Are You Using a "Big Box" Recruiting Strategy?

I met a smart and confident entrepreneur at a recent networking event. I asked about her business, and she went on to tell me about her four companies. She’s a web designer. She also offers web hosting. She offers printing services. And she also owns a PR company. All the while I was thinking – this person is a “jack of all trades but a master of none.”  Later on the way home, I passed a large retail store. You know the kind. It’s the type of store that offers numerous product lines. It buys in volume “and passes the savings on to you!”   

What message are these organizations communicating? Would any of these organizations be trusted to provide quality products or services? What’s their long-term viability?  Their business models (and value) are based solely on price. Customer loyalty is assured only as long as their prices are indeed the lowest. More importantly, in trying to be ALL things to all customers, they convey a sense of conformity, rigidity, and mediocrity. What would happen if you were to ask for a special order, expert advice, or a straightforward recommendation? I think you get my meaning.

Compare these types of stores to a boutique. A boutique usually specializes in selling quality products or services. They’re often passionate. They’re experts. And they love to share information about their product. They live or die by reputation, referrals, and solutions. A boutique constantly monitors its business environment making sure its core expertise is always sharp and well-tuned.  In short, their power is based in specialization.

Employers with successful recruitment strategies are also savvy marketers, “boutique like.” Employers that are creative and that consistently market their uniqueness usually attract a lot better candidates (by the way, job seekers can use the same approach!). The talent market today is competitive and, at the moment, very crowded with jobseekers. With so much talent available, it’s easy for an employer to utilize the “value” recruiting approach. It’s the “If I Advertise – They Will Come” recruitment strategy.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of organizations still use this approach, don’t they? But in doing so, they become unfocused – the large retailer that tries to be everything to everyone. And rather than attracting the right candidates, they attract mediocre candidates that don’t meet their needs.