Imagine the company you bought shoes from arranging to have UPS come and pick up the shoes you are returning, after their deadline for full refund had passed, and then that same shoe company sending a sympathy card and flowers upon hearing of the death of your mother. Sound crazy and impossible? Sure. Did it happen? It sure did.
Seth Godin pointed out this story recently and I sat at my desk (honestly with a tear in my eye) applauding the shoe company Zappos for being real, caring and building a relationship that would have long lasting effect on both their business and their bottom line. But, as Godin says, the truth is they didn't do it for the PR. Nope, they did it because it was in their corporate DNA:
A woman had a touching and memorable experience with Zappos and wrote about it. It's really clear that there was no PR intent at all, it was just one human reaching out to another.
The implications for recruiting are enormous.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the folks at New Workforce incorrectly credited me with coining the acronym TRM (Talent Relationship Management). While I was not the first to coin the acronym, the teams I was fortunate to lead were extremely successful and recognized as best in class at executing TRM.
Recruiters and recruiting teams are aware of the relatively well known and worn out idea of Customer Relationship Management that evolved into Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) in the recruiting space. I dislike the idea of Candidate Relationship Management in recruiting as it is impossible to really have a "relationship" with candidates that apply for opportunities or who are searched out and recruited for opportunities.
The proper strategy for success in executing these principles in recruiting must be TRM or Talent Relationship Management. The strategy, which has proven to work tactically, is that great recruiters establish and maintain relationships with great talent in various job and industry spaces in order to leverage those relationships into more talent and more hires. That relationship means being involved with the talent (high performers) you are connected to and giving rather then just receiving. Real TRM is hard work and thus not every recruiting team or recruiter can execute it properly. In fact, as in the Zappos example above, it has to be a part of your recruiting team and recruiter DNA. You have to care. It has to matter to you. You have to be passionate about it.
When TRM is done right with the right intentions the rewards in the form of performance improvement of a recruiting team, a stronger recruitment brand for the company and the depth of talent in the pipeline are enormous. The challenge is that so many recruiters and recruiting teams are ill trained and not prepared to put forth the effort necessary to leverage TRM into success. It is likely time we took a lesson from the shoe company.