When It Comes to Recruiting, Nothing Beats the Appeal of Sizzling Bacon

I’ve seen a lot of unique tricks to recruit employees with hard-to-find skills, and heard about a lot more, but I have never found one that is so utterly simple and basic in its appeal as this one is.

Yes, if you’re Microsoft, you need more than just stock options, great pay and other high-tech perks to lure and land engineers. Yes, if you want to recruit highly-sought-after tech workers, you need something so basic, primal and visceral in its appeal that no one could possibly turn it (or you) down.

Yes, you need bacon.

A bacon cart to recruit engineers

According to Brian Dudley’s business technology blog in the Seattle Times, Microsoft is rolling a bacon cart around town to areas where tech workers congregate and offering free, sizzling bacon and the recruiting tagline “Wake up and Smell the Future.” He writes:

To grease the skids for Kinect recruiting, Microsoft’s operating a quirky bacon cart — complete with a riddling bacon hawker — in Seattle tech hubs.

Microsoft is trying to double the size of its Kinect for Windows engineering team in Redmond, from 35 to 70, and it hired ad agency Wexley School for Girls to add some sizzle. Wexley dreamed up the campaign, with the tagline “Wake up and Smell the Future.”

The promo made its debut today in the shadow of Amazon.com headquarters in South Lake Union, where a stream of bacon lovers braved the downpour for free strips of Swinery pepper bacon.

Also free were toppings, including spray cheese, Sriracha, peanut butter, maple syrup and chocolate sauce.”

I don’t know about you, but chocolate sauce on bacon isn’t all that appealing to me, but this Microsoft stunt seems like something that only an avowed and over-the-top bacon lover like Laurie Ruettimann would have dreamed up.

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Will this recruiting tactic work? Who knows? One thing is for sure, though: it will surely get Microsoft a lot of PR and engineer interest in what is usually a pretty slow news week.

Read more about it here at the Seattle Times, or this recap from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.


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