In the last several years, recruitment has made great strides in heightening the pre-career experience for potential candidates.
Through the delivery system of the Internet, we can post podcasts and videos so target audiences can get an inside glimpse of a company’s work environment or hear actual employees give testimony as to why they love working at XYZ International. But, have we merely scratched the surface in giving likely candidates a full sensory experience of how great a new career can be?
Scented ads are certainly nothing new, particularly to those of us who find the perfume-scented strips inside magazines bordering on total annoyance. But, according to research firms like Gfk MRI who polled 49 scented ads versus 6,000 unscented, the “stop and read” factor is enormously high. Now enter KA Aroma, a Finnish company that has developed a patent-pending aroma-locking technology called Smell Me ™ that can infuse just about any smell into paper — from coffee to salt air. Imagine creating a direct-mail postcard or a brochure with the customized scent — a hospital located only miles from the sea breeze of the beach or the whiff of fried chicken being served at the spring company picnic. Talk to fragrance developers like Scent A Brand in Belgium and they can come up with more than 10,000 options. As they put it, “our different scented technologies can be orchestrated in harmony with brand strategy or brand identity.”
Maybe you’re a bit skeptical about how effective scent can be in transmitting your employment brand. However, when your brand packs the right emotional wallop, scent should be a natural extension. Talk to world-famous chef Grant Achatz of Chicago’s Alinea restaurant and he’ll tell you that emotion is central to his dining experience. Over a four-hour-plus meal of 24 courses, Chef Achatz has been known to serve a soup that contains liquefied hay that might remind diners of a long-ago hayride. Or, they may experience a goose dish with a ramekin of orange peel, nutmeg, allspice, sage and goose fat that is meant to give off the smell of opening the oven door on Christmas day. It is not uncharacteristic for an Alinea diner to cry during a meal just from the emotional recall of a smell from their past. “What we do is search out that kind of emotional trigger,” says Achatz.
Of course, our senses are not relegated to smell. Sight is certainly still a powerful means of communicating and exciting our preceptors of want and need.
At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft and Kinect developer PrimeSense showed-off their 3D Modeling technology adapted to enhance the retail experience. This virtual dressing room enables the consumer to not only view a company’s online apparel catalog onscreen, but also to actually show the consumer how the clothes fit on the body. A sophisticated heat mapping output allows the customer to see where the item they’ve chosen is tight or loose. Also at CES, Visikord Interactive has created software that puts users in the center of a gesture-driven environment to have a full interactive experience in just about any location. Think of the possibilities if these technologies could be tweaked for careers. The candidate could “try on” that new job, imagining themselves in their future workplace, interacting with potential coworkers.
Whether it’s rethinking past technologies or exploring inconceivable new ones, the potential to enrich the candidate experience is moving at a furious pace. We, as recruitment thought leaders, must constantly seek out cutting-edge ways that allow interested candidates to “kick the tires” on a new career, engaging them in near-visceral experiences that not only differentiate our clients, but also greatly surpass those offered by their nearest competition.
Our ultimate goal lies beyond immersing our candidates in a sensory experience, arriving at the point where the decision to apply is a cognitive connection. And, in the end, that delivers a sense of success.
Let’s continue the conversation. I’d love to hear what you think about it.