Comic novels – The Latest Innovation in Recruiting

The most critical aspect of recruiting is getting and building a potential candidate’s interest in your organization. There are a variety of media that you can use to reach your recruiting targets however; most corporations only take advantage of a limited range of the available options. The US military, in direct contrast, has recently demonstrated its willingness to “push the envelope” and to try methods and media approaches that most corporate recruiters would reject as “silly”. One recent example of their incredible creativity is the announcement by the superintendent of the US Naval Academy that he is commissioning an illustrated novel as a recruiting tool. Yes a novel!

This book format being utilized is known as a “graphic novel” because it combines the illustrations of a comic book with the multipart storyline of a traditional novel. Admiral Fowler demonstrated his insight into how recruiting teenagers has changed when he said “We cannot continue to do business the way we have in the past and get their attention”. Now some might question whether using comic books in any format to recruit somehow lowers the prestige of the Naval Academy but that would be “last year’s” thinking.

In my experience, today you have to use every type of media that your target candidates read or use. The military during the last few years has far exceeded what any Corporation has been willing to try. Their recruiting tools have include the use of video games, online videos, text messaging, social networks, player cards, NASCAR events, equipment simulations and even ads on the food network to attract women. Whatever your views on the military, they have to get an A+ for boldness in recruiting. And the Naval Academy has to receive special recognition for using an “old school” approach that involves “reading” in today’s technology driven recruiting environment!

You can view the Naval Academy’s announcement at

Dr John Sullivan 8/28/08

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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