Cash wrapped in bacon (and other recruiting goodies)

baconIt was true in 2011 and it’s going to be true in 2012 as well. Companies are realizing competitive pay isn’t enough and that they need to compete on culture. That’s why I was drawn to this old CNET post detailing how one company offered these special goodies as a hiring bonus:

A briefcase filled with $11,000 in bacon-wrapped cash. A year’s supply of Dos Equis. An oil painting of yourself. Those are just a few of the hiring lures Los Angeles-based Scopely has bestowed upon “the most interesting engineer in the world.”

While software engineering isn’t in my future, I wouldn’t mind the briefcase. Or the bacon. Or the cash.

Faulty logic

One part of the article seemed to be based on faulty reasoning.

Startups spend lots of time looking for engineers because most of the ones looking for work aren’t the ones startups want.

“If an engineer has submitted a resume, I know it’s no good,” says Adam Pisoni, co-founder and CTO of Yammer, an internal social network for companies.

If someone applies to your company, you ignore them as a candidate? Seriously?

The article goes on to talk about how the company’s recruiters instead try to poach talent from other companies. Honestly, how is looking for a hotshot employee at Company A going to help support and grow the culture of Company B? How is that in any way different from posting jobs for people to apply at your company and sorting through those candidates?

We often look for solid candidates who will fit into and help grow our culture. We don’t exclusively seek out superstars who are so self-consumed that they could easily diverge from the carefully cultivated culture. It’s not just us, either. Looking only for experienced candidates flies in the face of the “candidates wanted: experience not preferred” mentality that companies like Chipotle believe in.

Companies that take the time to focus on how their culture differentiates them from the competition will be able to recruit and retain better talent over the long haul. Now about that money/bacon…

Does your culture suck? Here’s how to fix it…

6 thoughts on “Cash wrapped in bacon (and other recruiting goodies)

  1. jarrettgreen

    I must say, as a web application developer, we live perhaps in a different HR world. Until very recently, before taking a job with a client as their CTO, I owned my own development firm, and I have to agree with Mr. Pisoni’s comments.

    We never hired based on resumes. Ever. Our industry changes DAILY and you can’t explain your utter devotion to your craft on a resume. It tells me nothing about the person’s ‘internal culture’. Pretty on paper doesn’t work for an industry where most successes probably dropped out of college, taught themselves, contribute to an open source community, support one another, etc. etc.

    There also seems to be a pervasive mentality of “Well if you’re good, why aren’t you working somewhere already”, or “If you have to ask, you’ll never know”. That’d be extremely harmful in perhaps any other industry, but in one that offers little ‘traditional’ training or classes, or certifications, or anything else it’s a must.

    Now I realize that all sounds incredibly glib or harsh, but it’s probably the reality for most of the web application development industry. Just felt like I needed to say that I think this article works for 99% of industries out there, just not the one you chose to write about ;)

  2. Michael Brisciana

    Ben – – –

    Excellent post, as usual! Two thoughts …

    1. Re: the company you cite that won’t look at candidates who actually apply to them … that’s just nutty (and more than a bit arrogant)! It seems similar to the current (ridiculous) trend to state “unemployed people need not apply.” I wouldn’t even know where to start in describing how self-defeating and absurd an approach that is.

    2. To your larger point regarding culture … I couldn’t agree more. I feel more and more every day that culture is the whole ballgame. It’s an exaggeration, of course, but I’d almost say that if the only thing a company did communications-wise was talk about their culture in ways that drew people in and brought the message to life, well … they wouldn’t have to do very much more than that to have a thriving organization.

    Again, very well said!


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