Lately I have been thinking in terms of recruitment strategies and how they affect the final composition of the recruited group. I think it is clear that each strategy has a different outcome. What makes life and business difficult is that often there is a desire to meet two conflicting goals: quantity and quality, for instance.
The advertising approach
Wrap the message (which is usually simply and often skirting the truth even) in fancy or exciting wording to generate previously nonexisting excitement. Network extensively and get seen. If you make it easy for people to find you by making appearances in “public” places and your message sounds fantastic (I suppose the modern word is “amazing”) the crowd will bite. In particular there are a great many people who will think something is great because it is popular. This effort can consequently become self-sustaining as products become more popular simply because they are popular already.
Letting them find you
This attracts a self-selected (usually means quality, whatever quality that is) group. This group is likely more dedicated because they were searching for something in the first place rather than being “brought in from the street” like the group above. This approach miss those who do not know what to search for: How do you find something if you don’t know what you are looking for.
By invitation only
This is the toughest way to screen. Not only are you letting them find you, you are also giving them the extra challenge of somehow getting in through the door. For this to work, the subject or topic of the group must be well known, whereas the group itself need not be. Naturally this leads to the highest quality of the joining individuals.
The appropriate approach thus depends on how known the product is. For example, I tend to let people find me and I can do this because “early retirement” is a well known search phrase. “Extreme early retirement” is not, but it does include the known terms. If however, my blog was named “extreme something else”. Very few would know about it.