Guy Kawasaki explains that a part of The Art of Recruiting is to hire infected people--that is, people who love your business and your products... people that you don't have to pay to promote you, they'll do it all day long for free:
Hire infected people. Classically, organizations look for the “right” educational and professional backgrounds. I would add a third quality: Is the candidate infected with a love of your product? Because all the education and work experience in the world doesn't matter if the candidate doesn't “get it” and love it. On the other hand, an ex-jewelry schlepper like me can make it in technology if you're infected with a love of the product.
The problem is, how do you find people who love your company that much?...
This problem exists, in part, due to the fact that most corporate communication is one-way.
Thanks to a century of mass-media, the corporate communications machine is engineered quite like the proverbial toothpaste tube... once the message comes out, that's just about all you can do with it. No reply allowed, appreciated or, in most cases, wanted.
And, that's all coming from the marketing department--one of the few organizations in the company which is actually being paid to interface with partners, clients and consumers If Marketing can't communicate effectively with the outside world, how in the heck are you, a simple hiring manager--going to reach out over the ivy-covered corporate firewall and discover who is your company's greatest external ally?
Here's some ideas:
Get brave. Go where your consumers go. Actually drive over to that store and talk to people using your product. Search the web, browse the forums. Find out what people really think. But, watch out, they will tell you the truth.
Get evangelical. If you want a choir to preach to, you better start preaching something worth singing praises about. Start a blog. Create the conversation on your own. Engage the world, and leave comments open on your site!
Get connected. It's time to network like you mean it. No, not smarmy, slimy scratch-my-back-i'll-scratch-yours networking. Serious, professional networking. You'll be suprized at who you know, but only if you start cultivating that garden.
Get real. Look, you won't find them today or tomorrow, but start now, and you'll eventually have a captive cadre of candidates dying to work with you.
Over the next week or so, I'll expand on these different ideas with links, comments and how-to's. This might be fun, but be careful. You might actually find what you're looking for.