Old-School Recruiting Messages Stand Out in a Digital-World

Most of your recruiting messages are simply lost within the literal flood of digital messages that top prospects receive every day. So, if you need your recruiting message to stand out, consider using unique but effective message delivery mechanisms that few other recruiters use.

For example, print your recruiting messages on paper and deliver them via snail mail. One example of this currently novel revisited old-school approach is the USPS “Dear future postal employee” recruiting message delivered via a hard copy paper mailer (see the accompanying picture). “Paper messaging” isn’t a panacea, but it is another tool to try when spamming digital messages simply no longer works. Other messaging media where paper recruiting messages will stand out include recruiting information inserts in product packaging, hardcopy birthday/anniversary cards, and handwritten and addressed personal message cards.

The Advantages of Delivering Recruiting Messages on Paper

Because of the deluge of digital messages, no matter how well your message is crafted, the odds that your email, social media, or text recruiting message being noticed and opened is painfully small. So, because of its uniqueness, “paper recruiting” has many advantages. They include:

  • There will be no other recruiting messages alongside it — because everyone has shifted to digital messaging. Your paper-based recruiting messages are almost guaranteed to appear alone without competition from other recruiting messages.
  • There is no electronic spam filter — unlike electronic messaging, there is no automatic electronic spam filter that screens out paper messages delivered as part of your standard mail service. And in addition, if these mailed paper messages don’t look like obvious junk mail, you can at least be assured that they will be seen by your target.
  • Certain formats are more likely to be opened — if the recruiting message initially looks like a birthday card or personal message. If the message comes in the form of a postcard, it will at least get a glance.
  • Non-active jobseekers will likely view them — Some currently employed individuals consider it to be somewhat disloyal to look at job postings, so it’s hard to get a recruiting message in front of them. However. if they receive “sponsored content” that doesn’t obviously look like an overt recruiting message or junk mail, they may actually read it. This learning content should read like a company or product profile or cover the unique use of a new
  • Everyone likes to open packages — If your recruiting message is the only message that is included in an ordered product package that is delivered to the office, you may be able to get your target’s attention during his or her workday. You can put recruiting messages in the packages of your own products, but now there is even a package insert marketplace (UnDigital.com) that has sold ad space to major retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue. Also, consider sending personalized recruiting materials to top prospects via UPS or FedEx packages. In these cases, you can be assured that it will be noticed and opened. And although it’s expensive, spending the money on package delivery may show the candidate that you’re seriously interested in them. 

Consider Other Non-Electronic Printed Messages

There are various other unique approaches that you should consider. Offering printed business cards may once again begin to add value because actual paper business cards are becoming relatively rare. Being unique may mean that offered business cards will stay on desktops or in a pocket serving as a periodic reminder. Post-it note pads, pens, and thumbnail drives with career messages on them can still work as a daily reminder of future career opportunities. Printing recruiting messages on the heat sleeves at a coffee shop adjacent to your competitor may also be a print-based idea worth another try. 

Final Thoughts

Being unique and “standing alone” are two key success factors for getting the attention of your extremely busy recruiting targets that are not actively looking for a job. Supplement your digital approach with unique recruiting approaches that garner attention. Even though it is old-school, standbys like direct phone calls and sending paper messages should be part of every recruiter’s arsenal. Also consider other non-digital formats for message delivery, including recruiting ads during movie trailers and spots on targeted radio stations that your targets most likely listen to during their commute. And, of course, track the effectiveness of any novel approaches with metrics, so that you can reduce their usage when they are no longer effective.

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Author’s Note: If this article stimulated your thinking and provided you with actionable tips, connect with me on LinkedIn and subscribe to the ERE Daily.

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," Staffing.org called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website www.drjohnsullivan.com and on staging.ere.net. He lives in Pacifica, California.



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