Sunday, March 15, 2009

Guerilla Recruiting Strategies and Methodologies

Guerilla recruiting is a style of recruiting that makes use of the tactics and strategies used for centuries in guerilla warfare. It is a highly focused form of recruiting that is fully integrated and driven by the fundamental motives of the organization. It is typically deployed by an organization that is inferior both in numbers and tools against a larger, more mechanized competitor, but that is not always the case.
Unlike traditional recruiting, which merely supports the business; guerilla recruiting takes responsibility for contributing to and driving the organization's performance. It is a no-holds-barred style of recruiting where every weakness in the competitor is identified and exploited using minimal yet highly focused efforts. The battle that guerilla recruiters are fighting is not for talent, but rather for market share, revenues and survival.
. In guerilla recruiting you attack competitors where they are vulnerable, even if you have no direct need for that talent — because while your competitors counter to repair the damage inflicted, they leave other more desirable talent unguarded. Every weakness must be attacked until the competitor is weakened and can be annihilated, enabling your organization to pick up market share and revenues without the costly expense of a merger or acquisition.
Characteristics of a Guerilla Recruiting Force
A Guerilla recruiting force is a small, very elite group of professional recruiters that often augments a traditional recruiting function. Their actions are not subject to requisitions and budgetary constraints, although they are held accountable for producing a hefty return on investment
Their strengths are in competitive intelligence, tactical planning, and flawless execution. They use the competitor's strengths and weaknesses against them, customizing their plan of attack to each competitor's current circumstances. In particular, they leverage the gaps in employee expectations and employer deliverables.
The guerilla recruiting force:
· Is viewed as a weapon.
· Utilizes the cover of society to mask its presence.
· Plays on the aspirations of talent using sympathy, cooperation, and assistance.
· Does battle on enemy grounds.
· Is laser focused.
What Are the Major Steps in Building A Guerilla Recruiting Force?
Guerilla recruiting is not for the faint of heart or those not adept at dealing with corporate politics.

Guerilla recruiting is about hiring to hurt, about knowingly and purposely inflecting harm on a competitor's ability to do business. Therefore, the primary action that must be taken when building a guerilla recruiting force is to recognize the political nature of the activity and make sure that everyone involved can stomach the gore that will ensue until victory is reached.

With the groundwork in expectations laid, the major steps include:
· Establishing a charter for the force that exists outside that of the traditional
· recruiting function, and possibly outside the human resource department.
· Selecting a leader and key players who have a proven ability to work in unison on
· projects requiring extreme mastery of details.
· Identification of primary business goals and prioritization of external forces capable
· of blocking achievement of those goals.
· Development of a defined process and arsenal of tools to power competitive
· intelligence.
· Establishment of a discretionary spending fund used to finance covert recruiting
· activities.
Critical Success Factors
Success in running a guerilla recruiting force is largely dependent on flawless execution of a short list of success factors. These factors include:
An unrelenting focus on execution based on the perceptions of the target talent versus that of the internal manager or employer.
The identification and internal senior-level support of a guerilla recruiting leader who is resolute, loyal, self confident, capable of handling retaliation, honest, well-informed, and respected.
Dedication by senior leadership to adjust corporate culture, management styles, and corporate infrastructure to meet the changing demands of the talent population.
Dedication by senior leadership to fully support and continue guerilla recruiting activities until victory is achieved with resources needed.
Critical Failure Factors
· Lack of organization and prioritization of guerilla recruiting strikes.
· Existence of hidden agendas or actions outside those sanctioned by the primary
· business goals.
· Use of deceit and trickery as means to secure recruits (this may cause the organization
· more harm than that inflicted on competitors).
· Failure to understand and manage to gaps in what talent expects and what employers
· are capable of delivering.
Examples of Guerilla Recruiting Strikes
Ø One Midwest firm heavily dependent upon high-end customer service talent recruited employees whose demographics matched the target customer profile of competitors to become customers of the competitors for the purpose of identifying which employees were top performers. After establishing a rapport with high-end associates, the employees later used their relationship to identify the associates' decision-making criteria, which was relayed back to the recruiting force and used to deliver customized introductions.
Ø One national insurance firm routinely visited the parking lot of a competitor's regional training facilities with a video camera to record the license plate numbers of employees who showed up on days the competitor was offering certification classes. The firm then used state motor vehicle databases to identify the employees' names and contact information.
Ø One national hotel chain recruited a large task force of retired people interested in travel to scout talent at competing organizations. Recruited scouts were given specific tasks to execute that would see how employees at competing organizations handled certain circumstances. In exchange for their identification and assessment of talent, the hotel chain partially subsidized its scouts' travel.
Ø A regional health services firm transitioned an oversupply of medical technicians following the relocation of a facility into a short-term temporary staffing function which sold services to other regional competitors. While onsite, the technicians were charged with evaluating and reporting back to the guerilla recruiting force which talent was worth recruiting and what their likely concerns or motivations were. Once the key talent at competing firms was mapped, the temporary staffing technicians were reabsorbed into other operations in a manner that looked growth related.


Anonymous said...

good one balaji
Manoj abraham

The Edge said...

You may notice a jump to your blog - I asked this question over on LI:

Thanks for putting an important subject "out there"!


Anonymous said...


I have read this original article from Dr Sullivan's website. My advise is, you should put source for this copy right article. Ok bye.Thank you.

tommy said...

This is a great article.It clearly defines my past work experience.

andythedog said...

Bob: Thanks again for the definition. I may have the oppurtunity to get back to this practice in the Cache/MUMPS IT market.

andythedog said...

Bob: Thanks again for the definition. I may have the oppurtunity to get back to this practice in the Cache/MUMPS IT market.

Anonymous said...

Well nice one, but this article was priginaly penned by Dr. John Sullivan...Here's the link -

Make a note of it so Copyright issues dont bug you later on.

-A Maverick Recruiter

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