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Career Fair Success? Be Funny and Unique

This was my seventh trip to the Oklahoma State Career Fair for InterWorks (I did one stint for Acxiom back in 2000). As the de facto recruiter I was very please to see the success of our new "WeHireNerds.com" campaign. The idea for the website came to me in a moment of frustration when a couple of excellent .NET developers turned our offers down. The frustration arose because I had done a good job in the recruiting of both these fine gentleman, but factors outside my control swayed their decisions. I realized that if I wanted to hire great developers, I needed to have more highly qualified candidates to interview.

We had been running Dice.com ads for about a year at this point, and while they had born fruit, the fruit was sparse and required poring through hundreds of resumes. At that moment I realized we needed to drive great developers to us instead of relying on boring job postings and crossing our fingers.

Thus WeHireNerds.com was born. I would have preferred WeHireGeeks.com, but the domain was taken and I needed a cheap domain so I would have an easy sell to the rest of the management team. We ran a non-scientific poll at the office (i.e., we sent out a 1 sentence email) and while some employees were taken aback by the name, most of the team was behind the idea.

The true test was today at the Oklahoma State Career Fair. This is our home court (literally, it's held in the Gallagher-Iba basketball arena) so we were comfortable flying our nerd colors with pride. We pulled out our trusty (or is it massive?) 10 ft. WeHireNerds.com display and I waited with a father's pride for everyone to descend and fawn upon us... Unfortunately the fawning dind't come, but the response was overwhelmingly positive and inquisitive. Both students and career fair staff were intrigued by our name and wanted to know more about us. The most common feedback was "That's AWESOME! I'm definitely a nerd!". Now this was not only from tech nerds, but from nerds in all walks of academia who toil in obscurity: PoliSci nerds, soil science nerds, aerospace nerds, and yes, even marketing nerds.

My hopes for WeHireNerds.com were definitely met today. Our success reaffirms that the best people are looking for something different in the companies they go to work for.

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