one way or another with your company by the consumer brand. Which sometimes leads to a recruitment identity crisis for the company (do I work for that potato chip or what?)
Recruitment advertising doesn’t have to be so…recruitment advertising.
Every now and then a recruitment message comes through within the frequency only as a simple call to action, but leveraging the power of what the brand advertising has already established. (Southwest airlines as a good example simply put a “we’re now hiring” sign on the airplane’s window shade at the end of their tv spots)
Remember…this is still advertising
This doesnt mean that recruitment advertising has to be dumbed down to “come grow with us” or “we’re hiring”. What made that simple gesture work is that as a whole, the message fit within the “sweet spot”. That is the ability to engage your audience right where the emotional attributes of the brand people buy and the brand people work for integrate.
It makes it critical for recruitment advertising to be extremely smart, leverage what power you already have with the brand, and get under the cynical radar. It means that the message is a conversation, a story, and that it should not talk at the audience and tell them what to think and do. Allow them to participate with the message and connect the dots on their own. And with social power, they are creating their own messages about you. (gulp)
Usually the queries that fire off in the candidate’s mind about you is, “what does your company do?” Then they search to find a connection to what they do (their skills), and then try to imagine themselves doing that with those skills.
We are story tellers and we compete for attention. And a lot of the times that means grabbing unfair attention. You can’t grab their attention if your campaign is innocuous and boring. As an example, if you come to the table to talk about the dangers of fire, don’t just talk about all the ingredients that make it a fire hazzard. Just set the table on fire. And that is what makes hitting the sweet spot so thrilling.
When you can engage the audience into thinking about being a part of delivering your company’s brand benefits in the same way they would feel about buying your company’s brand benefits.