Career Management

This article is sponsored by Sage UK, a service and software provider to over 830,000 businesses in the UK.

You’ll often read about how hard it is for job seekers to land their dream role, but when you’re the company on the hunt for top talent, the landscape is equally as competitive.

When faced with the daunting task of recruiting a top level candidate, it’s hard enough identifying the front runners, let alone convincing them to jump ship and join your team. After all, post recession has meant that the cream of the so called “Generation Y” crop are more likely to be happily employed, than relentlessly browsing online job boards.

So, how does one successfully pursue these ad-immune, tech savvy, social media driven Millennials? Well, here are 5 creative examples of companies that got it right:

IKEA: ‘Career Instructions’:

In an attempt to recruit a large number of workers for their new megastore in Australia, IKEA amusingly decided to include what they called ‘Career Instructions’ into each of their flat packs. Based on their traditional furniture instructions, all customers took home the witty application forms without realising. The clever initiative not only minimised the costs on advertising, but it also ensured IKEA fans were targeted. And boy did it work! The campaign brought in 4,285 job applicants, resulting in 280 new hires for their megastore.

Sage: Google Business View:

Whilst job descriptions are designed to give candidates a feel for the firm, it’s hard to tell exactly what a company is like from a piece of paper. Alert to this issue, Sage – the business software providers – decided to show applicants just how great their offices are. Pioneering Google’s ‘Business View’ – the virtual tour technology used in Street View – the company easily dispelled any misconceptions that they might be a boring white-collar organisation. In fact, when clicking through their magnificent office, potential candidates would be hard pushed to find an employee in a suit.

The recruitment team at Sage believe that the Business View will help portray the company as a great place to work and the tour will be sent out to new starters at Sage so they can get acquainted with the offices before before their first day. Tori Newcombe, Digital Content Manager at Sage explained: “we’re incredibly proud of our workspace at Sage. Putting our headquarters on Google Maps gives us a unique ability to virtually open our doors and show off our working environment and culture, it’s promising to be a fantastic tool for recruitment.” 


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To encourage people to explore the building, the Sage team have hidden eight items around the offices and are running an online ‘treasure hunt’ competition to win a luxury weekend for two in Newcastle.

‘My Marriott Hotel’: Gamification

The Marriott Hotel also decided to allow potential applicants into their workplace, but this time in an animated “gamified” fashion. ‘My Marriott Hotel’ gave players a taster of what it was like to work in their hotel restaurants and kitchens, asking users to purchase various supplies on a budget, and manage multiple employees. Marriott later moved the game onto Facebook with the intention of targeting young talent in countries such as China and India where they were struggling to recruit staff. Regarded as a huge success, the campaign not only helped bring in vital employees, but it was also seen to raise awareness of the brand on a global scale.

FP7: ‘The Hidden Phone’

Ad Agency, FP7, decided to avoid headhunter fees when looking to bring in top level creative talent to their Dubai office. Having identified and researched their prime targets, FP7 shipped each candidate industry stylised books with a mobile phone hidden inside. Each book was highly personalised to align with the interests of the receiver, and the phones were preprogrammed with the number of FP7’s executive creative director. Although the initiative cost $80,000, being fun and creative with advertising creatives clearly pays off. The campaign saw the firm bring in four key employees, including an art director and a design chief.

Google: Cryptic Billboard

Back in 2004, an anonymous billboard appeared by the highway that links San Francisco to Silicon Valley. The message simply read: “{first 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits of e} .com”. The clever ad was designed to attract only those smart enough and inquisitive enough to figure out the correct answer of 7427466391.com. And whilst this may have been a tough mental test, it was perhaps slightly easier to guess who was behind this geeky quiz. Yep you got it… Google of course! In fact the tech super company were so determined to filter out the very best problem solvers, that they even created a further riddle once applicants had punched in the correct website. It was not until this second puzzle was solved that the geeky adventures could submit their CVs for the highly sought after engineering roles.

By running a creative recruitment campaign or taking advantage of new digital tools these companies were able not only to attract more of the sort of people they wanted to recruit, but they also managed to show off their company as a forward thinking, ambitious employer that the top talent would want to work for.

Author: This article was written by the online content team at Sage UK.


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