Using Stages of Awareness to Place More Candidates

Imagine this:
You’re walking down the street. A stranger walks up to you carrying a syringe. The syringe contains some fluid and has a needle attached. The stranger tells you to roll up your sleeve without any other explanation.

Sounds frightening, doesn’t it? And yet, I have received requests from recruiters on LinkedIn like that scenario for years! Recruiters often want to know if I’ll take their medicine when I know very little about them and I don’t even know if they know anything about me!

When we want people to do something, it helps if they know, like and trust us.

It’s hard to trust someone you don’t know. If you don’t like the other person, it is hard to trust them, too.

But, even if you know and like someone, would you take their advice if it doesn’t apply to you? This is where trust and the stages of awareness come in.

Now imagine this somewhat different scene:
You go to an emergency room and tell them you are having chest pain. The nurse takes one look at you and can tell it isn’t indigestion. The nurse admits you without even having you fill out any paperwork.
A doctor comes and examines you quickly.
The doctor tells you you’re having a heart attack.
What do you do?

Do you ask what the doctor’s GPA was in Medical school?
Do you look around for the doctor’s diploma to find out if the doctor’s school was top notch?

Or, do you just take whatever advice you are given because you don’t want to die?

I’m not going to take a lot of time to figure out how trustworthy the doctor is or whether I like him.
I’m not going to take much time to get to know that doctor.
I’m just going to do what I’m told.

If he wants me to roll up my sleeve because he can give me an injection which will stop my heart attack, I won’t ask a lot of questions. I’ll roll up my sleeve as fast as I can!

When you’re sourcing a position, are you relying on the “candidate” being in the middle of a heart attack (in their career) so that you can get the quick win?

That is a strategy I often see in the marketplace. And, that is one way to get those positions filled. But what if you knew a better way?

In 1966, a copy writer named Gene Schwartz wrote a book called, “Breakthrough Advertising.” In it, he described five stages of awareness. These stages are still applicable today.

The five stages of awareness are:

  1. Unaware
  2. Problem aware
  3. Solution aware
  4. Product aware
  5. Most aware

The idea is that people often have problems that they don’t recognize. Joe Programmer could be a week away from losing his job and not know it. Or Joe could advance his career through changing jobs even though his current job is secure. He could learn more from a new job, or earn more money, or like his new co-workers better. There could be other benefits, too. But, if Joe doesn’t know any of that, he won’t be looking for a job. Joe is unaware of his need for a new job. It won’t help to ask him if he’d like this awesome job you have for him. He’ll say, “No,” because he doesn’t know any better.

We all know we should think about things from the other person’s perspective. What if you could make money from your relationship with that person even if they can’t use your services?

There is, of course, also a level of “awareness” which is something like level 0. Joe may not have a problem that a recruiter can help him with. Sometimes the answer is to wait. It could be that Joe needs help with a problem you can help him with a week from now or a month or six months from now. Stay fresh in his mind. If you keep building his image of you in his mind, when it comes time for him to want to move on, he’ll be more likely to come to you for help.

That’s where regular contact helps. Of course, if you have 7000 contacts in your LinkedIn contact list, it would be hard to contact all those people in a personalized way once a month. But, what if you could email all those people with information they generally like to read? What if you could contact thousands of those people with as little work as when you contact one of those people?

And when you contact them, wouldn’t it be nice if those contacts resulted in people begging you to work with them? That’s called a newsletter.

You can share stories of how you are helping candidates get jobs. You can show people how they can advance in their careers. Anything which will be of value to many of your readers will keep you in that “top of mind” space…and can help build your relationship with those readers. Then, when they realize they could use your services, they’ll be happy to take their medicine.

If you’d like help with emailing your candidates on a regular basis, or if you have questions about what I’ve written here, shoot me an email at get[at]thepointe[dot]me. I’ll be sure to read your email and get back with you right away!

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