April 17, 2012   view past issues

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The Hunger Games of Recruitment

Despite its dark themes, The Hunger Games has become an international bestseller for both young and not-so-young adults. It recounts the epic struggles of youthful “tributes’ tossed into an arena where they are cut off from all human contact and left to fend for themselves in a deadly contest. Take away the ensuing violence and you have a disorienting isolation which, sadly, is not all that different from the experience of job seekers in many corporate recruiting processes.

Survey after survey confirms that job seekers are starved for human interaction in their quest for employment. All too often, their applications aren’t acknowledged, their phone calls go unanswered and their visits to corporate career sites feel like a solitary journey through the wilderness.

Now to be fair, this situation is often beyond the control of recruiters. They are hostage to their corporate budgets, policy and technology. They don’t cut the staff so much that each recruiter handles 50 or more open requisitions. They don’t buy applicant tracking systems that only machines could love. And, they don’t assign more priority to finding prospects than to building relationships with them.

That said, today’s Hunger Games of Recruitment are harming employers’ brands and employee loyalty. They leave talented people – but especially top performers – feeling starved of respect and any sense of opportunity.

So, what’s to be done? How can the desolate arena of today’s recruiting process be transformed into a more benign or, even better, a more engaging environment?

The Power of Personalization

Given the very high probability that recruiting budgets and staff levels will remain depressed, any strategy to enhance the humanity of the recruiting process must, ironically, avoid the requirement for additional recruiter participation. So, how can it be accomplished?

The answer is to tap the power of personalization. We may be hostage to corporate budgets, policy and technology, but we do control our content. We can and should revise the messaging that defines our recruiting institutions to make them more respectful of individuals.

Most corporate career sites, for example, treat all visitors as “generic candidates.” Their content is seldom tailored to the unique aspirations, interests and even vocabulary of the demographic cohorts for which an employer recruits. Other than a special tab for recent graduates and, occasionally for diversity job seekers, most sites simply ignore the very real differences between sales professionals, HR practitioners, engineers, accountants and the members of every other career field.

The same is true on most corporate Facebook pages and LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. In fact, the institutions in the vast majority of recruiting processes deny people their workplace identities and, as a consequence, leave them hungry for even a modest level of individual recognition.

Overcoming this depersonalization means restyling the communications of our institutions to create a specialized sanctuary for each of the major demographics for which we recruit. Whether it’s on our corporate career site or an outpost on a social media site, we must give the individuals in these career fields a place where they can feel at home among their peers. That means our content should use their language, address their questions and issues and, optimally, translate our employer’s value proposition into a theme that resonates with them.

Admittedly, this strategy is imperfect. It does require an investment to implement, but that commitment is far less than what would be required to staff a recruiting process for true human interaction. And, the strategy does not transform a recruiting process into an attentive and caring experience, but it does offer candidates more dignity and respect than they’re getting today.

Obviously, corporate recruiting processes have none of the violence and depravity of the fictional hunger games. But, all too often, they do starve candidates of their individuality and thus deprive them of the respect they believe they deserve from employers. Since injecting more one-on-one interaction into the experience is not fiscally feasible, the best way to correct this situation is with the power of personalization – the simple recognition of the differences candidates have worked to establish among themselves.

Thanks for reading,


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A Multitude of Hope

Are you tired of hearing the U.S. is no longer the world leader it once was? Are you fed up with pundits who opine that the American Dream has been replaced by the Chinese Dream or the Indian Dream or the Korean Dream?

If so, get my new book, A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American Dream. Ripped right from today’s headlines, it recounts the experiences of three laid-off Baby Boomers and a secret online group of workplace activists practicing economic disobedience against the vulture capitalists in the American workplace.

A Multitude of Hope will entertain and educate you and, as it names implies, give you hope for the future – yours and your kids.

The book won’t be published for another week or so, but you can place a pre-order with Amazon right now by clicking here.

Be At Your Best With the Best Tools

The best recruiters use the best resources to get the job done. And, when it comes to reaching top talent online, their choice is clear. It’s WEDDLE’s Guides for Recruiting Success. Get yours today!

WEDDLE’s 2011/12 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. This is the 10th edition of the Guide the American Staffing Association called the “Zagat” of job boards and social media sites.

WEDDLE’s Guide to Association Web Sites. This book details the recruiting resources and capabilities that are available at the Web-sites of over 3,000 professional and technical associations.

Finding Needles in a Haystack. This one-of-a-kind guide lists over 25,000 keywords and keyword phrases, across 5,400 job and position titles in 28 industries and professions.

Sourcing Career Success

As recruiters and HR professionals, we spend 33 percent of our day (or more) on-the-job and 100 percent of our job helping others to achieve career success.

Don’t our own careers deserve equal attention? Absolutely! And the one best way to do that is by sourcing career success with WEDDLE’s books. They include:

Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System. This book introduces a complete regimen of activities that will help you successfully compete for and hang onto the job of your dreams. Its one-of-a-kind program not only tells you what to do, but how to do it and how often.

Recognizing Richard Rabbit. This fable for adults will entertain and delight you and help you out of the boxes that keep you from becoming the champion inside you. It is a novel and engaging way to recognize the talented person you are meant to be.

The Career Activist Republic. This blockbuster of a book provides a provocative yet positive assessment of the changing world of work in the American economy and describes an innovative strategy that will enable you to avoid the pitfalls and capture the opportunities in this new environment.

The Success Matrix: Wisdom from the Web on How to Get Hired and Not Be Fired. This anthology collects the best of Peter Weddle’s columns on job search and career success. It is the only book you’ll find that provides a candid and totally up-to-date look at how to get and stay ahead in today’s workplace.

The books are available at and at