I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the last year writing on police recruiting and the reason is simple. If law enforcement does not get this right, no amount of leadership or tactics or anything else will matter. The profession will continue a steep decline into abject elimination.
While I began warning the profession years ago to step up recruiting and few seemed to listen, it doesn’t take much convincing now…with the need to recruit.
The problem has been HOW we recruit.
Frankly, I don’t blame law enforcement leaders for being somewhat behind on effective recruiting because for many years, we didn’t have a need to actually recruit. There were plenty of potential recruits and it was just a matter of “marketing” our agencies to find the best recruits.
For most agencies, that has all changed and actual recruiting needs to happen and happen quick.
To understand what recruiting is, let me begin with a general definition of recruitment.
The key to this definition, embraced by the private sector, is “finding and hiring…”
I have no doubt that agencies are doing the best they can but ultimately, if any recruiting campaign is not “finding” candidates, it is not a recruitment campaign.
It may be a marketing campaign or may be bringing more traffic to a website but it most definitely is NOT a recruitment campaign.
Many companies are taking advantage of law enforcement not completely understanding what actual recruiting is and they are taking a lot of money to provide fancy websites, videos, and clicks on a website and touting that as success.
But a successful recruiting campaign can only be measured by one metric.
I want law enforcement to be successful in finding and hiring the best candidates so before you hire anyone to help you recruit (and I recommend it because it is a specialty), ask them one question:
How much will it cost to bring in one candidate?
The business world calls it Return on Investment (ROI) and here is a hint. Business does not spend a dime, unless they can determine their ROI…That is how they stay in business.
When you ask this all important question, you are going to get a lot of answers but the only answer you need to hear is how much per candidate because unless you have an actual name and contact, it is not a recruiting campaign (it’s likely marketing).
Pay Attention To The Details
I’ve been intrigued over the last few years at the various “police” recruiting companies that have surfaced. Once you scratch the surface on many of them, you discover that they are companies that have been in the private sector in a marketing capacity and have crossed over to law enforcement for obvious reasons…There is a need and there is money to be had.
While that is true, I want you to spend your money for one reason…more candidates.
How Much Will It Cost?
It’s hard to know what the actual cost will be for every agency because there are a lot of differing factors depending on the agency, area, and focus of the recruiting campaign but when actual recruiting is occurring, utilizing proven methods and resources, it may not cost what you might think.
SAFEGUARD Recruiting is the only company that I am aware of that boldly lists some of the ROI cost from past clients and it is apparent that they have fine tuned their processes to maximize potential recruits for agencies.
One of their case studies reveals that 222 candidates was given to an agency that spent just $900. That is a crazy $4.05 for each name that the department was given. Another case study shows the ROI at just $7.58.
How Is It Possible?
When I saw their success, I reached out to Jake Peters, their head of technology. Frankly, I wasn’t convinced it was possible and while he didn’t reveal all of their methods, it was apparent that SAFEGUARD Recruiting was doing doing something special for law enforcement.
They weren’t just promising clicks on a website or a fancy marketing campaign, they were providing the names of potential recruits to their clients quickly and efficiently.
In fact, Peters tells me that their success has actually lost them clients.
“We provide so many candidates, so quickly, that some agencies have no need for us after a few months,” Peters says.
Unlike other companies, SAFEGUARD Recruiting operates on a ‘month-to-month’ basis for agencies, eliminating the need for long term contracts and a long term expenditure when it may not be needed.
Peters says that while they are a business, they feel the need to serve law enforcement and their communities and locking agencies into a long term contract prevents them from helping those that may need it the most.
Peters calls it an “accountability factor” that they place on themselves for a reason.
“Ultimately, we want to be held accountable for our efforts and if we can’t bring names to an agency, we should not be paid,” Peters said.
If the past is an indicator, SAFEGUARD Recruiting won’t have to worry about their ability to bring much needed candidates to an agency.
I highly encourage you to find out more on SAFEGUARD Recruiting and ask them how they can help.