Despite nodes such as Wanted: Supervillain minions, merely placing want ads in the local paper, website, or carrier pigeon, will not gain you enough anonymous henchmen to comprise even a modest legion of terror. You don’t just need some guy called Dwayne (in fact if you are truly evil you will have all Dwaynes, Cuthberts, Cecils, Poindexters and Wilberforces executed), you need thousands of men, or scantily clad women.
You will need advisers and inventors etc, but you will need relatively few of these and placing want ads which play up the perks of the jobs (job for life, interesting working conditions, accommodation provided etc) should do the trick. To gain the thousands and thousands of minions you will need, you will need to put in a lot of planning and thought.
First you need to decide what sort of minions you want, minions fall into two basic categories. Ones who can think for themselves, and ones who can’t. Both have their own advantages and perils. To help you decide I will provide a quick rundown of each group:
These minions have no ability to think for themselves, they will obey you without question and will gladly die for you. If you have enough of these guys you can win any battle simply by overrunning the enemy. Unfortunately, despite popular opinion, they are expensive. It takes a lot of work and training to get them into the desired state of mindlessness, and that is expensive. You need to think about recruiting drill instructors and personal trainers, you also need a good supply in reserve, since these minions tend to have a fairly short life span due to the fact they are often taking part in “operation: suicide shield” or “bullet sponge.” Although they tend to be rather stupid, you can be absolutely certain that they will not turn on you
Thinking minions are a good idea if you want to only recruit a relatively small army. You may still need a few thousand of them but it is much cheaper since, although they must be indoctrinated, the only need to be to the extent of an average army. Remember to tell them to pay attention during orientation, that way you will probably not have to have too many executed. The problem with these minions is they tend to have their own ideas about how they want to do things, and my be adversely inclined when it comes to running naked at enemy guns/swords/big-glowey-energy-ball-things. These minions will demand good accommodation, health insurance, life insurance and a Christmas bonus, they may get angry if these are not given. You don’t want to have to deal with a coup! These minions are good in command positions, possibly in charge of a small group of mindless minions. Just make sure that any who get too big for their boots are executed immediately. Note: do not execute randomly, keep your brilliant military tacticians until you are fairly sure the might turn on you, you don’t want your legions of terror to be commanded by a village idiot.
Once you have decided which group you want to recruit, you will need to find a suitable source of people. It may be a good idea to go to an area of large unemployment and use the following technique: Tell a few people that they will be given a job with good pay and benefits if they can convince two other people to join, tell them that the two other people must also recruit two more people before they can join. In this way you can get an army of 100,000 within 17 cycles, (work it out, 2 * 2 *2….). Once you have your army you will need to indoctrinate them. The easiest way to do this is hypnosis, combined with sleep deprivation, monotonous chanting and promise of life fulfilment. If you like, set yourself up as a representative of some higher power, do not claim you are that higher power (even though you are), that’s ridiculous since it leaves you responsible for your own actions, which, since you are evil, should be suitably diabolical.
Make sure you follow the evil overlord list’s instructions when it comes to training your minions. You do not want your armies to be beaten by one man and his monkey, make sure they are fully trained in shooting and hand to hand combat, also make sure they are reasonably happy, whilst maintaining a healthy fear factor. You do not want any disgruntled minions (shouldn’t happen if they have been correctly indoctrinated, but you never know) joining the side of the righteous, that would be extremely counterproductive. Also, do not reveal the full extent of your plan to any one minion. Have each know a small amount of it, but convince them that it is all leading up to something completely different, you would be surprised just how many heroes rely on evil minions to supply crucial information. In addition to this, make sure you have two sets of minions, base staff and offence/defence staff, never allow the base staff into a situation when they may be captured, and only allow the offence/defence staff into certain unimportant areas of the base. If you can, even set up a completely fake main control room and convince them that it is genuine, when, in real life, it is in fact a chamber with a lot of automatic guns contained in it.
Last but not least you must design a command structure and a uniform for them to wear, remember, minions will perform better if there is a chance for promotion. Make sure the uniform is functional and suitably terrifying, this means that pink jumpsuits with flares are deffinatly out. By all means clothe the women in very little, but make sure you do the equivalent for the men, also, keep in mind that scantily clad minions may be more aesthetically pleasing, but die more easily that armoured ones.
As a postscript I must urge you not to invoke any demons are skeleton warriors to fight as your army, although fun, they can be unpredictable, and may kill the wrong thing. It is also a bad idea to use robots, they need a power supply and can be re-programmed if captured.