Recruiting members for a religious cult is no easy task – if your cult doesn't have any, then you're just one more guy with an alien reptile god complex. Cults need believers. But how to get them? How do you convince thousands of people that humans descend from extraterrestrials or that you're channeling an ancient spirit from Mesopotamia who needs your time, your adulation and lots and lots of money? For self-styled messiahs and their organizations, extremely creative recruiting tools are mandatory. These tactics are often subtle and rarely moral, but believe it or not, companies that seek to broaden their palette of recruiting solutions can learn a thing or two by looking beneath the surface.
Let's take a look at some of the ways that cults do their recruiting and see if we can't spin them into something a little more palatable but every bit as useful.
Look for People Who Want a Change
Cult leaders send their recruiters to places where troubled people congregate, from support groups and AA meetings to hospitals and even funerals. Obviously, this is not a nice thing to do, and no ethical business leader would adopt these tactics. Don't be a jerk. But the “desperate for change” part does hook right into the science of recruiting.
Instead of staking out areas where emotionally vulnerable people congregate, try boosting your presence where dissatisfied workers gather to vent – online. The Resumator’s social recruiting tools can help your business promote open positions on Facebook, Twitter and other popular sites. When users log on to rant about an awful boss or an insane workload, your job postings will catch their eye. Cult-like behavior? Hardly. That's just smart social recruiting.
Free Events Help Your Recruiting Efforts
To more effectively recruit new believers, cult members sometimes organize special events, a tactic which allows them to camouflage their true motives. They know that people are more likely to attend a networking mixer, a youth group or a charity fundraiser than they are to sign up for an information session on the interdimensional doomsday prophesy of Gur the Dragon of Death.
Since you’re offering rewarding jobs at a successful company, there’s no need to hide your intentions, and free events can help you attract more applicants than you otherwise would. Offer a networking luncheon for young professionals or schedule a free seminar on your business’s area of expertise. When you do, you’ll bring passionate and engaged workers right to your door, making your recruiting process and employee selection efforts that much more efficient.
Work in Teams to Accomplish Your Recruiting Goals
A friendly, smiling face is one of the most effective recruiting tools there is, and that’s why cult members approach potential recruits as friends, not as headhunters. They speak of a community that is personal, inviting and familial, and they offer outsiders access to a sprawling support network full of like-minded people. To minimize doubt, new inductees are encouraged to interact with longtime members, who are happy to tout the many virtues of communal cult living (or to describe in detail the heralded return of the benevolent lizard people of Gleetglar).
A business's experienced employees can actually play a similar role. They're valuable recruiting tools themselves. When you're writing new job descriptions, ask department members what they like best about the work they do and the company they do it for. Then create a support system for interested applicants by connecting them with your most knowledgeable employees. When you help outsiders understand what it’s like to work for your company, they’ll be far more interested in joining your ranks.
Cult leaders aren’t the first source you turn to when you’re in search of recruiting solutions, and for good reason. If you ran to your local cult every time you needed advice on a tough business problem, you'd wind up hand-stitching metallic capes and learning to speak Reptilian instead of, you know, running a successful company here on Earth. But while you might not agree with the things that cult members believe, it's possible to learn something from the creative recruiting tactics they employ.
Try some of these methods for yourself and watch your business recruiting results improve. Then and only then is it acceptable to wear a silver cape to the office.