Recruiting Follies

Picture 2Recruiting often requires creativity, especially when candidates are hard to find. But sometimes creativity results in strange or weird approaches to recruitment. Take for example this recruiting video from a hospital in Canada. The video follows a woman who goes to drop off her resume at the hospital. There, she ends up singing and dancing with staff in its hallways. Patients dance with intravenous drips, a doctor sings, and a child plays with a stethoscope.

If that’s what hospitals are like in Canada I’ll be certain not to get ill if I’m north of the border, but apparently as a recruiting tool, it worked pretty well. The video has been viewed more than 60,000 times since its online release in mid-September. And the hospital received some 2,600 resumes within the first few weeks after its release, which equalled the number it received in the previous six months. It also managed to make 200 hires.

Dancing seems to be a popular theme when it comes to recruiting. Here’s a recruiting video from the Japanese Navy that features a group of dancing sailors. I don’t know how successful that one has been in recruiting sailors, but it makes me wonder if the Japanese Navy could win a skirmish with, say, the Canadian Navy.

Unusual recruiting practices aren’t limited to other countries. The University of Tennessee has some interesting ideas when it comes to recruiting for its football program. The University has been using recruiting hostesses, who often travel far to attend high-school football games and to “influence” players the University is interested in. The approach seems to have worked well since Tennessee has managed to recruit several top players. One recruit summed it up: “You don’t want to go to a college where they ain’t pretty.” However, the NCAA is investigating the practice.

I’m surprised the University’s diversity officer hasn’t insisted that they have recruiting hosts as well; after all, why make potentially discriminatory assumptions about the candidates. That may well have happened had the Volunteers’ head coach, Lane Kiffin, stayed with the program since he liked to motivate his new recruits by having his coaching staff rip off their shirts and do a chant, in what he described as his version of “topless recruitment.”

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It’s too bad that Lane Kiffin won’t be recognized for his recruiting prowess. Since he quit Tennessee for USC after just one year, the city of Knoxville is planning to name a sewage treatment plant for him.

Raghav Singh

Raghav Singh, director of analytics at Korn Ferry Futurestep, has developed and launched multiple software products and held leadership positions at several major recruiting technology vendors. His career has included work as a consultant on enterprise HR systems and as a recruiting and HRIT leader at several Fortune 500 companies. Opinions expressed here are his own.