July 16, 2007

Recruiting Advertisements

Filed under: Portfolio,Signaling — admin @ 5:59 pm

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“Know-it-all” Recruiting Ad PDF
“Airplane” Recruiting Ad PDF

These are some recruiting advertisements that I designed. They were printed in Mensa magazine as well as in the Detroit News classified section. They were quite successful and have been reprinted many times.

This is probably one of my first attempts to think analytically using economics when designing. They are based on two concepts: signaling and screening. The objective was to induce innovative and creative IT-focused individuals to apply for employment.

You might think that simply saying “Are you innovative? Apply with us.” would suffice as an advertisement. Unfortunately, the recipient cannot tell for certain our commitment to innovation (i.e. an asymmetric information problem). Any company can say they are looking for innovative people (and most probably do). It used to be that simply creating an advertisement was a strong signal. It was costly and is a non-redeployable asset, and a rational organization would not incur such costs if they were not serious. Information technology is changing that landscape, though, and what used to be strong signals are now weak. In other words, anyone can make an advertisement. Signaling now exists in the content of the ad.

To accomplish this we delved into the concerns of innovative individuals. Specifically, they could be at odds with the social system they belong to. They think outside the box and what appears to be unproductive behavior is actually genius at work. They experienced that at school, and realistically could experience that in work as well. By going through this effort to understand what makes innovative individuals, we can credible say that we understand and working for us will be conducive to you.

The second issue is screening. An ad that lacks credibility might create an adverse selection in that truly innovative individuals are not convinced and simply apply to opportunities that appear better. This ad is fair but not exceptional on this issue. I was inspired by one of Google’s ads. It featured a vending machine of items with a puzzle. Simply solve the puzzle and your application is bumped up to the front of the queue. Clever. Those who don’t do well on puzzles will more than likely not apply (which is what Google wants). It’s just quite amazing to think that an ad can be designed such that only the individuals you to want apply. In addition, this lessens the burden of sorting by the Recruiting department.

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