The Principal of Least Interest & Interactive Recruiting
For years recruiters have been looking for the best way to reach those who are not actively looking for a job – passive candidates. For some reason that I don’t always agree with, the passive candidate is perceived to be more valuable than those who are actively seeking a job. There is a sociological theory called The Principal of Least Interest and what it means which I can see very much applying to why passive candidates are so attractive to recruiters. The principal of least interest is explained as such:
The individual who is least interested in a relationship has the greatest power
Its simple psychology that explains why we want what it is that we cannot have. If I want my 3 year old son to eat carrots, I just have to eat them and tell him that he cannot have any. In seconds he’ll be demanding that I share some with him and he’ll be eating carrots like they were made of pure sugar. Without directly comparing recruiting to my situation with my toddler, it does highlight an important aspect of reasons why recruiters covet passive candidates – because they’re not available.
There are plenty of well documented methods of connecting with passive candidates which include branding, social networking, and countless “old-school” methods of networking, etc. In an effort to cut through the clutter that Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn present, my former employer Advertising Giant Leo Burnett has cooked up a great innovative way to reach their target candidates in a way that only an ad agency can – David On Demand. The Advertising Festival in Cannes France has quickly become a great recruitment vehicle for an organization that looks to hire only the best, brightest, and most creative professionals in the industry.
David on Demand is an interactive tool much like Ad Agency CrispinPorter+Bogusky’s Subservient Chicken campaign for Burger King a few years back except instead of a pre-recorded, limited number of responses to users requests, David On Demand is a way for people to send messages via twitter to David Perez, a creative recruiter at Leo Burnett, telling him what to do while he’s out and about in Cannes. And to make sure he does what is requested, he’s installed a live-streaming webcam to his glasses, allowing users to see exactly what he’s doing 24/7.
This started as a creative way to attend an exclusive industry event in a location known for its nightlife as much as the events that the town hosts and has morphed into something much larger. I’m not sure if anyone realized ahead of time, but David has stumbled upon recruiting gold. How is this gold you ask?
As of this morning David already has 1381 fans of the David on Demand Facebook page, 3,628 followers of the David on Demand twitter account, and messages to David’s twitter account are pouring in nearly every minute of the day. Each interaction is with someone leaves a trail – a name, a twitter account, an email address, and more important than anything else a very unique impression of what makes Leo Burnett an amazing employer. This isn’t a professionally crafted culture video, a welcome statement from the CEO (usually crafted by a marketing or PR professional), or a slick brochure. It’s simply David out having fun, meeting people, and representing his agency in a highly visible way.
To bring it all full circle, Leo Burnett and David have discovered how to cut through the clutter and reach out to the highly coveted passive candidates in a way that few can ever hope to. In doing so, they have helped to shift the power of the discussion from the highly coveted candidate to the employer, by putting Leo Burnett in a position of having the least interest and thus the power in the conversations that take place from this point forward.