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Ingredients for Success

February 15

Never sit down to write an article about recruiting, or anything else for that matter, when you are hungry. I find myself in that situation currently and my head is filled not with ideas about the next great campus idea to attract top talent, nor with ideas of social media greatness. No, right now my head is filled with thoughts of one thing.

One delicious, gooey, cheesy, yummy thing. Lasagna.

I am not sitting here at my keyboard dreaming of just any lasagna, I am salivating over Giada de Laurentis' Classic Italian Lasagna. Her lasagna is made with a pound of lasagna sheets, four cups of milk, one pound of ground beef, one and a half pounds of ricotta cheese, three eggs, twenty ounces of chopped spinach, three cups of shredded mozzarella, and about 15 other delicious ingredients. It gets even better when you top it with the requisite Bechamel Sauce. The lasagna is served hot out of the oven with steam rising from it. The cheese is bubbling, the Bechamel is dripping and the smell promises a true culinary delight.

Sounds yummy, doesn't it?

Now, imagine that I told you I was making you delicious lasagna, but, instead of providing you with a delicacy made with all of those succulent ingredients listed above, I gave you one lasagna noodle, a spoonful of tomato sauce and a handful of grated cheese. Not much of a lasagna is it? Lasagna depends upon multiple layers of ingredients that combine to make something greater than the individual components.

OK, so you are wondering what any of this has to do with recruiting and if I want to get to dinner anytime soon I had better make that connection too!

Successful recruiting strategies are similar to Giada's lasagna. They are comprised of a complex, interwoven set of ingredients, all of which when combined support each other, reinforce the overall strategy and entice top talent to savor the flavor of your organization.

So what should your "recruiting lasagna" look like? Well, it certainly differs by organization but there are some key fundamental elements that cannot be excluded.

Here's the first few ingredients in a sample recipe:

One pound fresh, well-researched and clearly articulated Employment Brand.

As the first layer, it serves as the anchor to which you connect all of your other elements. It delineates your core values, explains the corporate vision, and allows current and prospective employees to connect to the company.

Three cups Creative Juice

On top of the employment brand layer you build your creative platforms. You can tweak these for campus or experienced hires, for diversity needs or specialized hiring programs; however, they all must connect to the core brand attributes developed as part of your employment value proposition (EVP).

64 ounces effective and efficient Media Planning

It's nice to have a solid EVP and some great creative but unless you know where your audience is — both online and offline — you cannot put the work in front of them. With the shift from traditional to online media and the explosion of social media channels the ensuing media fragmentation makes targeting much more important. Thus, media planning is a critical element much like the mozzarella in lasagna.

So if we think about lasagna (with which I am clearly obsessed at this moment), your recruiting lasagna is comprised of the following basic ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Employment Brand = Noodles
  • 3 Cups Creative Platform = Cheese
  • 64 oz. Career Site = Sauce
  • 1 lb. Media Plan = Ground Beef
  • 2 Cups Events = Spinach
  • A Pinch of Mobile = Salt/Pepper
  • 14 oz. Social Media = Bechamel Sauce

I could go on and on about each ingredient — search engines, social platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), widgets, landing pages and mobile to name a few (add to taste) — but I am sure you are already familiar with them and besides I am hungry.

The point I want to drive home is that to be successful in today's recruiting environment, companies must have a vision and a strategic plan. The integration of brand, creative, media, social, mobile, digital, event and Internet efforts is crucial. Every company has a different combination of these ingredients, a different "brew" if you will that they use to attract talent.

The competition for top talent is only going to intensify and those organizations that create, and more importantly execute, integrated recruiting strategies will find themselves with the best talent.

Now, speaking of that lasagna, the funny thing is that most people I know like to have a glass of wine with their lasagna, but me, I prefer an ice-cold beer. I guess I prefer a good brew. What's your TalentBrew?

Share your recruiting recipe, your TalentBrew, or your other thoughts with me — steven.ehrlich@tmp.com.

If you want the actual recipe for the lasagna I referenced you can find it here.

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