Recruiting Like Neiman Marcus Sells

Recruiting Like Neiman Marcus Sells

Recruiting is ultimately selling. You can source like a pro on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, but if you can’t persuade the best talent to accept your offer, you (and your organization) lose. Your yield, measured in the only metric that counts—high quality new hires—will inevitably and indisputably fall short of requirements.

That fact suggests that we would do well to emulate the innovative new ideas being implemented among sales pros in other areas of the economy. What are they doing? Recent press reports indicate that high end retailers as well as those at the other end are now adjusting their sales strategy to reach more segments of their customer base.

Stores such as Neiman Marcus, Saks and Coach are busily extending their product line to sell to middle class Americans who have historically shopped elsewhere. They aren’t abandoning their roots among well heeled customers, but trying instead to ensure that they don’t miss out on sales to other groups of potential buyers.

How can we adopt and adapt this strategy to our own efforts to sell top talent?

We should use multiple channels to reach as many segments of our prospective customer base as possible. Instead of narrowing our outreach, we should expand it. We should continue to communicate via print publications and job boards, even as we add social media sites and mobile technology to the mix. Each medium provides us with access to more of our prospective customer population.

Does this multifaceted outreach pigeonhole employers and staffing firms (and their recruiters) as Luddites, backward-looking technophobes with their heads firmly stuck in the sand? Of course not. Indeed, this approach is entirely consistent with the views of thought leaders in the digital world and best practices in the recruiting profession.
• First, this approach acknowledges the fragmentation of our society. Just as newspapers no longer reach 100% of the top talent in the workforce (if they ever did), neither do Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Just as job boards are not the complete solution, neither is social media or the cloud on the Web.
• Second, recruiting success depends on our ability to follow the market, not create it. In other words, while technologists can cheerlead for the next big thing that may shape our future, our role is to find and connect with people who can fill the openings we have today. That means we must use proven, but familiar channels even as we tap into the emerging power of new ones.

I know that what I’m proposing doesn’t have the sizzle of a cutting-edge trend. It isn’t the topic of Webinars and conference presentations and countless posts in the blogosphere. Our success as recruiters, however, depends upon our effectiveness in sales. And since that’s true, we could do worse than to emulate Neiman Marcus.

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