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Recruiting With Fonzie
Lots of women.
And once he had them, he was able to whisper sweet nothings in their receptive ears. Very cool-a-mundo...
Now in a previous life, I worked in a searchfirm sourcing tech and exec talent for start-ups. (Some called it "The Dot-Com Era;" I remember it more as "The Age of Acquarius.") Part of my gig was to "dial-for-dollars" where I would call into a company and recruit key personnel or drum up business. I must admit however, working the phone was not my most favorite thing. I preferred shmoozing in person and surfing the web for intel and I was very good at that, but somehow I knew something was missing from my recruiting strategy. It was not until I was flipping the channels one late night that I found the solution in slick hair, leather jacket and a slight tap no jukebox could refuse. Nickelodeon was playing a marathon of the vintage Happy Days comedy series and each episode focused on Fonzie.
I noticed something about Fonzie. He never chased after women. They always came to him and once they arrived (Ayyy...) it was an opportunity to spend time with Mr. Cool himself. Maybe it was because I was half-asleep or maybe it was the cold pizza and chicken I just ate, but Fonzie shouted something through the television.
"Ay-yo Jim!" Fonzie said.
"Hey Fonzie, Ayyy!!!"I replied with my thumbs up.
"Don't do that."
"You know what Jim?" Fonzie said as he pushed back his hair with a thin comb. "You should recruit like I do."
"Ummm... okay. How do I do that?"
"Don't chase after talent, but get the talent to chase after you."
"Ummm... okay. How do I do that?"
Well, he told me and after I repeated it back to him for clarity, he replied with "Exact-a-mundo."
"Thanks Fonzie," I said. "I will."
And then he faded back into the screen, a faint "Ayyy!" echoed in the room. Or maybe it was te reurn on tv. Either way, I had a new strategy to play out back then and now one to share with you as well.
1. Look through your rolodex, resume database or network of contacts and find three experts in the same field. It does not matter what industry they serve, just as long as it is a field you recruit for. Ask them to participate in a forum discussion. Explain that by presenting their expertise, they are both promoting themselves and increasing their perceived market value. In this way, you may be able to secure their assistance for free.
2. Set up a conference call with your three experts and plan on discussing a controversial topic related to the industry they serve. Plan on managing the forum by playing the friendly host that keeps the chatter alive.
3. Promote your conference call to people in your database, rolodex and network. (Ask them to spread the word to their peers.) Send notice to Association leaders who operate in the industry being discussed. Explain to all concerned that they will be listening to experts pontificate ad nauseum and that they will be able to forward questions in advance to the conference.
4. Create a webform that collects contact information and some relevant data such as: Employer, Job Title, Industry Interests, Etc.
5. Have the call for say... umm... an hour (Not too long, not too short, just right.) and maybe 15 minutes more for Q &A. Oh! Be sure to record the conference call as well.
6. Follow-up after the call with an email and/or phone call. Let them know that there is a link available for downloading the conference call in its entirety. Keep the link active for a short time, maybe 3 days or so. Afterwards, announce its availability on your website but grant access only to those who fill out a form. Of course, you will follow-up on each one.
So how is this recruiting like Fonzie?
By creating relevant content that people want to hear, you are attractiing talent to you. Of course, once you have them, you have a receptive audience that you can whisper sweet nothings too. For example, "What do you think of the call? We are planning new calls in the future, what topics would interest you the most? By the way, I happen to be recruiting for people who operate in this space. Can you refer someone to me?"
"Sounds intriguing Jim," you say, "and a bit expensive."
"Not at all," I reply. "Let's do the numbers."
Expense #1: Conference Call set-up
**With Free Conference you can manage a call for up to 100 people for 3 hours for free.
Expense #2: Recording the Conference Call.
Cost: $38.94 with Teletool 2000
**Simply connect this tool to your phone and computer and record away. Easy installation.
Expense #3: Web form for collecting data.
Cost: $19.95 (monthly); 1st 30 days are free with List Builder
TOTAL: Approximately $60.00
So if the price is right, what's stopping you from trying this idea out? As far as recruiting and/or business development goes, this strategy could very well be the route to some "Happy Days" of your own.
FOLLOW THE MONEY TRAIL
Subscribe to these free newsletters! They regularly report companies that have received funding and the amounts (strike while the wallet is hot!). Below are those that I know although your research should reveal many others.
The Best Business Is New Business
If you are reading this in Atlanta, then pick up a copy of The Atlanta Business Chronicle (a VERY good business paper) and turn to the section titled, “On The Record.” They list, at least at the time of writing, a GOLDMINE for business developers. If you check their “New Businesses” section, then you will see a listing of new and renewed city business licenses filed with each municipality. In addition to this you also get information on new corporations, real estate transactions-commercial and lease transactions. Isn’t that great! No? Do I hear the sound of crickets chirping in your office?
What About The News That’s Not Fit To Print?
The Fine Art Of Backscratching
For the benefit of those who do not have 4 year-olds who worship a purple dinosaur named "Barney," the end theme for his TV show is "I love you and you love me. We're a happy family…" If you hear this song more than once it will infect your subconscious and cause you to sing it ad nauseum at home, at work, or in elevators while people point and whisper. Even though the song is simple, the principle is very beneficial when applied to hunting down big business.
To multiply your efforts, cover more ground and appear in front of more companies than you thought possible, you need to retain the services of a small sales force. As any sales guru will tell you, it's all about the numbers! You have to get the word out about you and a trained sales force will do just that.
But wait a minute! I hear you thinking to yourself, "Hey Jim, get a clue! I'm just getting started with my own agency! Or, if I had a massive sales force in place producing for me, why would I be reading this blog?” To that I would reply, "So what?" Not having a budget to pay a sales force to source job leads for you is no excuse not to have one. I dare say that you have it well within your means to run a sizeable organization without the necessity of money or spectacular credentials of any kind. Let me prove it to you in steps A, B and C.
STEP A: List non-competitive partners
How many businesses operate on the periphery of your business? Let’s take a quick, general inventory.
• Leasing agents
• Office supply
• Salesmen of products relevant to the niche you service
• Searchfirms that serve a different niche than yours
• The guy that delivers water to your office
I thought of 5 off the top of my head, but I am sure that you could think of many more. List all of the non-competitive enterprises that work along side you. Create a fact sheet detailing the people you know who deal in the businesses you have written down. Once your list is complete, put a checkmark or a star next to those businesses you spend money with.
STEP B: Cooperative Economics
Okay, now you are going to call everyone on your list, but you are going to start with those you have check marked. When you pay your bill to these businesses, along with your check, submit a lead of some kind that would benefit them in some way. Follow-up with them a week later to see if it produced a positive result and if not (or if so) tell them that you enjoy working with them. Furthermore, as you come across other business topics of interest, forward them as well (at no charge!). They will be appreciative of the favor and will try to return it as soon as they can, which is the outcome that you desire. After all, what businessperson would not want to stay connected with someone who helps his or her business? Of equal importance is taking note of their hobbies and interests and doing likewise.
STEP C: The Big Payback
When someone from your network brings you a lead, reward him or her with a thank you related to a hobby. For example, if the referring party is an Atlanta Falcon "Dirty Bird" fanatic, send him or her an article about a favorite player, or maybe a subscription to Sports Illustrated. If the referring party is a fan of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, send a commemorative cup. If he or she likes dogs, then maybe a monogrammed pooper-scooper. The better the lead turns out for you, the bigger the gift!
The long and short of this tactic is that you are building a rapport through association. Giving gifts to people in your network related to something that they like, cements good feelings between you and them. Every time they use whatever item/ information you send them, subconsciously they are on your "payroll", a working wheel in your trained sales force, so to speak. Again, whatever they give you, you must reciprocate with something else as soon as possible. You want the "Christmas" effect of, "Wow! I gave them a really good lead and they know I love chicken. I wonder how many stuffed Chik-Fil-A cows I can expect now?"
Your workforce of business lead generators will work well for you as long as you remember to spread the love. Get it? I hope so, as I am now moving on to something else. "I love you. You love me. We're a happy family…" Arrrrgggghhhh...now it's in my head again!
Stop The Presses!
How many contacts and/or resumes do you have at your disposal? Here is a nifty idea that could pay big dividends in the long run (consistency is the key). One thing I have noticed about several agencies is the old resumes “a la carte” approach where an agency takes 10+ resumes, condense them into very brief biographies of acronyms and then send them out to current and prospective customers (I have done this myself in a former life). This technique works well if there is an immediate need, but what if there is not? I’ll tell you… The recipients will see it as spam and hit the delete button (ouch! - another harsh reality of life). What you need is a way around the delete button, a way to stay on your potential client’s radar screen for at least a while longer than your competition.
Fortunately, I know such a way…
· For the sake of argument, let’s pretend that you recruit security experts for companies who hate hackers. No doubt you have interviewed quite a few techies in your day. Why not ask your candidates to write a review on security products. Ask them to be brutally honest with their opinions and the reasons why they feel that way.
· After you have compiled this information, create a mini newsletter featuring the comments made by your candidates. Give each candidate a nickname or resume ID number.
· Hype in your “Security Product Review” newsletter that you are a search firm that specializes in staffing elite security talent.
Now, to whom do you send this newsletter? You send it to companies who have a need for such products! Invite them to send a rebuttal to the comments made and use it as a bridge into their respective companies.
Are you in love with that idea? Hopefully you are, but if not I have another one for you. Actually I think I like this one better. Instead of publishing a product commentary, create a weekly newsletter pointing to the best articles and news stories online about your niche.
Let me give you an example…
A couple of years ago I stumbled across an email newsletter called DAVENETICS that spotlights the technology industry in the United States. It is a GREAT newsletter that eventually morphed into a wider coverage of political news events and pop culture. It has since brached off into several blogs such as NEXTDRAFT and ELECTABLOG I highly recommend you check this guy out.
Anyway, in the beginning Davenetics was a collection of tiny commentaries of stories that Dave Pell (the publisher) found online. For example, if he read an article about Compaq laying off a significant number of people, he would title his comments “Compaq drops the axe”. He would add a witticism akin to, “Is Compaq trying to live up to the sound of its name by reducing the size of its workers (Compact? Get it?)? You decide” (okay, his would actually be funny). And at the conclusion of that comment would be a link pointing to the article itself.
Pretty simple, hun’h? I think it is genius personified. Davenetics produces relevant content to people interested in technology. His subscriber base grew to well over 35,000 in a short period of time and these are steady readers (myself included). Now at anytime he could put out a request with his newsletter that says, “I Recruit Tech” and a short bio of his skills. Chances are with 35,000 plus subscribers all operating in his field of interest, there are bound to be quite a few business leads there.
Another example of this technique is The Southeast Tech Wire. The Southeast Tech Wire is (more or less) a collection of links to other news stories on the web and somewhere in the presentation is a short advertisement. This approach requires low maintenance, it’s easy to implement and is something you should be considering for your business. Check them out online:
A Constant State of Sell
It may be a harsh and cruel thing to say, but nonetheless it is a true saying. In the business of recruiting, you’re only as good as you give. No matter the name on the door, a customer will stay a customer based on the results you produce. So it goes without saying that you must ALWAYS produce and to do that you must always remain in a state of sell. What do I mean by that? Every action from the day you decide to go into business must revolve around the selling of your services.
Recruiting is a people-intensive occupation. You must connect with as many people as possible and brand your service in their minds so effectively, that your name becomes synonymous with recruiting. Let’s do a little word association shall we? When you hear Billy Graham, you think of faith (or at least church). I say Colonel Sanders and you say chicken. Bill Gates brings computers to mind and so on. Despite the diversity of their achievements, they have each made their name synonymous with their trade. You should do the same thing! How? Glad you asked!
Here is a list of what you can do!
A. Create a business card with a picture of your face and a catch phrase. Have on the business card a short, simple, memorable phrase that identifies you and what you do. For example, when I was on the hunt all of my cards said: “Jim Stroud, I recruit therefore I am.” It also helped that my face was on the card (remembering me was easier since people had a face to go with a name versus the other business cards they collected).
B. Cellphone/Voicemail marketing is simple, cheap and effective. When people called me I responded with a commercial. Instead of just saying “hello,” I answered, “Jim Stroud, I recruit therefore I am.” If they get my voicemail, I not only repeat my catch phrase but also add how they can visit my website at www.jimstroud.com and/or email me at: email@example.com.
C. A Vanity Domain is a crucial step as well. When you set up an Internet presence for your business. Buy 2 domains - the first domain could read XYZ Staffing and list the services you provide. The second domain would be your name and should automatically redirect to your XYZ Staffing domain. Keep in mind that more people will remember your name moreso than the enterprise you represent, especially when you are just starting out. For example, which is more famous, Harpo Entertainment or its owner, “Oprah Winfrey”? By constantly promoting your name you begin to exist beyond a corporate structure and are recognized as an identifiable person, a celebrity if you will. And once you become a celebrity, everyone wants to know you then (smile).
D. Contact your contacts and let them know what you are doing! Send everyone you know an email and then follow-up with a phone call afterwards. If you get a voicemail, that’s okay... Say your tagline, “This is Jim Stroud and I recruit therefore I am. Just calling to touch base, blah, blah, blah...”
E. Introduce yourself by your tagline. For example, at networking events, parties and supermarket checkout lines I introduced myself as “Hi! I’m Jim Stroud and I recruit therefore I am.” How is that for a conversation starter? Whenever people heard me say that, I always got a reaction as it subconsciously prodded people to reveal their occupations to me. More importantly, doing so initiated a connection.
F. Meet the press on every occasion. Do you remember “The Clever Rule of 3” from the last chapter? In most magazines (if not all) there is a comments section. Comment on an article but in a sly way. Mention how the article is significant to your business and what you do. It does not have to be a long response, but it does have to be interesting on some level (keep in mind that comments are chosen from amongst several other letters that are sent in). At the very end of your comment BE SURE to add your name and tagline.
Here is an example to inspire you:
Dear Wireless Professional Magazine,
I read with great interest your article “802.11x is the future!” As a recruiter of Wireless professionals, I often hear how this protocol will shape communications for years to come. Your article was dead on target!
Jim Stroud, I recruit therefore I am.
Okay, so it’s not Shakespeare, but it does not have to be. It only needs to get in print and be seen by other Wireless Professionals who will either solicit your service or become potential candidates for you.
Is this all you do to get your name out into the market? Certainly not, but hopefully it inspired some marketing creativity within you. The idea of it all is to become a memorable personality, just like any other star in Hollywood.
The Clever Rule Of Three
The best parties are the ones where everyone is having a good time. Everyone is loving the food, the music, the ambience... The atmosphere is contagious because everyone is enjoying being together and despite all the differences, that party brought everyone together (at least for a night). How does this tie into recruiting? Glad you asked...
Sell to those willing to buy
So let’s imagine that you are a Staffing Agency or Search Firm (to-may-toe/ toe mot-toe) struggling to get along or just getting started in the marketplace. The competition is fierce and the clients seem few and far between but fortunately, you are reading this clever collection of business development tips.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Who is Jim Stroud?
(Translation: Feel free to to copy, distribute, display, and perform the strategies explained on my blog. However, if you want to use my work to make money, you need my permission.)
ALL TIPS APPRECIATED
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