Weddle's Recruiter Advice (8)

Thursday, 03 October 2013 11:46

Writing Job Postings for Adults

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MOOCs are massive open online courses. They're the next big thing in higher education. They link hundreds, sometimes thousands of students in free educational programs offered on the Internet. What's that have to do with recruiting? They've learned how to deliver content that adults will read.

Tragically, job postings are often ignored by the very candidates recruiter most want to reach. That's not a criticism, just a fact. Passive, high caliber talent has the attention span of a gnat, so getting them to focus on an opening isn't easy.

Sometimes, however, we make grabbing their attention harder than it already is. How? It begins with our vocabulary.

We use language in our job postings that only an employer could love. Talking about a job's "requirements and responsibilities" may be the way we've always described vacant jobs, but, in this case at least, tradition is a trap. People's behaviors and preferences have evolved and so too must the job posting.

What do job seekers - and especially the passive top performers -most want to read in a job posting? They want to know "what's in it for them." That means the ad must answer five key questions:

  • What will they get to do?
  • What will they get to learn?
  • What will they get to accomplish?
  • With whom with they get to work?
  • How will they be recognized and rewarded?

Yes, those answers present a job's requirements and responsibilities, but they do so from the candidate's perspective. They provide information as candidates want it articulated, not as employers have traditionally presented it. They adhere to the most basic of consumer principles: always put yourself in the customer's shoes.

But, here's the rub. Even with the right vocabulary, a job posting is likely to remain unread, at least by the best talent. Why? Because more often than not, it's presented in the wrong format. The Handcuffs That Keep Adults Reading

MOOCs apply the latest research in adult learning to capture and hold the attention of tired, stressed, overworked and, occasionally, lazy adults. And, their completion rates - the number of people who successfully pass the end-of-course exam - is proof positive that students are actually reading and absorbing the content.

At the risk of trivializing some very sophisticated studies, the key concept MOOCs use in their content delivery is to format it in bite-sized pieces. It turns out that most adults - a population that includes active as well as passive job seekers - have the attention span of a gnat. Or, to put it in more general terms, adult minds tend to wander if not stimulated regularly.

For that reason, a MOOC lecture is interrupted every 15 minutes with a test of attention - an inquiry which forces students to absorb, think about and react to the content. And, job postings should be organized to do the same.

Every three paragraphs, a job posting should insert a test of attention - an inquiry that acts like a set of handcuffs on the reader. These inquiries should be carefully crafted to help the reader (a) better understand the information that's being presented and (b) relate it to the answers they seek to those five key questions.

This format prevents the job seeker's attention from wandering because they aren't just reading the ad, they're participating in it. They experience the content rather than simply being shown it. They are challenged by rather than spoken to, and that stimulates their interest, especially if they are high caliber talent.

Like resumes, there are plenty of critics of job postings and yet, they remain the lingua franca of employer-to-candidate communication. For that reason, it's important to get their vocabulary and format right. And the key to success is to craft both for adults, for they are the readers we're trying to reach.

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Thursday, 30 May 2013 12:14

Job Postings That Seduce Top Talent

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Why are these rules so important?  Because passive, high caliber candidates are different from everyone else in the workforce.  They are almost always employed.  In order to recruit them, therefore, you have to convince them to do the one thing we humans most hate to do: change.  Your ad has to convince them to go from the devil they know – their current employer, boss and commute – to the devil they don’t know – a new employer, a different boss and an unfamiliar commute.

Rule #1:  Turn Titles into Magnets

Job postings are not position descriptions; they are electronic sales brochures.  Their purpose is to sell top candidates on the opportunity inherent in an opening.  That can’t happen, however, unless they are attracted to an opening and intrigued enough to pause and read it.  So, give your job posting titles a magnetic pull by using the three most important triggers to action among passive prospects, separating each with a dash:
◾Location – top talent want to work where they live so begin the title with the postal code abbreviation (e.g., CT) for the state in which the opening is located:
◾Skill – top talent want to see themselves in the job, not some HR job title (e.g., Programmer III) so next add the skill (e.g., C++ Programmer) they use to describe the work they do;
◾Sizzle – top talent are herd animals so ask the top performers in your organization why they came to work there and use that factor as the concluding element in your title.

So, here’s how a good title  might look: CT – C++ Programmer – Great team with a unique project

Rule #2: Develop Content for Them, Not You

Requirements and responsibilities are words only recruiters could love.  They say absolutely nothing important to top talent.  Those prospects are interested in the same information, but they want it presented in a way that indicates “what’s in it for them.”  So, describe your opening by answering five questions:
◾What will they get to do?
◾What will they get to learn?
◾What will they get to accomplish?
◾With whom will they get to work?
◾How will they be recognized and rewarded?

Rule #3: Sell First, Explain Later

Passive candidates have the attention span of a gnat, so it’s critical that you lead with your strength when composing your ad.  In effect, you have to convince them to read on before you can convince them your opening is right for them.  So, begin every job posting with an enticement – a hard-hitting summary of why the position is a rare and extraordinary opportunity.  First, tell them why it’s a dream job with a dream employer and then provide the details of “what’s in it for them.”

Rule #4: Use a Format That Gnats Would Like

Given the short attention span of passive candidates, you have to make your message accessible in the blink of an eye.  These candidates aren’t looking for a job so they simply aren’t going to plow through the thick, pithy paragraphs of a typical job posting.  The most they will do is scan your content so make it easy for them to do so.  Replace your prose with headlines and bullets, so they can quickly get an accurate picture of the position and decide if it’s right for them.

Rule #5: Get Them to Act Even if They Don’t Apply

Writing a job posting for passive, high caliber candidates is an investment of your time and talent, so make sure you derive a meaningful return on that effort.  The optimal response, of course, is an application, but if that doesn’t happen, make sure you have a fallback.  Offer them two additional ways to act on your opportunity: give them the ability to refer the opening to a friend or colleague (because top talent know other top talent) and invite them to join your network of contacts so you can keep them informed of other openings in the future.

Unfortunately, most job postings today are a modern medical miracle.  They are a cure for insomnia in 500 words or less.  To avoid that outcome, write your job postings using the five rules for seducing top talent.  They’ll be much more likely to fall for your opening if you do.

Thanks for reading, Peter Weddle

Monday, 14 January 2013 14:06

Advertise Respect.

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Don’t Post a Job, Advertise Respect – Where Does Your Candidate Experience Begin?

Peter Weddle, wrote a compelling newsletter January 3rd, 2013.

Part two of this edition focuses on the nature of the job posting as a communication medium to enhance the Candidate Experience. Peter’s suggestion is just one more example of great practices which contribute to staffing process improvement. With Peter’s permission, the article is provided below.

Peter also mentions the recent focus on the candidate experience. One organization in particular that has raised the visibility on the candidate experience is the Talent Board and their Candidate Experience Award. The list of the 2012 award winners can be found here. A white paper with highlights from the 2012 submission and evaluation process will be released in late January 2013. Look back here for a link to the report.

Candidate Experience Award

Don’t Post a Job, Advertise Respect

Job postings are now routinely used on both job boards and social media sites. These online communications remain the most widespread method of candidate sourcing, yet are disparaged and ignored at almost every recruitment conference. Why? Because recruiters intuitively grasp the cost-benefit advantage of job postings, but all too often don’t grab hold of their power. They use job postings to describe a job, when they would be better served by delivering respect.

There’s been much written and spoken over the past couple of years about the importance of optimizing the candidate experience. In a highly competitive recruiting market, top performers will always gravitate to where they are treated best. As a consequence, the organization which gives candidates a distinctive and memorable experience will have a formidable advantage in the War for Talent.

That experience is typically defined as what happens to a candidate while they are passing through an organization’s recruiting process. For the candidate, however, the experience starts well before that point. It begins when they first encounter an employment opportunity. That interaction sets the tone for everything else that happens between the organization and the candidate.

Thanks to their heritage in print publications, job postings have traditionally been viewed as advertisements or announcements. Indeed, all too often, job postings are simply classified ad copy or position descriptions re-purposed online. They sell or inform, but they do not engage the candidate. They generate applications from active job seekers, but have little or no impact on the passive prospects who make up the majority of the workforce.

What’s the best way for your organization to engage that passive population? Publish job postings that deliver respect. Use word choice and content to signal to candidates that you recognize and value their talent.

A Respectful Job Posting

There are many facets to a “respectful job posting,” but the following four are among the most important.

Number 1. Use vocabulary that corresponds to the reader’s self image. Top performers never think of themselves as a supplicant for work (even when they are in transition) and they seldom have a resume, so engage them by using more respectful terms and phrases. Address them as a “candidate” or “prospect” rather than as a “job seeker” and ask them to submit “an application” rather than “a resume.”

need help with visual basic homework Number 2. Tell the reader how long it will take to complete the application. Top performers are almost always employed and thus consider their time to be quite valuable, so engage them by acknowledging and showing your respect for that point of view. Indicate how much time they will have to invest to apply for your opening and whether they must complete the application in a single sitting or can do so over several periods of time.

here Number 3. Give the reader the information that’s important to them. Top performers don’t care about an opening’s requirements and responsibilities, so engage them by respecting their wishes and telling them what’s in it for them. Describe what they will get to do, learn and accomplish in your organization and its opening and with whom they will get to work and how they will be recognized for their contribution.

Number 4. Show the reader that your organization is courteous. Top performers don’t like being left in the dark or ignored when they apply for an opening, so engage them by treating them as politely as you would a guest. State that your organization will acknowledge the receipt of their application and provide the email address from which it will arrive so they can ensure it doesn’t get caught in their spam filter.

A job posting works best when it operates as a talent engagement platform rather than as an advertisement or announcement. And, engagement is best achieved with a posting that uses both vocabulary and content to convey an organization’s respect for the reader.

Thanks for reading,


Visit Peter at Weddles

Friday, 26 October 2012 15:11

The Right Kind of Confidence

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The Right Kind of Confidence

by Peter Weddle

The journalist David Brooks once famously opined that "Human beings are over-confidence machines." We aren't as smart as we think we are, nor are we as smart as we need to be. That's especially true when it comes to networking in a job search. Brooks bases his assertion on a survey done among executives in the advertising and computer industries. They were each given a quiz on their industry knowledge and then asked to rate how confident they were of their answers. The advertising pooh bahs thought they were right 90 percent of the time, when in actuality, 61 percent of their answers were wrong. And, the computer hotshots were even more off the mark. They estimated their answers to be right 95 percent of the time, when in fact, 80 percent were wrong. Now, some may say that such over-confidence is endemic among managers and executives, but not among the rest of the workforce. Regular people are much more self-aware. Or, are they? These days, an awful lot of regular people are 100 percent confident that social media is the answer to executing a successful job search. They are absolutely certain that the path to re-employment runs through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. So, what do they do? They devote countless hours to meeting virtual strangers on the Web and ignore the many connections and friends they have right in their own backyard. They rely on contacts when relationships will serve them better. Network With the People You Know Networking on social media sites is important, but it is not the only or even the best way to tap the job market knowledge and connections of others. Where's the proof that's so? Ask yourself this question: Who are you more likely to help, a friend you met through your daughter's soccer team or someone you've only met through an invitation to connect on LinkedIn? The Golden Rule is golden because it represents the epitome of human behavior. We all may aspire to its lofty standard, but in our day-to-day interactions, we are simply more comfortable investing our limited time, effort and connections in people we actually know. Moreover, to "know" people means that we have done more than read what they've posted about themselves on their Facebook page. And, that's the real challenge of networking. It's one of those rare words that actually says what it means: it's netWORK, not net-type-a-couple-of-invites-on-LinkedIn. Networking is an exercise in two-way knowing. In order to get to know a person, we have to interact enough with them for them to get to know us. We have to establish a mutual sense of familiarity and trust, the twin pillars of a relationship. And, as I point out in my book, Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System, each of us has more relationships than we realize. A partial list includes: All of your current friends; All of your friends with whom you have lost contact over the years; The mentor you have today and any mentors you may have had in the past; All of your former bosses; All of your current coworkers; All of your former coworkers; If you're a member of a professional, technical or trade association or society, all of the members of that group whom you've previously met; If you've ever served on a task force, special project team or select group of any kind (for your employer, academic institution or association), all of those with whom you served; and All of your former high school, trade school, college and graduate school classmates and those in the classes ahead of and behind you whom you knew. Network with those people - enrich your relationships with them - and you'll have plenty of reasons to be confident about the outcome of your job search. Thanks for reading, Peter Visit me at Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American Dream, The Success Matrix: Wisdom from the Web on How to Get Hired & Not Be Fired, WEDDLE's 2011/12 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet, The Career Activist Republic, and Work Strong, Your Personal Career Fitness System. Get them at and today.

Friday, 30 September 2011 15:17

What is Talent Anyway?

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follow link What is Talent Anyway?
By Peter Weddle

Every recruiter on the planet knows that we're waging a War for Talent. We use the term so frequently, it's become a part of our professional jargon. But what is talent? We all probably have at least a subliminal definition of the word, but more often than not, those definitions vary widely even within the same organization. And, when they do, our recruiting results suffer.

The prevailing definition of talent, at least for the moment, seems to be that it denotes a rare skill. We use the word as a catchphrase for those hard-to-find Python programmers, clinical scientists and mechanical engineers whom hiring managers seem most to crave. Winning the War for Talent, therefore, is simply a matter of filling open positions with those who have such skills. The faster and cheaper that's done, the greater our victory.

Or is it? What happens when we fill an opening with a mediocre programmer, scientist or engineer? Or worse, a substandard one? Have we won the war or simply filled a req?

If the goal of our recruiting is to position our employer or client to achieve its mission, then we have won a battle, but lost the War. We have, in effect, done only half our job. We may have completed an assignment, but we have not contributed as we must. We have acquired skills, but not the talent that is essential to an organization's success.

Talent, you see, is much more than even the hardest to find skill. Talent is the capacity for excellence. The good news is that every human being has it. As I explain in my book, The Career Activist Republic, it is a characteristic of our species. It is a gift with which we have all been endowed. The bad news is that many people don't bring their talent to work with them. And, it's that human shortcoming which creates the War for Talent.

The shortage of excellence would be bad enough, but the hyper competition of today's global marketplace exacerbates its impact. There are now "A" level Python programmers, clinical scientists and mechanical engineers working in China and India, Brazil and Germany. To survive and have even a chance to prosper, therefore, employers don't need those with rare skills, they need those with the rare commitment to superior performance in every skill.

How do you identify such talented candidates?

Here are some telltale signs. They aren't foolproof or all inclusive, but they will give you a sense of what to look for:

Talented candidates move around. They shift continuously from assignment-to-assignment within their current employer or from one employer to another. They have what might best be described as a "three year itch." Every three years or so, they feel compelled to find a new challenge to conquer in their field.

Talented candidates are renaissance students. They see themselves as multidimensional contributors rather than as experts in a single function. For that reason, they devote themselves to professional development not only in their primary field of work, but in ancillary areas that will enable them to express their talent in a wider range of work situations.

Talented candidates seek advancement by testing rather than by pay grade. They are constantly striving to express and experience more of their talent, more of their capacity for excellence. When they interview, therefore, they are less interested in the opportunities for upward mobility and more interested in what new challenges they will get to face on-the-job.

The only way to win the War for Talent is have a clear understanding of what victory we are trying to achieve. Our goal is not simply to fill openings with those who have rare skills. Our goal must be to ensure that our employer or client succeeds. And the only way to accomplish that objective is to recruit rare performers in as many skill categories as possible. For in the end, what matters most is not if we win the War for Talent, but if our organization does.

Thanks for reading,
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Wednesday, 11 May 2011 14:14

Recruiting for an Imperfect Organization

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Recruiting for an Imperfect Organization
By Peter Weddle
Here's the truism that shapes our job as recruiters: The best talent has options. They are so good at what they do or their skills are so rare, they have their pick of employers. That fact of life creates a dilemma for many of us in recruiting. How do we attract people who are superstars when our employers are not?

Organizations are composed of people, so they are, by definition, imperfect. Some gain an allure that makes them more appealing than others - think those on Fortune's best companies to work for list - but even they have characteristics that turn at least some people off. So, the challenge for recruiters may vary in degree from employer-to-employer, but it is always essentially the same. To put it bluntly, we may not have to sell a pig in a poke, but we are invariably selling some version of a barnyard animal.

What's the most appropriate strategy for such a predicament? Do we tell the truth and describe our employer accurately? We expect as much from job seekers when they submit a resume, so adhering to the same standard would seem to be the appropriate course of action. And yet, doing so might well put us at a disadvantage with other, less principled employers in the competition for talent.

And, that's the crux of the matter, isn't it? We're in a competition for talent. Some even call it a War. Victory will go to the employer that can capture an unfair share of that talent. So, we have to decide how far we will go to win. Now, some would focus on the ethical dimension of this issue, and certainly that's important. There is, however, another aspect that should be just as critical to shaping our behavior. It has to do with how we define our job.

Is recruiting simply a matter of filling open reqs? Is our job limited to the functions of sourcing and recruiting? To bringing talent in the door? Or, do we have a responsibility to acquire talent that will not only join our organization but stay there?

Now, undoubtedly hiring managers and supervisors have an impact on attrition. As the old saying goes, People join organizations, but they leave bosses. We could be the best recruiters in the world, but we can't compensate for incompetence on the line. That reality, however, does not absolve us from ourresponsibility for promoting retention. Indeed, the research indicates that unmet expectations play a huge role in the departure of new hires.

An inaccurate description of an organization's true culture, values and vision is the functional equivalent of a bait and switch con. More often than not, it leaves the new hire feeling so abused that they quickly head for the door. According to Leigh Branham, who wrote The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave: How to Recognize the Subtle Signs and Act Before It's Too Late (AMACOM Books, 2004), more than one-out-of-three departing employees said the reason they were leaving was that "The job or workplace was not as expected." In fact, it was the number one reason cited.

So, What Should Recruiters Do?

How do we recruit for our imperfect organizations? The answer, I believe, is to emphasize the positive, but acknowledge what's not. In fact, candidly describing your employer's blemishes may actually make you more appealing to candidates with choices. Many of them have become cynical about employers' claims in their recruiting literature. If the companies were as good as described, they reason, no one would ever leave and they wouldn't need to hire new workers. A more balanced description, therefore, will both set your organization apart and make it appear more honest and appealing.

Many recruiters do provide just such a full description of their employers, but they do so in a way that virtually ensures the "imperfect truth" won't be heard. It's typically provided at or near the end of the recruiting process and long after the candidate has been subjected to a continuous refrain of "claims to perfection." Basically, they are told after they are sold so they aren't really listening.

A better way is to provide the imperfect truth with the claims to perfection and from the very beginning of the recruitment process. Every message should trumpet the organization's beauty, but balance it - where appropriate - with an acknowledgement of its blemishes. For example, a small company competing with larger firms for a seasoned sales manager might begin a job posting with the following statement: We don't have the resources of a Fortune 500 company, but we can provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity for hands-on leadership from your first day on the job. It turns the small company's imperfect truth into a key facet of its value proposition as an employer and, in the process, positions itself as a straight shooter among the choices a good candidate will always have. That won't sell it to every prospect, but those to whom it does appeal are much more likely to stay on after they arrive.

Today's job seekers, particularly those who are top performers or have rare skills, have become savvy consumers of employers. They can be fooled, but they are likely to correct their mistake quickly and create yet another opening in the process. The better approach, therefore, is to give candidates a complete portrait of your organization - one that emphasizes its virtues while acknowledging its flaws - so that their expectations are realistic and come true on-the-job.

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Tuesday, 09 August 2011 23:36

Recruit the Right Blend of Talent

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Recruit the Right Blend of Talent by Peter Weddle
Victory in the War for Talent is generally defined as the recruitment of more "A" level performers than the competition. Organizations that employ the lion's share of such individuals have higher levels of productivity and innovation and greater sales and profits than do other organizations. Or, do they?

Research suggests that there are actually two kinds of superior performers:

  • The "A" level person is the best he or she can be in their profession, craft or trade. They are motivated by the external recognition and rewards that come from their outsized contribution to an organization.
  • The "B" level person is every bit as good a performer as the "A' level person, but he or she is motivated by what one writer called "mental chocolate" - the intrinsic satisfaction that comes from doing a job well.

    Historically, organizations have chased the "A" level performer and put up with their sometimes less than collegial behavior because they were thought to be the sole key to organizational success. Today, however, employers are finding that a blend of "A" and "B" level performers provides the best (and most durable) results.

    How do you recruit such a blend?

    Focus on what they have in common. As different as they are, both "A" and "B" level performers have one very important similarity. Neither thinks of him or herself as a job seeker. Ever. Even when they are actively in transition, they see themselves engaged in a search for something other than a job. What they want - what is most likely to motivate a response whenever they are contacted by a recruiter - is a career advancement opportunity.

    The Career Advancement Value Proposition

    From an "A" and "B" level performer's perspective, a career advancement opportunity has several critical elements. It is a position that will:

  • challenge them to test the limits of their skills and knowledge;
  • allow them to gain expertise and experience they value;
  • enable them to achieve continued success in work they find meaningful;
  • expose them to peers who will encourage and support their best work;
  • employ them in an organization that will respect and reward their contribution.

    While a career advancement opportunity can be described in the conventional terminology of job postings, doing so places an organization at a significant disadvantage in the competition for top talent. Let's face it, requirements and responsibilities are words only an employer could love. Worse, they force prospects to translate the employer's information into terms that have meaning and importance for them. And, frankly, a lot of "A" and "B" level performers simply can't be bothered; they have too many other opportunities being offered to them by other recruiters.

    A better way to communicate the value proposition of a career advancement opportunity, therefore, is to address the five questions every "A" and "B" level performer wants answered about an opening.

    Those questions are:

  • What will I get to do?
  • What will I get to learn?
  • What will I get to accomplish?
  • Whom will I get to work with?
  • How will I be recognized and rewarded for my work?

    Whether you're posting on a job board or a social media site, on your own corporate career site or in a print publication, the key to success is to describe your openings as career advancement opportunities. Provide the information that "A" and "B" level performers want to know, and you'll recruit the blend of talent your organization needs to succeed.

    Thanks for reading,
    Peter Weddle
    Visit me at

    P.S. Please tell your coworkers and friends about WEDDLE's Newsletter. They'll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and so will we.

Tuesday, 09 August 2011 23:19

Red Shirt Relationships

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Red Shirt Relationships by Peter Weddle

The art of social recruiting involves the development of two kinds of candidate relationships. The first - blink relationships - establish trust and familiarity in the blink of an eye. They are the foundation for success in filling current openings. (They were discussed in an earlier column.) The second - red shirt relationships - build trust and familiarity more slowly. They are the key to establishing an effective pipeline of talent for an organization's future openings.

We typically source dozens and sometimes hundreds of prospects to fill a single job. Many of those who aren't selected for the position would be excellent candidates for later openings. For others, the timing or opportunity wasn't right, but at some point, it could conceivably be. Rather than sever these connections and waste the effort that was invested in creating them, a growing number of employers are now leveraging them into enduring relationships.

The term of art for this activity, of course, is the formation of a talent pipeline. There is, however, considerable misunderstanding about just what that phrase means. A pipeline is not a warmed over resume database. It is also not the archive of candidate communications in an applicant tracking system. A talent pipeline is a network of prequalified candidates who feel an affinity for a specific employer.

Such pipelines are notoriously hard to sustain. Estimates of candidate attrition from pipelines range from 25 to more than 50 percent annually. When that kind of seepage happens, what you have isn't a pipeline at all. It's a talent hose, and the workforce you're watering is your competitor's.

Why is pipeline attrition such a problem? Because the affinity candidates feel for an employer is insufficient or missing altogether. They don't know enough about the employer to be interested or they don't believe the employer will respect and support them or both.

Red shirt relationships are the single best way to overcome this lack of familiarity and trust. In sports, a red shirt player is one who is part of a team, but not yet actively participating with it in competition. In other words, they are talent in waiting.

Similarly, red shirt relationships encourage candidates to:

  • see themselves as a member of an employer's select team - they aren't employees, but they are regarded and treated as valued prospects; and

  • believe they can advance their career by working for the employer - the right opportunity may not yet have arrived, but the possibility that it will is real.

These relationships optimize the effectiveness of a talent pipeline. They draw candidates in by promoting viral marketing among those already in the pipeline, and they retain the allegiance of those candidates by providing a uniquely engaging experience. As a result, they give an employer a strong bench of talent, and that cuts both the cost and time to fill its openings.

The Best Practices of Red Shirt Relationship Building

The key to any relationship is good communication. In the case of red shirt relationships, this communication is achieved by messaging like a mentor. To build enduring familiarity and trust, you must be in contact with your pipeline regularly and in a way that signals your support for their success.

Regular communications must be frequent enough to ensure that candidates recognize your organization as a legitimate correspondent, but not so frequent as to be seen as spam. In today's overcrowded messaging environment, the optimum frequency seems to be biweekly. In addition, your communications should always arrive from the same address and always be laid out in the same format.

The content of these communications must acknowledge the different perspective of talent in red shirt relationships. Unlike active job seekers, they aren't searching for immediate employment, but are instead looking for ways to advance their career. While advancement may involve a job change at some point, it is more frequently the result of knowledge acquisition. For that reason, you should send three messages containing career-related information for every one message that describes a specific job opening.

What information are candidates most likely to consider helpful to their career advancement?

They want to know what it's like to work for your employer and what kind of people will be their peers. A career advancement opportunity is as much the result of the culture and values of an organization as it is about the job itself.

They want to learn as much as they can about their profession, craft or trade and the industry in which they work. Career advancement is possible only if they understand the true status of their field and the organizations for which they work.

Developing red shirt relationships - the foundation for an effective talent pipeline - is clearly not a trivial undertaking. It requires a considerable investment of time and effort and can't, therefore, simply be sandwiched into recruiters' already busy days. To be successful, begin with the end in mind. Ask yourself what resources you must commit in order to develop an enduring affinity with the talent that everybody else wants.

Thanks for reading,
Peter Weddle
Visit me at

P.S. Please tell your coworkers and friends about WEDDLE's Newsletter. They'll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and so will we.