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Making Medium Madness Happy

Is it happy madness or a happy medium? You decide, but opportunities for double puns just don’t come along that often.  (I couldn’t resist.)

I have wrestled with the best way to cover mediums.  Why?  The selection and use of mediums for recruitment is the Achilles heel of recruitment.  The information that could be devoted to this is enormous and I do value your time.  What makes this very difficult is each position and organizational level has its own unique dynamics and thus its own unique strategy for success.  Couple this with the fact even when you establish norms for each position, you have unique factors (based on your market, your facility and their dynamics) which require those norms to have inherent flexibility.

Like any destination, there are many roads you can travel to get there.  Here’s the three dimensional map I intend to use on our journey to “Most Effective Human System Land, U.S.A.”:  (Don’t bail out on me in the next few issues, this isn’t the most exciting stuff, but I think there is true value in “punching the ticket” and pointing out these dynamics.  The Grand Canyon is spectacular, but the drive there isn’t always as scenic as you may like.)

  1. I am going to run through the different mediums we outlined last week and discuss the generalities of their dynamics.

  2. After that, in subsequent issues, we will address different job families and their dynamics relative to the group of medium choices you have and the most pragmatic approach you should consider for each.

  3. Once we have established what the pros and cons of each medium are and when to use them for different roles/positions, we will discuss ways to optimize your use of each medium.


Aside: We will spend a good chunk of time discussing management/leadership assessment/recruitment/selection.  This is the one “least common denominator” that if you do this right and most strategically, everything else in your People Flow Continuum will fall into place much more naturally.

First let’s continue the genre of advertising that we started last week with the internet.



  • Direct vs. Indirect:  This is very indirect, it requires people to make a choice to get the paper, but it also requires that they specifically spend time in the classified section looking for job openings.

  • How long does it last? In that most classifieds get the most viewing on Sunday, you have a one-day to one week shot with this.  (One week, in that many people will keep the Sunday classifieds for a full week even though the reality is that it’s a one-day deal.)

  • What is the cost of this medium? This is obviously going to vary by market, by size, by group purchasing, etc…  You know this best for your own market.

  • Accountability:   You have none.  There is nothing other than discontinuation of the medium if it does not produce your desired result.

  • What should your expectation of this medium be? Because this is something that requires action by a job seeker to find it, don’t expect the cream-of-the-crop because they are happily employed and aren’t looking in ads.  There are always exceptions but as a norm, have good selection systems in place to weed through the chaff.


Trade Publications:

There are three main types of trade publications to consider.  The “free” with membership to the association/group, secondary/independent trade publications that have a subscription fee, and secondary/independent trade publications that come free; advertising supported.    A couple of questions first:

  • Which type of publication is it?

o       If people pay for something they are more likely to read it.  If it is something that is purely advertiser supported and sent to them free, they are less likely, unless the content value is superior, to give it as much attention.

o       Also consider that if the foundation of the publication is from trade group membership, there is more trust and credibility associated with the publication.

  • How often is it published?  This has an obvious bearing on your recruitment.  If it is a weekly publication, you have quick responsiveness from the time you decide to place the ad until it comes out.  The downside to this is that you have a 1-week ad life.  If this is a bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly publication, it may take you three weeks or more from the time you want to place the ad until it actually reaches your audience.  It does last longer, but you may not have the time to wait.  Try telling a desperate hiring manager:  “Hey, you have to be patient, the ad won’t be out for another two weeks.”

  • Does the publication have good statistical information about its own consumer behaviors?  Make sure you know the readership and stats for YOUR MARKET. National readership doesn’t do much for you if there isn’t a representative group in your area.  This is most true of staff level positions in which people are least likely to relocate for a lateral, staff level position.

  • How many other similar positions are listed in this resource?   There are several publications whose main purpose and source of revenue is recruitment advertisement.  If you are recruiting for a high demand/low supply skill set, be aware of this.  For these publications, you may be one of very many ads and the opportunity to differentiate may be low.  You will also get responses from people that are responding to many potential employers, the very active job seekers. This not only starts a race, but an auction, neither of which are dynamics that work in your favor.

  • What is the true constituency of the publication?  Know the makeup of the readership.  For example: Don’t put ads for staff positions in Modern Healthcare.



  • Direct vs. indirect: This is more direct than newspapers because this type of advertising gets in the hands of your potential market.  However, understand that when employment ads are predominantly slotted in the back of the publication, will people who aren’t looking stop and read them?  You hope to get some of the “just curious” group.

  • How long does it last? This depends on the publication as mentioned above.

  • What is the cost? Great variation that depends on the publication’s readership, supply/demand dynamics of the role, etc.

  • Accountability for results: As with any form of advertising, count the cost as spent without any accountability.

  • What should your expectation be? Expect an overall better quality group of candidates than from newspaper advertising.  This margin of quality is due to the more direct nature of publications getting into the readership’s hands.  This readership consists of the truly passive and non-job-seeking candidates that are your best target market.  Also expect that there will be a greater number of these candidates that will be relocating to you which can bring with it greater cost, depending on your relocation assistance policy.


Aside:  You prefer not to incur the extra expense of relocating new hires and prefer local candidates?  Think for a couple minutes about the following dynamic:  When someone goes to the personal commitment of relocating, they are much more deliberate in their job/career/employer selection process.  They are more thoughtful and take more time and consideration to be confident of a better fit.  Thus there is a lower incidence of turnover, therefore higher retention of these people.  Is it then more expensive to pay for relocation or for new recruitment?  I guarantee that given the cost of turnover, it is cheaper to pay to relocate even staff level positions.  Conversely, local candidates may be “trying you out” and figure they have more options to move within the market.  They tend not to be as selective of their employer as the out of town people are.

FYI:  In way of foreign recruitment, throw out the previous paragraph, it doesn’t apply in the same way.  Leaving a country to come to the United States is a little different than leaving Utah to move to New Mexico, don’t you think?

Well, not the most exciting information, but I hope you still find it educational and found at least one new insight this week.  I promise that the future has some eye-openers.

Ready to give a little back?  Please take a few minutes, hit the feedback button and share some of your own advertising experiences; successes, failures, costs etc.

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As always, choose to make it a great week!

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