How To Score Recruitment Advertising Success

Steps for Scoring Consistent Recruitment Advertising Success.

Score Recruitment Success

Even though the thermometer beside the club house door read 94-degrees, folks in the neighborhood felt the chill of an “Arctic Blast” one Sunday afternoon not too long ago. I can tell you why. Hell finally froze over. Or as my golfing companions described it, “The dude shot a 78!” (Only about 2% of all golfers ever break 80, which generally is considered the Holy Grail of scoring.)

Later that evening, after things had quieted down, I pulled out the scorecard and re-played the entire round in my head. What had been the differences in my process this time around that helped me join that elite 2% of all golfers?

There is more than one way to achieve “Success.”

As I went through the mental exercise, it occurred to me that this was the same type of Qualitative analysis we use when our firm is designing results-oriented recruitment advertising campaigns for employers. As former LPGA tour player, Patty Jordan-Smith, used to describe it: Good-Better-How.

One of the most non-productive attitudes a golfer or HR professional can have is to become rigid in their ways of thinking about how certain things need to be done. As the legendary golfer, Arnold Palmer, once said during a memorable TV commercial, Swing your swing. Don’t try to swing a golf club like me. Swing your own swing.” In other words, there is no one right way to get the job done. Don’t focus on what everybody else is doing. Do what works for you.

recruitment advertisingThat’s the attitude I tried to have on the golf course during my round that afternoon. I flushed all Golf Channel “swing thoughts” out of my head. They were replaced with a solitary feeling of making a smooth, balanced golf swing. I have no idea what I looked like or if I was following the “industry standard” guidelines for swinging a golf club. I only knew one thing…it worked.

When designing those recruitment advertising programs for a variety of employers in different industries, we sometimes bump into similar cumbersome “swing thoughts” often referred to behind the closed door of a recruiter as, “The Unwritten Rules.” You may recognize a couple of these thought patterns:

  • Unwritten Rule of “Conventional Wisdom”

Often referred to as the “Industry Standard,” this rule is typically industry specific like “Everyone in the HR community knows that the only resources to use for employee recruitment advertising are a newspaper’s employment classified section, online job boards, and social media postings.” 

  • Unwritten Rule of “Convenience”

When an organization faces a challenge that is troublesome or uncomfortable, it creates an unwritten rule that allows for avoidance of the issue(s).

  • Unwritten Rule of “Intellectual Bundling”

Often referred to as, “Group Think,” it is when an organization stops searching for learning new strategies outside of their narrow area of focus. “Because we’ve always done it this way!” is usually not an effective or winning strategy.

“UNWRITTEN RULES” can interfere with results-oriented SUCCESS recruitment advertising success

In the end it comes down to how a company defines “SUCCESS” for their recruitment advertising programs. Is Maintaining the Status Quo good enough? In that case the “UNWRITTEN RULES” probably don’t make much of a difference.  However, if your success metrics include the measurement of tangible outcomes, like shortening hiring cycles, reducing overall hiring costs or adding quality hires in a hurry to fulfill demands of a new contract, it might be time to re-think current strategies and tactics.

I started this post with a story about breaking 80 during a round of golf so my definition of SUCCESS shouldn’t come as a big surprise:

  • Mitton Media is in the results-oriented business of helping employers generate the immediate awareness they need to reach and engage the quality candidates who will be able to fill employers’ open positions, especially hard-to-fill openings, in a timely and cost-effective manner.

As one of the employers we work with said recently, “We like Mitton because you are all about helping us bring great workers on board in the shortest amount of time, not tallying up the number of job ads you can convince us to buy to keep our Applicant Tracking System (ATS) rolling along.

Changing the Mind Set

When leading my “Beyond Post & Pray” recruitment advertising training workshops, one of the first questions I ask the audience is: “If you could use only one criterion for selecting tools to build an effective recruitment program, which criterion would you choose: Because it’s MEASURABLE or because it WORKS?”  (Remember, in the results-oriented world of golf, there are no pictures on the scorecard. It’s not about “How?” It’s about “How many?“)

Given the metric-centered culture that is HR, “Because it’s MEASURABLE!” is often the immediate response. They ask, “If it works then it has to be measurable, right?

Not necessarily. I share with the group 10-15 examples of where we have delivered unparalleled success for the employer’s recruitment advertising program and yet there was no way to accurately measure “success factors.” Could we readily identify “reasons for success?” Yes, but they all fall under the umbrella of “Because it WORKS.

Keep doing the things that work. Stop doing the things that don’t work.

Warming up before my round of golf that afternoon, I identified elements of my game that were working. My goal was to repeat them as often as I could all afternoon. For example, I discovered a certain way to line up my putts which caused most of them to go in the hole on the first try. I repeated the process for all 18 holes with great success.

Working with employers, we use our SPOT-ON ASSESSMENT® process to help them identify which resources are working and which resources are not working for their recruitment advertising program. One of the tools we use for this type of assessment is our Pyramid of Value or, as it is affectionately known by clients and workshop attendees, “The Good, Cheap, & Easy Drill.”

Try this simplified version of the exercise on your own. Get out a sheet of paper and write down every resource currently being used for your employee recruitment advertising programs and “Employer-of-Choice” brand building initiatives. For each item on that comprehensive list, ask these three questions:

  1. Is it “Good?” (Is it putting butts into seats in a timely manner and reducing overall costs?)
  2. Is it “Cheap?” (Is it delivering a return-on-investment or are you wasting dollars?)
  3. Is it “Easy?” (Is it something used because it’s a path of least resistance or because it’s effective?)

The results of our workshop and employer surveys over a number of years indicate that 75% of decisions made about which recruitment advertising resources to use are based on the selected resource’s perceived ability to provide a “path of least resistance.” (We are told by participants it is a “Don’t rock the boat, do what everybody else is doing” type CYA-based reflex designed to protect person’s job security.)

Of lesser importance, in this first phase of the decision-making process, appears to be a resource’s likelihood for: significantly increasing number of hires in a timely manner, especially hard-to-fill positions; having a proven track record for reducing levels of wasteful spending; improving and increasing employee morale and retention numbers; and providing the competitive separation, emotional connection, and brand awareness it takes to establish industry-leading “Employer-of-Choice” recognition. 

Keep the resources that are working. Replace the resources that are not working.

Need help determining the best resources to use for your recruitment advertising challenges? I can’t fix bad golf swings but pretty sure I’ll be able to help with your recruitment advertising challenges. Send me an email and let’s get started!


About the Author:

John MittonJohn Mitton is President of Mitton Media. A past president of the Pinnacle Award winning Employment Management Association (EMA) Region IV, John has spent over 25 years helping HR recruitment professionals cut through the clutter, showcase employment opportunities, and strengthen “Employer-of-Choice” brand initiatives.

Mitton is recognized as recruitment advertising’s leading pioneer and authority in the design, production, and implementation of Broadcast Classifieds, targeted media campaigns of creative hiring messages on Radio and Television. Mitton Media’s integrated recruitment advertising programs, blending Broadcast Classifieds with Social Media and other media resources, continue to meet and exceed expectations of employers in today’s workplace. (And no, John has not broken 80 again since that fateful afternoon on the La Quinta golf course in Quail Valley, Texas.)

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