I went shopping on Tuesday. Along with what seemed half of London I headed for one of Europe’s largest shopping centres.
Whilst walking around I couldn’t help but marvel at one store. It didn’t look like any of the other stores. There was a real buzz about it. Security people outside who seemed friendly, not authoritarian, chatting with a well organised queue of about 20 people waiting to get in the store. Of course, they were the lucky ones who would be entering the store in the next 20 minutes or so. Further back there was the rest of the queue, organised like you see at Disney, snaking around. I counted 150 and gave up…there were more than that!
What was the store that had 200 or more people queuing to look at some sale offers?
With a 16 year old son who has a couple of their shirts I know the power of the brand amongst a certain age group. But the queue was not exclusively limited to people of that age group….or the parental one either. Whilst other stores seemed almost desperate to get people to come in and look around, Hollister was making sure that they kept interested and engaged enough to wait.
So what do they have?
They have a compelling story. OK it’s not a real story, it’s a pseudohistory. But it hangs together, it’s well told, and it’s believable.
They are different. Their store stood out, it had an aura that other ones around it didn’t have. It almost dared you not to walk past but to come inside, and the fact that so many were willing to wait to go inside only added to the allure. (The only other store there that had a similar magnetic pull was Apple)
And on that afternoon they seemed to be treating people well. OK I know they (and their parent company) don’t necessarily have the best track record at treating everybody so respectfully, but there seemed no complaints from the waiting customers.
Now I realise that we are talking about part of a major global retail empire, with significant funds and influence to enable these things to happen, but looking beyond that there are some simple messages.
As we enter 2011 with many millions in the UK & US job hunting, including me, all of us need to find a way to stand out. So what inspiration can we draw from Hollister?
Have a compelling story – Know your background, what you have done and what you can do. You have a real story so tell it well. Bring it to life. Make companies want to talk to you.
Make yourself different – A story is only a part, a static CV can only say so much, we now have tools at our disposal to bring our stories to life. You are the only you.
Treat everyone as a potential hirer or the gateway to a potential hirer – Work the network. Talk to people. Meet them for coffee, lunch or whatever. They may not have a role for you, but they may be able to help you. They may know someone, or someone who knows someone.
As I walked on to find something to eat I thought ‘I want to be the Hollister of recruiting!’ – let’s all be the Hollisters of our specialist fields!
Happy New Year to all readers…and lots of luck in 2011 to everyone currently job hunting!