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Think Black Friday When Recruiting

Written by  Peter Weddle

Successful retailers don’t promote their products willy-nilly to anyone who passes by their ads, catalogs and window displays.  They consciously focus their message on their best customers.  Whether they’re a big box store or a high end retailer, they develop and communicate a value proposition for their big spenders because those shoppers contribute more to their success than a legion of little spenders.

The competition for such spenders, however, is ferocious so it’s not enough simply to state a value proposition.  To make sure their message is convincing, the most successful stores use a strategy that’s best described as “communicating distinction.”  They look for ways to set their big spender message apart from that of other retailers.

“A” level” performers are as valuable to employers as big spenders are to stores.  The skills and knowledge they bring to work make a greater contribution to an organization’s success than that other workers.  And as with big spenders, “A” level performers are also very hard to attract to an employer’s “store” – its online career site.  So, think Black Friday when recruiting them and communicate distinction to get ‘em in the door.

Communicating Distinction

 “A” level performers are almost always employed, so they seldom come to an employer’s online career center to look for a job.  Promoting your open positions, therefore, even with such powerful techniques as search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) won’t do much good.  In retail terms, you’ll attract a swarm of little spenders, but generate little or no interest among big spenders.

What value proposition will appeal to the most talented workers?  Advancement.  While they are seldom actively looking for a job, they are almost always searching for a way to move ahead in their field.

While advancement can mean taking a new job, most “A” level performers equate it to getting smarter.  They are constantly looking for new knowledge, skills, insight, and expertise.  Those factors enable them to continue their status as an “A” level performer, and it’s from that vantage point that they want to look for a new opportunity.

So, upgrade the value proposition of your career center by adding content that helps visitors get smarter.  For example: post:

  • the conference presentations and white papers of your leading employees;
  • authorized excerpts from professional journals in the key fields for which you recruit; and
  • a rotating blog written on a short term basis (say, three months) by your employer’s “A” level performers about their work in the organization.

Then promote that content as widely as possible.  Use SEO and SEM to highlight what “A” level performers can learn in your career area.  Brand it not simply as a source of classified advertising, but rather as a center or excellence – a place where they can advance in their field in two ways: by getting smarter and by getting a new job.

Making that shift and telling others about it is the essence of “communicating distinction.”  When you help your site’s big spenders get smart, they’ll spend more time looking at the jobs posted on your site.  That’s the best way to turn every day into a successful Black Friday of talent acquisition,

Thanks for reading,


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Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American DreamThe Career Fitness Workbook: How to Find, Win & Hang Onto the Job of Your Dreams, The Career Activist Republic, The Success Matrix: Wisdom from the Web on How to Get Hired & Not Be Fired, and WEDDLE’s 2011/12 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet.  Get them at Amazon.com and at the all new Weddles.com today

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