5 Ways to Recruit from the Wizard of Oz

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WitchIn case you weren’t all aware, recruiting is a full time job — as are employer branding, management, and being the hiring manager. If you attempt to do all of this while simultaneously growing your business and doing all the work that your prospective hires will be doing, you are already exhausted.

And then someone tells you to start thinking about candidate experience. Sheesh. It’s whirlwind of frustration. Want a way to make it a little more fun?

Welcome to the Wizard of Oz. Where all you need to hire amazing people is what all those crazy kids on the Yellow Brick Road were searching for:

How Would the Scarecrow Hire?

He wished he had a brain! And you need to use yours if you want to hire amazing people. Luckily, sourcing engines and a plethora of sourcing knowledge have made it dead simple for regular folks like me to understand the logic behind smart search, whether you pay oodles of money or not. Learn how to search LinkedIn for people in your area or what folks who are ready to jump ship start doing before they leave their cubicles, and for the love of Zeus, learn how to write a simple Boolean string!

And the Cowardly Lion? I Suppose He’s a Paragon of Hiring, Too?

As a matter of fact, yes. Why? Because he sought boldness, and that’s what you need, especially as a startup or small company. You can’t match large ad budgets and massive recruiting teams. You’ve got to make your way based on what you’ve got (hint: not time!). So use that to your advantage. Give your candidates a fighting chance by explaining exactly what you need, without mincing words. My “Intro to Red Branch” email scares a lot of folks off, but the ones who get through the interview process are ideally suited for life at an agency where I don’t have time to coddle people. According to HireRight, 51 percent of companies do not offer clear employment-branding messages.

I Guess My ATS is the Tin Man?

Of course not — and don’t try to get ahead of me in the analogy game. The Tin Man was seeking a heart, which is what you need if you are going to attract people to your workplace. Have some empathy. Have you tried to go through your recruiting process lately? Do you ignore resumés? Take forever to call candidates back? Keep people waiting on clear and legitimate job descriptions? If so, you need to put some heart into your work. I can sum it up really fast: just answer them.  If you don’t have time to answer, schedule, or go back and forth, then install a scheduling app and start using templates and auto-responders to do the work for you. (But yeah, you need an ATS, no matter how small you are. There are LOTS of free options.) Again, according to HireRight, 90 percent of candidates who are treated with courtesy and a personal touch will encourage others to join the company in the future.

Well, I’m Waiting — Who’s Dorothy?

HA! You thought it was going to be Dorothy. Well it’s not — it’s Oz. Oz himself seemed great and powerful to the outside world, but it was revealed that he was actually working his rear end off behind a curtain to appear that way. Now, I’m not telling you to paint your face green and scare everyone, but humanizing your brand is a great first step (and cheaper than floor-to-ceiling curtains). After getting a verbal lashing from Dorothy, Oz revealed that it was really his inferiority that made him craft his huge and intimidating alter ego and create such distance between him and the jobseekers — erm, residents of Oz. We show our people the process from start to finish and have them sit in on a Monday meeting to figure out if they want to be part of our weird little family. This wouldn’t work in the big companies, but it’s one of the advantages of being small!

And Who is the Wicked Witch of the West/East?

Say what you will about the wicked witch family, but they had branding to spare. While Glinda had to sing her fairy heart out to get some attention, people recognized the witches no matter where they were. Trademark vehicles, skin color, and snazzy socks may have had something to do with that. Mostly though, the wicked witch was known for her catchphrase (bonus points for leaving it in the comments). You know what I’m going to say: start figuring out what your company is known for. If you say “market pay and competitive benfits” I’ll fall asleep (whoop! Just did!). We pay competitively, but that’s not why people come to work in my basement! It’s because I tell them if and when they leave me, they will be better marketers than any one of their peers — and I mean it. What sets your company apart? And by that, I mean, what can your company offer that no other company can honestly offer?

If you can’t answer that question, you need another article.  Follow the Yellow Brick Road!

By Maren Hogan