Is Talent Acquisition Ready for Influencer Marketing? A lesson from Adidas

My sixteen year old daughter taught me a lot about influencers three years ago when she became obsessed with certain YouTubers and Instagram celebrities. Her free time revolved around when these influencers would post new content. At the time, I thought it was just a fad but have also become intrigued lately with a question. Is talent acquisition ready for Influencer Marketing?

Is this just a fad?

Last year, Adidas began a new program for shoe enthusiast to have early access to products, exclusive drops and special events according to Fast Company’s article on the subject. Adidas hopes to strengthen the relationship with these influential fans by allowing them to open a store in only three clicks on the Storr app. Sellers are to receive a 6% commission from every sale. The firm hopes to have a bullish launch by inviting roughly 10,000 members to participate.

Adidas’s senior director of digital activation acknowledged the success the company has experienced leveraging social media but hints at a “new revolution” in the influencer space. Here’s his quote from the article:

“We do interesting stuff through Instagram, or through our affiliate marketing where we’re utilizing sneakerheads, influencers, and even our athletes to sell our products, because they’re influential and consumers are spending time with them. The next evolution of that is the democratization of social selling, allowing our consumers to act as wholesalers or retailers on our behalf.”

Honestly, I love this concept!

This is a genius way to make your consumers salespeople. Who better to sell than those who already love your product? And a 6% commission for such sales is a low price to pay to your loyal fans who sell your product. It’s much more efficient and cost-effective than opening a new site and paying a sales staff.

Kudos to Adidas for figuring this out!

Photo: Bogdan Glisik/Unsplash

What does this mean for Recruiting?

Employee referrals are always a great source for candidates. Unfortunately, I don’t think many companies have the perfect way to capitalize on the leads generated.

Most companies tout an employee referral program but the system or process for entering and paying out on these referrals is botched. It’s either manual or too dependent on recruiters’ memories. Most employees I speak to note the pain involved with trying to get a high quality candidate through the process.

You would think that Applicant Tracking Systems would have some incredibly easy interface to help accommodate the process but let’s face it, most of them barely get candidates through the process correctly. You could rely on a work around like an online form for internals to enter their recommendations but who has the time for updating yet another spreadsheet?

If we could find a way to follow Adidas’s lead and leverage a platform like Storr to easily track and pay for quality referrals, it would be a true game changer.

Future of Recruiting-Inflencers Welcomed!

Imagine identifying a select group of truly engaged employees to be your influencers for recruiting. They would be your brand ambassadors to help share viable and engaging content to their groups, identify pools of candidates for recruiting groups to target and help further sell opportunities with your firm.

This is the future of the old Employee Referral program. Rather than simply begging for referrals and paying a nominal fee for a placement, you will now empower and compensate your most engaged employees to help become an extension of your Talent Acquisition strategy!

Although the recruiting industry is severely behind brands like Nike and Adidas, we can learn from their efforts to capitalize on influencers. Rather than increasing sales, our goal would be to increase quality hires.

Increased Efficiency

This approach is not only the wave of the future but also more cost effective.

Rather than begging for addtional headcount within your recruiting group, your focus would then become how to increase the number of influencers within your organization. It’s like leveraging a resource that another group is already paying for!

More importantly, potential candidates are more likely to believe employees within your organization over some random recruiter calling them about an opportunity. Creating recruiting influencers is the no-nonsense approach to expanding your reach without increasing your budget.


If you’re not exploring how influencers can help your organization and your recruiting function, you’re missing out on a fantastic opportunity.

Remember to start with a small group and test a couple of methods before going all out. It’s better to make a few small mistakes and learn versus unleashing a half-concocted plan that will cause more harm than good.

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Published by Trent Cotton

I joined the HR industry in 2004 after working as a sales leader in the Financial Services Industry for eight years. After spending his first couple of years in HR trying to fit in, I found my voice. Now I leverage all of the things I once hated about HR to become a consultant and invaluable partner to the businesses I support. My passion to lead, innovate and engage the HR industry. I use my blog at NakedHR.me to reach thousands of readers and provides unique insights into a range of HR and business topics. I currently write for NakedHR.me and SprintRecruiting.com. I contribute to the HRGazzette and to DataDrivenInvestor on Medium. WARNING: my writing style is raw and in your face, not what you would expect from an HR executive. Connect with me on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/trentcotton or on Twitter @TrentCotton.

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