If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
Contrary to popular belief it wasn’t Anthony Robbins who said this. He, no doubt, copied it from another historical ‘Philosopher’.
It’s true nonetheless that usually nothing much changes within a rigid and inward-looking structure.
A global war for top talent is in full flow and recruiters are looking for new approaches to help win that war. The result is the emergence of a style of recruiting that can only be dubbed “guerilla recruiting,” for the tactics resemble those of guerilla armies.
The Chinese General and Strategist Sun Tzu was one of the earliest to adopt guerilla warfare methods in ‘The Art of War’ a systematic guide to strategy and tactics for rulers and commanders. The book discusses various maneuvers and the effect of terrain on the outcome of battles. It stresses the importance of accurate information about the enemy’s forces, dispositions and deployments, and movements. This is summarized in the idiom ‘Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles with no danger of defeat’. It also emphasizes the unpredictability of battle and the use of flexible strategies and tactics.
Why are guerilla-style recruiting tactics now emerging? Well, they say necessity is the mother of invention! When demand exceeds supply, it’s time for a new approach.
What Is Guerilla Recruiting?
Guerilla recruiting is out-of-the-box recruiting – using sometimes unorthodox methods and creative strategies. It is typically deployed by an organization that is inferior both in numbers and tools against larger competitors with deeper pockets. It is a no-holds-barred style of recruiting where every weakness in competitors is identified and exploited. The battle that guerilla recruiters are fighting is not just for talent, but in addition for market share and survival.
What Are the Characteristics of a Guerilla Recruiting Force?
A guerilla recruiting force obviously needs to reflex the industry and rules that typically exist in that industry but consider starting up a small and elite group of professional recruiters to augment a traditional recruiting team. Their actions should not be subject to requisitions, budgetary constraints, or timid and restrictive HR leadership. Their strengths should be in tactical planning and flawless execution.
A discretionary spending fund might be used to finance ‘covert’ recruiting activities.
Examples of Guerilla Recruiting :
1. Affiliate marketing (online, trackable referral system): Train your Recruiters to be referral experts and install a professional affiliate system to monitor and reward the referral ninjas. Reward with points and implement awesome competitions (win a car, scooter, etc.).
2. Peer-to peer referencing: Use post-interview forms (online ) to automatically collect candidate peer referees with contact details. Then take the peer reference and headhunt the peer referee at the end of the phone call (peer referees will usually have a similar background to the candidate that you have just interviewed – i.e. you are creating a ‘clone’ candidate)
3. Posting baby pictures/cute dogs on social media: Go crazy and aim to get feeling people feeling inspired, sad, and moved to tears. Stop posting boring comments like ‘Congratulations’ on promotions. The idea that such pictures are ‘not professional’ is stifling creativity and interest.
4. Get creative with landing pages: make it hard to leave a candidate or client page with powerful emotive messages.
5. Lock in top quality candidates as ‘exclusive’ to prevent competitors getting access to your best candidates: Whilst this is a training issue, hardly any recruiters do it. Enough said.
6. Get the Hiring Manager involved in the offer process: pay attention to the placement process. Hiring Managers needs to be coached to understand how to sell to candidate needs and when they are they are they can be superb ‘tools’ in the war for talent if managed properly.
7. Invite the successful candidate to drinks: get them to love the new team before joining and reduce the risk of counter-offers.
8. Train Recruiters to be true experts at anticipating and dealing with counter-offers: How much did counter-offers cost your business last month. Train, dill, train, drill. Be more relentless on this than your competitors.
9. Know the competitors’ weaknesses and exploit the weaknesses and make sure candidates are aware of any negative news articles or reviews in the public domain: Uncover facts from candidates, clients or the web. Be careful how you share this information and only ever share facts without criticizing.
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