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January 23, 2013 / Mervyn Dinnen

Loving Cake and Award Winning Social Recruiting at #HREvent13

I’ve been at #HREvent13 and particularly enjoyed one of the closing sessions on day one – a fun and informative presentation from Social Housing group Bromford.

When we think of social media oriented recruitment campaigns we tend to think of the creative industries, or funky brands trying to attract graduates, but here was a 1200 strong group, in a not particularly sexy area, who were able to find people through the twitter campaign #gottalovecake.

I was right to be impressed…hours after the presentation ended they picked up the Award for Distinction in Recruitment and Employee Branding!

As you would expect, the story is one of a socially engaged company looking to try and do something different and coming up with a campaign that ended up trending on twitter. It was made possible by having a number of their employees collaborating with local and industry social connections in a ‘tweet off’ that ended up getting the hashtag #gottalovecake trending.

I won’t go through the mechanics of the campaign – you can read it here on their own blog – but here are 5 things that stood out for me:

  • When looking for talent, find someone who will love your loves. Trying to identify what bound them all together they arrived at a love of cake! Hence the campaign #gottalovecake. How many recruitment campaigns focus on being the best, sharing the passion, talking about the business objective and not the individual?
  • Let them see the real you. They uploaded videos explaining what the jobs were and what someone whould be doing. Including outtakes and bloopers. Do job descriptions really work?
  • If you’re going to run a twitter campaign for recruitment you’ve got to have good content to put out there. ‘nuff said really. Make it different, descriptive, something that reflects you but lets people engage with you.
  • Let candidates express themselves. Applications could be by any format. If you wanted to send a CV you could, but we saw a self-made video and heard a song that someone had written and recorded especially for their application. (And no, I don’t know how the ATS would have parsed that!)
  • Make a noise! Having so many employees socially active gave them a head start when it came to building momentum on social media channels, particularly the way that they were able to engage other Twitter users to help spread the word

The results were impressive – 19% fewer applications than through other advertised media, but the key was in quality. After a traditional campaign 38% of applicants got through to the second (assessment) stage but none were hired. Following this campaign 87% of applicants got through to the second stage and 4 were hired.

And here are two of the key reasons they were able to pull it off.

You don’t need to be big to make a big noise. The message to businesses considering social recruiting has long been that size isn’t everything. A smaller, agile business can respond quickly and build momentum. Large organisation rarely have that flexibility.

You do need a socially connected organisation. Key was having a business in which so many employees have a social profile and communicate through an internal channel – in this case Yammer. It’s not by accident – the MD positively encourages the recruitment of people with a digital footprint. The final word was ‘all future leaders will need a positive digital footprint…without the ability to communicate across all platforms they won’t survive as credible leaders

Food for thought.

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