Earlier this month, Target retail stores and its online site were overrun with activity from customers desperate to own a piece of squiggle-patterned luxury at a bargain price. On Sept. 13, famed Italian house Missoni launched a line exclusively for Target, and everybody wanted in. The Internet traffic caused Target’s website to crash, and the Missoni line was essentially sold out in a few hours. If you visit the website today, you will see most items are listed as “out of stock.”
It’s interesting that even in today’s economy, when many people are tightening their purse strings and have less disposable income, they still turned out in droves to spend on this collection, which, while affordable, is not comprised of necessities. People are even taking advantage of the craze by reselling the items on eBay at outrageous prices!
The consumer enthusiasm was (and still is) certainly driven by hype and Missoni itself, but Target did a lot to ensure that the line would be well-received. Though they made some mistakes , there are still nuggets of information to be mined from this situation – namely, building excitement without creating disappointment. How can you apply the good pieces of Target’s tactics to your recruitment strategy?
- Create a buzz. Target released news and information about the Missoni collection months before it officially launched. They also included photographs of the entire line and pricing information. People started to get excited and planned their purchases. You can create a similar buzz about job openings by posting the information in several places and heightening the excitement. For example, if you have several marketing positions to recruit for, you can start tweeting and posting about them via social media. Sample post: “I’ve got a few excellent marketing positions coming soon! Limited-time offer, check back for updates! Going live 9/25.” This simple post gets people who are interested in those positions interested in your Twitter feed. They’ll start paying closer attention, waiting for the date when you post the opportunities.
- Instill a sense of urgency in candidates. Target let consumers know that the line would only be available in limited quantities, for a limited time. You should let candidates know that the job opening will be filled quickly. Set a deadline, and stick to it. This is useful because it enables you to see which candidates can adhere to deadlines; it also lets candidates know that the job is desirable and there is significant competition. (If you’re worried about not getting enough candidates, you can always repost or extend the deadline later.)
- Follow through on your marketing. Target has made it clear that, despite the high demand, they won’t be ordering any additional Missoni goods beyond additional scheduled shipments. They are sticking to the limited-quantity collection they advertised. If you set a deadline for applications, make sure you also set a deadline for yourself to go through them and respond to people. If you phone interview people, respond to them quickly about in-person interviews and so on. Instilling a sense of urgency but not following through on that promise will only serve to annoy some candidates.
- Handle the resultant attention with aplomb. Target has been responding to customer feedback, but some customers are still dissatisfied because of delayed shipments and order cancellations. If your number of applicants is much larger than anticipated, don’t panic. Send a note to each applicant letting him/her know you received his/her application, and that there was a high volume of applicants. Let them know that if they don’t hear anything by a certain date, then they should assume that the position has been filled by another applicant. That should alleviate disgruntled applicants.