I Love Rewards' novel wine-and-cheese recruiting tactics - Metro US

I Love Rewards’ novel wine-and-cheese recruiting tactics

Riding out of the recession, companies are looking for cost-effective ways to recruit new staff. One Canadian company has come up with a novel technique it says cuts recruiting costs by 99.3 per cent.

I Love Rewards, a Toronto web-based rewards and recognitions company working with firms like Mircosoft and Rogers, needed to fill 17 positions last month. It looked at headhunters, but as they typically take 20 per cent of base salary, it seemed a costly way to go. Even online recruiters can cost anywhere between $300 and $750, and advertising isn’t cheap.

CEO Razor Suleman says the company doesn’t object to paying, but “we are very economical in how we do things.” He devised a low-budget approach that would land the best candidates. Using the “A-players know A-players” strategy, Suleman motivated staff to spread the word through their social networks by offering points that are redeemable for rewards.

That netted 1,200 online applications. “It was overwhelming,” he says. To cut the list down, I Love Rewards emailed all applicants and invited them to a wine-and-cheese open house.

“We didn’t even read their resumés,” he admits. “We guaranteed an interview that day, you could learn about our product, you could meet the senior leadership team and experience our office.”

Over the two evenings, 400 applicants showed up, meaning two-thirds of the applicants selected themselves out. The remainder got a feel for what the company was about and the company got a feel for what the applicants were about.

The CEO — Suleman — led a Q&A and filtered applicants in for a five-minute interview to get a feel for fit. That took the 400 down to 120 people.

The next stage broke that down into small groups and interviewed candidates with three “experiential” questions and a killer fourth: Ruling out yourself, who would you hire from the group and why?

“It will be crystal clear,” he says. “Even if you, as the interviewer, were asleep the entire time, the interviewees will tell you who are the best two that should move forward.”

ILR then explored the technical qualifications of the finalists and made their hires.

“To be able to eliminate 95 per cent of the people in effectively five hours? At a cost of $1,800? There is no better way,” Suleman says.

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