Monday, October 10, 2005

Recruiting With Fonzie

Okay, I'll admit it, once upon a time I wanted to be Arthur Fonzerelli. And I bet somewhere inside every male recruiter is that same innate desire. Consider this, what was "The Fonze" most known for? Yes, it was being "cool." And what did he do with his cool?

Attract women.

Lots of women.

And once he had them, he was able to whisper sweet nothings in their receptive ears. Very cool-a-mundo...

Now in a previous life, I worked in a searchfirm sourcing tech and exec talent for start-ups. (Some called it "The Dot-Com Era;" I remember it more as "The Age of Acquarius.") Part of my gig was to "dial-for-dollars" where I would call into a company and recruit key personnel or drum up business. I must admit however, working the phone was not my most favorite thing. I preferred shmoozing in person and surfing the web for intel and I was very good at that, but somehow I knew something was missing from my recruiting strategy. It was not until I was flipping the channels one late night that I found the solution in slick hair, leather jacket and a slight tap no jukebox could refuse. Nickelodeon was playing a marathon of the vintage Happy Days comedy series and each episode focused on Fonzie.

I noticed something about Fonzie. He never chased after women. They always came to him and once they arrived (Ayyy...) it was an opportunity to spend time with Mr. Cool himself. Maybe it was because I was half-asleep or maybe it was the cold pizza and chicken I just ate, but Fonzie shouted something through the television.

"Ay-yo Jim!" Fonzie said.

"Hey Fonzie, Ayyy!!!"I replied with my thumbs up.

"Don't do that."


"You know what Jim?" Fonzie said as he pushed back his hair with a thin comb. "You should recruit like I do."

"Ummm... okay. How do I do that?"

"Don't chase after talent, but get the talent to chase after you."

"Ummm... okay. How do I do that?"

Well, he told me and after I repeated it back to him for clarity, he replied with "Exact-a-mundo."

"Thanks Fonzie," I said. "I will."

And then he faded back into the screen, a faint "Ayyy!" echoed in the room. Or maybe it was te reurn on tv. Either way, I had a new strategy to play out back then and now one to share with you as well.


1. Look through your rolodex, resume database or network of contacts and find three experts in the same field. It does not matter what industry they serve, just as long as it is a field you recruit for. Ask them to participate in a forum discussion. Explain that by presenting their expertise, they are both promoting themselves and increasing their perceived market value. In this way, you may be able to secure their assistance for free.

2. Set up a conference call with your three experts and plan on discussing a controversial topic related to the industry they serve. Plan on managing the forum by playing the friendly host that keeps the chatter alive.

3. Promote your conference call to people in your database, rolodex and network. (Ask them to spread the word to their peers.) Send notice to Association leaders who operate in the industry being discussed. Explain to all concerned that they will be listening to experts pontificate ad nauseum and that they will be able to forward questions in advance to the conference.

4. Create a webform that collects contact information and some relevant data such as: Employer, Job Title, Industry Interests, Etc.

5. Have the call for say... umm... an hour (Not too long, not too short, just right.) and maybe 15 minutes more for Q &A. Oh! Be sure to record the conference call as well.

6. Follow-up after the call with an email and/or phone call. Let them know that there is a link available for downloading the conference call in its entirety. Keep the link active for a short time, maybe 3 days or so. Afterwards, announce its availability on your website but grant access only to those who fill out a form. Of course, you will follow-up on each one.

So how is this recruiting like Fonzie?

By creating relevant content that people want to hear, you are attractiing talent to you. Of course, once you have them, you have a receptive audience that you can whisper sweet nothings too. For example, "What do you think of the call? We are planning new calls in the future, what topics would interest you the most? By the way, I happen to be recruiting for people who operate in this space. Can you refer someone to me?"

"Sounds intriguing Jim," you say, "and a bit expensive."

"Not at all," I reply. "Let's do the numbers."

Expense #1: Conference Call set-up Cost: Free **With Free Conference you can manage a call for up to 100 people for 3 hours for free.

Expense #2: Recording the Conference Call. Cost: $38.94 with Teletool 2000 **Simply connect this tool to your phone and computer and record away. Easy installation.

Expense #3: Web form for collecting data. Cost: $19.95 (monthly); 1st 30 days are free with List Builder

TOTAL: Approximately $60.00

So if the price is right, what's stopping you from trying this idea out? As far as recruiting and/or business development goes, this strategy could very well be the route to some "Happy Days" of your own.

P.S. If you really like this type of thing, do yourself a favor and pick up Seth Godin's Permission Marketing. You'll be glad you did! ###
[If you like what I give away, you will love what I charge for. Check out Digability: The Recruiter's Guide To The Internet.]


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