On “The Bachelor,” it’s not unusual for a first date to consist of a helicopter ride to an exotic destination or deserted island. That’s a little over the top. But when it comes to the competitive world of recruiting, where companies and startups are vying for the best talent, some are turning on the charm and opening up their wallets (big time!) to tempt top talent to walk through the doors with grand gestures designed to sweep them off their feet.
Take for instance Squarespace, a tech startup in New York City, that has come out swinging amidst goliaths like Google and Facebook. First came its SuperBowl commercial debut and now it’s courting top design and engineering talent with a fully paid weekend-long trip to The Big Apple, part of its recruiting campaign “Be a Part of It.” (Did I mention it was fully paid?)
The company promises a free stay for candidates, who are invited to interview at its SoHo location, AND their spouses or partners at a chic hotel in the heart of the city along with money to splurge while exploring New York City as tourists — free meals, entertainment, museum visits, etc. I mean, how can anyone resist (unless the weekend forecast calls for 12 inches of snow)?
“We want to lure people away from Silicon Valley and other tech communities,” says Joris Luijke, Squarespace’s vice president of people. “We believe New York is the best place in the world to live and be inspired — it’s the perfect backdrop for our design-oriented tech jobs.”
What’s interesting about this is the fact that the company is selling its entire application process as an experience not only for the candidate, but also for his or her significant other. Just think about it, if a great company with an awesome opportunity knocked on your door but was in a different location than you or your family had in mind, it wouldn’t be such a no-brainer of a decision, right? Sometimes selling the other person in your life can be half the battle, so seducing both parties with an all-expenses paid trip to provide a glimpse of what life could be like seems like a very clever move.
Introducing one’s better half into the equation is not a huge anomaly in
an alternate universe a competitive world where some companies offer employees and their significant others a helicopter ride chauffeured by the CEO or fly every employee and their entire family to Tahoe for a stay at the Ritz Carlton. But it’s one of the more recent examples of how some companies — tech startups, in particular — are bringing out the big guns to wow both candidates and their families with a memorable experience.
You may have also heard about Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh’s “Downtown Project,” a $350 million initiative to revitalize downtown Las Vegas and lure entrepreneurs and tech startups in an effort to attract top talent to Las Vegas instead of Silicon Valley, where they may naturally be inclined to gravitate. According to a piece in Entrepreneur.com, the idea is to transform the downtown area “into a thriving, culture-rich community led by creative thinkers and bound by common passions. The five-year plan places entrepreneurs at the core, with an emphasis on the arts, music, fashion and technology, as well as education and urban development.”
It seems the strategy is to create strong connections — emotional, intellectual, artistic and even geographical ones — and a sense of community with candidates and their families, who would likely have to relocate as well, right from the start. An approach like this has the potential to make a great first impression — and also leave a lasting one.
Tell us in the comments below — what you think of this recruiting trend? How effective do you think it is in the long run?