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Our Top-Secret Recruiting Methods Revealed


Don’t you just love Apple News for serving up gems like this? Hormel needs to hire a driver for their NUTmobile.

It got our recruiter minds going on who would make the perfect candidate. (Of course, Nadexa Group hasn’t actually been engaged on this search, but our clients would agree that we’ve found awesome drivers for their own merry band of thieves.) 

So, for the pure joy of it, I’m going to pretend that we’re finding the NUTmobile driver. A Peanutter. It’s a fun way to demonstrate our process and all the gory details that go into engaging top talent.

NUTmobile Search, Day One

Defining Skills

First, we give the job description a total workup, teasing out the critical skills. 

Social Media: Plan and manage all Planters Nutmobile social media accounts. 3-5 times during the week.

Events: Plan meaningful events for the NUTmobile vehicle and Mr. Peanut. Interacting with visitors while in costume. Performing in character roles, speaking to large groups of people.

Media Relations: Research media in that market, draft pitch, reach out to media, schedule interviews, partake in interviews, and track any of those media hits. Decide forms of media and provide weekly reports on media hits.

IRL, we’d also talk to the hiring manager. To us, the combo of these skills sound like a big ask for a college grad with only internship experience, so we’d talk to Hormel clients about prioritizing skills. 

Who would make the ideal candidate?

This is the scratch list on a napkin, a brain dump of our first ideas.

  • Mascots
  • Disney interns
  • Social media influencers
  • College brand ambassadors
  • Radio interns
  • Leadership role on school paper

We establish must-have qualities:

  • Social media following, especially documented success/internships in growing social media followers, engagement, etc.
  • Outgoing self-starter
  • Has served as media spokesperson in some capacity
  • Has organized/run events
  • Evidence of leadership roles (clubs, volunteer, sorority/fraternity)
  • PR, Comms or Marketing grad with relevant internships

Who are previous Peanutters?

We’ll confirm our hunches by reviewing profiles of people previously hired for the role. Go on, if you have LinkedIn RPS, you can play along. There are 26 Peanutters, and they’ve all gone on to pretty auspicious jobs!

Search Brief

Now that we have a profile, we write a search brief and target list of where to recruit from. This distills the profile we’ve created into tangible search terms, E.g. intern AND (“social media” OR press OR media OR events OR advertising OR promotion) AND (president OR mascot OR ambassador OR director OR spokesperson). 

We’ll define parameters for basics like level and location, titles to look for, schools/companies to target, degrees, etc. Then we’ll pressure test these to ensure a diverse pool of candidates and refine until we’re happy with the search results.  

NUTmobile Search, Day Two

Brief Research Team

Outreach begins. The first thing we do is engage our Research team. We brief them just as you would brief a Creative team and they’ll begin sourcing. 

Draft Outreach

In the meantime, we’ll write the outbound email, call and SMS scripts used to engage candidates. For example: 

Subj: The Road Trip That Launches Careers

Hi Name,

We were admiring your credentials on the school paper and internships in media planning and PR. Have you figured out what you’re doing post-graduation? Ever heard of the NUTmobile? 

We’ve been engaged by Hormel Foods to identify a driver for their NUTmobile, and you look like you have a lot to offer!

It’s a year-long gig that will have you touring the US, planning promotional events, managing their social media channels and working with local press to achieve coverage. 

If this sounds like the best thing ever, then the next step is to organize a call with me. 

Please respond with your avails. 


While the Research team is doing cold outreach, we’ll start with our network. That means writing a database search to identify all our contacts that may be personally interested, or able to refer someone.

Call & Call Again

How many leads do we have to reach in order to produce a single resume? If you said 10, you’d be wrong. Response rates vary based on the appeal of the search, competition and size of the talent pool, and they’ve been steadily declining. If they were 33% pre-pandemic, they’re as low as 9% now. Why? Email fatigue, proliferation of spammy, non-personalized emails, etc.

We aim to reach 8-12 candidates/day and contact each candidate 4-6x over 2 weeks. Does that sound like a lot? Almost no one answers the first outreach, email or phone. It takes at least 1-2 more gentle nudges to discern if they’re Interested, Just Busy or truly Not Open to Opportunities.      

NUTmobile Search, Week Two

Interview Plan

Sometimes the stars align, and the perfect Peanutter is right in front of us. Maybe we were running a search for Disney characters before and already have several strong leads. But most often, it takes anywhere from 5-15 days to generate presentable candidates.

Once we’ve engaged some prospects, it’s time for the fun part. Before moving to interviews, we draft a comprehensive list of screening questions and details we need to collect during our first meeting. In this case, I know we want work samples in the form of press releases, news stories, social media posts, etc. 

At this stage, we’re already thinking about the story we want to tell our clients. Why this candidate, above all others, is ideal for the role. In addition to building rapport with candidates and getting them excited about the opportunity, we’re collecting the proof points that help us craft an undeniable presentation.

Present Candidates

Our candidate presentations are 3-4 paragraphs describing expertise, job history and achievements, plus why they’re relevant. For example:

Please meet Lindsay Mobley, graduating at the top of her class from University of Illinois this May, with a degree in Advertising & Communication. 

Lindsay began interning during her sophomore year, planning festivals, contests, charity & promotional events for the Community Center for the Arts, UnityPoint Health, and Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, plus managing social media accounts for the College of Engineering.

The list of things Lindsay accomplished in these 3 years of internships is long! Highlights include:

  • Achieved record attendance at the John Deere Classic, UnityPoint’s largest annual charity event; secured local TV/radio/newspaper coverage and doubled donations from previous year
  • Grew University’s Facebook & Twitter followers by 25% in 3 months; increased post engagement by 50%
  • Conceived and played the part of the Quad City Raccoon, which became the beloved mascot of Chamber of Commerce events and grew @QuadCityMascot IG account to 45,000 followers**

Links to sample news coverage, social media posts, awards, etc. Salary, resume & other details. You get the idea.

**Based on an actual Peanutter, but some creative license taken. 

Last But Not Least

As interviews unfold with the hiring team, we send our candidates a comprehensive brief on the company, recent press releases, interviewer bios, etc. Knowing that they’re being recruited by other companies, we keep them engaged in the process, relay their interest level, questions and motivations to our clients, etc. We want both sides to walk into interviews knowing what to expect and key talking points.   

It may surprise some of you to know that our recruiting methods never involve posting the job. Our client has already done that. We’re not looking for applicants. We’re not reviewing resume submissions. That’s our client’s domain. Our role is direct sourcing. Finding and engaging candidates through all of the above means. That’s why you hire a recruiter.

And if the recruiter you hired isn’t delivering the goods, then it’s time to find a better Peanutter to drive your mobile. 🥜 

We’re here for you.

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