Lesson 3: The Circus Effect

Before the world of the internet, (yes, once upon a time there was the world that existed with no computers, tablets or cell phones) how did a community know when the circus came to town?

How did they get the word out without Facebook? Without Twitter?

The circus didn’t need the internet to get the town buzzing about the upcoming festivities, they just needed to follow three simple, old school steps!

Step 1 – Spread the Word!

The circus would send one person ahead of them to spread the word and get the people excited.

This person would go to the general store and tell anyone who would listen that the circus was coming to town. Sometimes, they’d hang out at the checker table, occasionally they would venture to the boarding house or maybe the local bars.

The purpose of this was to get people talking about the circus. When someone heard the news about the circus, they would tell someone else, and then that person would tell someone else, and so on and so forth until the whole town was abuzz with the news of the circus!

So in today’s era, how do we get people talking about your hotel and the fact that you have jobs available? Start with your current team!

Post all of your openings in a designated area and talk to your team members about it. Develop mentor programs where are you pay your current team members a small hourly bonus to aid in the first week of onboarding a new team member; this will start creating the “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) effect. Offer your team bounties for helping with recruiting, “Bring a friend get $50“. 

Step 2 – Every Square Inch!

No one ever had to wonder when the circus was starting. This is because they would have covered every square inch of available space with posters, billboards and flyers!

On the day the circus showed up in town, they definitely got the buzz started when they paraded down Main Street riding elephants and rolling giant cages with lions inside, but they made sure that the community knew the dates and the times beforehand by plastering every inch of available space with posters.

No Elephants Required!

So, how can you put this into practice without an elephant? Flyers! Print flyers with the your message and put them up on community bulletin boards in grocery stores, coffee shops, laundry mats, and apartment buildings! If your hotel or restaurant is near a college campus, talk to the admissions office or maybe check out the coffee shop around the corner! Find a couple of students that live on campus and give them a couple of cups of coffee to put up a couple of flyers.

If you’re in an area where people still walk, telephone/electrical poles are still prime spaces. In a community where everyone drives, yard signs that have your message printed on them can be placed a couple of feet back from a traffic light.

And don’t forget about the side of your building! What a great place for a banner!

When you’re contemplating your verbiage for your flyers, yard signs, posters and billboards, make them all look similar. They don’t have to be exactly the same but you want to do things like use the colors from your logo in your type. Use the same message if you’re going to have a sign on bonus, don’t bury the lead, and put that at the very top in big green letters!

You need to make it easy for anyone who reads your signs to follow up by using a website address or bring in a little new school and add a text-to-apply feature. 

Step 3 – Blessings Abound!

The circus would always offer special discounted tickets which they would give to churches and other community organizations to distribute. Occasionally, a ringmaster would even invite a priest to bless the animals in the hopes that that priest would talk about them in Sunday’s sermon.

So, talk to your local churches, halfway houses, rehab facilities, and social organizations and let them know about your current openings. Ask if they can help you put together a job fair or maybe mention the fact that you’re hiring in their next newsletter.

The Bottom Line

In today’s climate, if you are still just trying to attract the unemployed individual, you’re probably barking up the wrong tree.

You must be looking for those that are unemployed as well as those that are underemployed or even just looking for a change of scenery when it comes to their job.

By creating the circus effect in your community, you can ensure that everyone hears about your job and is motivated to find out more.

This is especially important because it brings in people who may not be actively searching for work but may be enticed by your message. People who are currently working, but are underemployed or people who are employed but yearning for a change of scenery or new opportunities are great candidates that you will probably never reach with online job ads.

In this strange new world we live in, the new school ways of recruiting don’t necessarily work like they used to. By taking inspiration from what’s worked in the past, and putting these old-school tactics to work in new ways, you can open your doors to candidates that that you may not have had access to before.