Finding and hiring great team players is a challenge for most organizations. One of the obvious solutions is to hire an outside recruiting firm to help you – but what if you are that recruiting firm?
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That was the case with my client J2T Recruiting Consultants, a successful boutique accounting and finance recruiting firm in Denver. Owner Julie Scates and her team took a unique approach to finding a new team member.
Julie describes the challenge of finding a new recruiter for J2T by saying, "We go to our network on a regular basis and ask, 'Who do you know in the accounting and finance space?' But now we wanted to ask them, 'Who do you know from our competitors?' Even our most loyal clients use two or three recruiting firms when sourcing a new position. So, we knew they were aware of other great recruiters but protective of their relationships. We needed a 'carrot.'"
J2T decided the carrot was two tickets to an upcoming Denver Broncos game – perfect for a city filled with Broncos fans.
The month-long contest was simple but effective. Julie describes the contest like so: "We made it easy for people to qualify for the drawing. We simply said, 'You're getting this request because you know J2T and you know what we're about. Send us a name of someone you know, like, and trust in the financial recruiting industry that we should know.'"
Julie says it was important to "be specific about the carrot." J2T made it clear to everyone that the two tickets were in the first row of the infamous "south stands" – where the fans are rowdy, fun, and full of energy. Also, the seats were right behind the goal post, where fans are regularly captured on TV.
"The tickets cost me a small fortune, $1,800. But it was the best $1,800 I spent all year," Julie says.
J2T sent the contest to several hundred contacts who produced 103 names. Of those names, 30 were duplicates, which meant they immediately shot to the top of the list.
"My clients did the work of filtering the list for me," Julie says.
Julie's "must meet" list resulted in 12 meetings with key players in her industry that she didn't know before the contest. She also connected through LinkedIn with every name on the list and sent each a personal note.
Julie adds, "We have a process to reach out to all of the new connections regularly to build our virtual bench."
Julie has completed the 12 one-on-one meetings with her "must meet" list but hasn't pulled the trigger on offering anyone a job – yet.
"Like most A-players, it takes time to build a relationship," Julie says. "I'm certain one of these talented recruiters will be working for me soon."
Moreover, the contest was a great way to start each relationship. Everyone in Julie's industry knew about it – even her competitors. These people were excited when Julie called to inform them one of their clients had referred them to J2T.
"I was a voice of positive affirmation to people that didn't even work for me," Julie says.
The contest also had other benefits. J2T asked the winner to take some pictures at the game, which they later used on social media to get additional buzz going with all their clients.
"Our clients are conservative and typically nonemotional accountants," Julie says. "It was fun for them to get jazzed up and excited about the possibility of going to a Broncos game and see J2T in a creative and fun way."
Also a fan of the Denver Broncos, Rob Simons is a certified Gazelles International Four Decisions™ coach for Petra Coach, a Nashville-based company that companies hire to help build a culture of purpose, alignment, and accountability by implementing the Rockefeller Habits. Rob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-845-2782.