Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cars, Cash Some Ways to Land New Hires

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cars, Cash Some Ways to Land New Hires

Article excerpt

A leased BMW Z-3 roadster free for three years. A chance on a $1,500 gift certificate for playing a technical game. A cool $100,000 signing bonus.

Got your attention? That's the idea.

Employers desperate for workers with scarce skills are resorting to some eye-catching giveaways to stand out from the crowd.

"It's indicative of just how tight the labor market is right now," said Jeff Hyman, CEO of Career Central Corp. (http://www.careercentral.com), an Internet recruiter. "The fact that companies have to do more and more to stand out above their competitors means they're going to measures like these."

Take the cars, for instance. Last spring, an e-commerce start-up in New Jersey, Mirronex Technologies Inc., hit on the idea of offering a leased BMW Z-3 roadster to new hires for several of its prized technical spots.

Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, enters employees who refer a successful new hire in a lottery for a Volkswagen Beetle.

AppleOne Employment Services is offering chances on a 1965 red Mustang convertible, part anniversary celebration and part hiring incentive for the staffing firm. Employees get a chance when they register, and again with each weekly paycheck earned or training course taken.

Does it work? Freddie Mac has for some time awarded $1,000 to $2,000 cash bonuses for successful hiring referrals from staffers. The VW Beetle, though, has raised awareness and pumped up the number of referrals, said Jennifer Garrett, director of employment services.

At the current pace, Freddie Mac should have 180 new hires from employee referrals by year-end, up from 110 last year.

Employers who get creative while trying to lure job applicants should be wary of a basic marketing premise, said Daniel Howard, who chairs the marketing department at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business.

"Grabbing people's attention isn't the whole story, because perceptions follow from that," he said. "How it's interpreted means an awful lot." Lotteries, for instance, could leave a negative impression, he said.

But Stephen Neish, director of strategic business development for Mirronex Technologies, said he'd do it over again if he could dream up a promotion as successful as the BMW roadster. …

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