Recruiting Ideas: 5 Innovative Talent Acquisition Campaigns from 2015

Recruiting Ideas: 5 Innovative Talent Acquisition Campaigns from 2015

Emily Smykal

2015 is almost over and one trend in recruiting is certainly clear: your employer brand is crucial to talent acquisition success in the digital age. Defining your company as an employer, and showing candidates why your organization is a great place to work, is not just something your team should think about. It should be a central part of your strategy as we head into 2016.

Employer branding will take different forms at different companies, even across regions and industries. And as technology advances, the methods for creating and advertising your employer brand are also taking different shapes. Candidates today aren’t just looking at the jobs you have available, they’re considering how you use social media, blogs, video, events, puzzles, unconventional benefits (the list goes on) to entice them to apply.

There’s definitely an opportunity to stand out as an employer, but doing so often means going against the status quo. In this post we’ll review some of the five most innovative recruiting ideas and campaigns of the year that truly benefited each company’s respective employer brand, and helped the recruiting teams get lots of attention in the meantime.

1. Jet: Day in the Life via Virtual Reality

eCommerce startup Jet has been trying to entice shoppers with its unique shopping platform. But it also turned to some innovative ideas to attract job seekers. Using their expansive New Jersey headquarters, Jet developed multiple virtual reality experiences to share with potential candidates. Rather than describing their office environment and the perks that go with it, the company is giving applicants a direct, immersive view into the experience of working there.

2. Amazon: Swipe Right on Tinder for a New Job

amazon hiring engineers on tinderThis year Amazon decided to try recruiting young top talent by approaching people the way many 20 year olds and 30 year olds do: via online dating. The company, or some of its recruiters, set up an ad on Tinder for Amazon Web Services with the headline, “WE ARE HIRING ENGINEERS!” A bit forward and unorthodox, responses to the ad have been mixed. But one thing is certain–Amazon was trying something completely unheard of, and got plenty of attention for it.

3. Chipotle: 4,000 New Hires in One Day

Over the summer, fast-casual dining chain Chipotle made a big announcement: it was going to hire 4,000 new employees in one day. That meant a 7% increase in its total workforce. By broadly advertising their mass hiring event, and providing a seamless mobile application experience, Chipotle was able to pull in tens of thousands of applicants.

But that wasn’t enough for the company. Also announced in 2015 were improved benefits for part-time workers, including paid time off for sick days and vacation, plus tuition reimbursement. How many other employers can tell candidates that part-time employees get many of the same benefits as their full time colleagues?

If retail and fast food candidates hadn’t at least considered Chipotle as an employer prior to these recruiting campaigns, it’s likely they did at some point this year.

4. Google: Matrix-Style Engineering Challenge

Search giant Google consistently ranks as one of the most popular employers to work for, but that doesn’t always mean they have an easy time recruiting the best and brightest. They’ve employed plenty of gimmicks and mathematical riddles to attract top engineers and developers. But their biggest success may have been their demonstration of just how closely they’re tracking our search activity.

By monitoring searches for sophisticated engineering and programming terms, Google identified potential job applicants and offered them a challenge.

google engineering recruiting
If these anonymous candidates completed enough coding challenges within a given time frame, they were invited into the normal Google recruitment process. Albeit with a big head start over other applicants.

5. Starbucks: Graduate College Debt-Free and Employed

Coffee chain Starbucks has received a lot of flak for campaigns that came across as out of touch or inappropriate to some, but from an employer branding standpoint, the company consistently wins points for its equal and ethical stances. This year Starbucks announced it would hire 10,000 young people out of school and out of work over the next three years.

Included in this recruitment initiative is the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, which will help thousands of its workers complete a bachelor’s degree online through Arizona State University. Those who start the program can graduate debt-free, and those who’ve already completed some college credit can receive tuition reimbursements. So what’s the catch? None, apparently. Graduates will not be required to remain at Starbucks after completing their degrees.

Your Recruiting Ideas In 2016

Not every recruiting idea we’ve covered here can work for your employer branding strategy. But if you take away anything from these efforts, it should be an emphasis on thinking like a candidate. Imagine an applicant to Starbucks or Chipotle. How many of them wouldn’t want to apply online, get better benefits, even complete a college degree?

Employer branding requires creative thinking and a long term view. Many companies are not yet prioritizing their own employer brand, perhaps because they’re focused on more short term strategies with a more straightforward implementation. But you ignore your employer brand at your own risk. The job market is heating up for job seekers across the U.S. Don’t miss out on them because they’re not convinced your is a great company to work for.

Check out our new eBook, “The Talent Acquisition Leader’s Guide to the New Candidate Journey.” From employer branding to recruitment marketing and conversion optimization, this eBook dives into what modern leaders should be thinking about.

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