Recruitment. Does Research Confirm Gut Feel?

Marketing to candidates, is like any other form of marketing, you need to know what your audience desires. What they feel they need, what they will connect with and respond to? Brands have always done this due to the size of the prize, products are being sold at high value or high volume.  And it’s that combination of Research + Creativity, which  = problem solved.

Now in recruitment when there is a high volume of roles to recruit for, smaller stakes (which is a debate, as there is plenty published on the true cost of the wrong hire) and massive time pressure to deliver, deeper research can be put aside, or left to a quick chat with a line manager.
However these days there’s so many ways to gain a bit more than a gut feel. And it makes all the difference.
Social Media:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Quora, LinkedIn. Don’t think social as simply a channel to reach your target audience. These places are filled with rich insights into what your target audiences likes, don’t like and also how to get them engaged. Start a question on Quroa?
Study profile pictures, what are the commonalities in the way they write in their profile pictures on LinkedIn or Facebook? We see a skew towards engineers profile pictures on mountain bikes, outdoors, hiking, adventure based activities. Now perhaps nothing new? But social profiles provides confirmation of interest and behaviour. It then helps start to shape the message (by the way these four images are all real New Zealand based engineers on LinkedIn).
It’s who you know:
Ironically. In a world of social media. Nothing beats being social. Talk to those who know your audience. I recall being at a recent event where someone was applauded for a Facebook strategy to attract early childhood teachers. Now on the face of it that makes sense. But when you start talking to early childhood teachers you fast realise it’s pretty hard to figure out if they are on Facebook. Their staff are discouraged for being active, or sharing who they work for. Get out and talk and listen for those little gems.
Same, Same but Different
What works here, doesn’t work elsewhere. Research those job title nuances, changes from different countries and regions. A cost manager in New Zealand can be a Quantity Surveyor in the UK. Select images carefully, what might be a home favourite, may mean something else, elsewhere. What global job title variations do you notice when you’re searching for talent?
For example in New Zealand we love Taranaki for the beauty of the mountain, but if your talent overseas it sends a different message. It’s not a tropical paradise in New Zealand. It’s cold. What do you think?
So most times you find research confirms the gut feel, common sense prevails. And if you get it wrong you find out quick.  But never assume. On that note I’ll leave you with a well told story, it is a ripper.


When Gerber, a Nestle brand started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as they did in the US, with a bubbly little baby smack on the label. Later, they did some research. Later. They learned that in Africa companies routinely put pictures of the ingredients on the label, since many people can’t read.

This article first appeared on LinkedIn Pulse on September 1, 2015


Related articles

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Sign up to our newsletter

Get a weekly digest on the latest in Talent Acquisition.

Deliver this goodness to my inbox!