Five unusual recruitment strategies

How to find great talent and win them over—with less than conventional methods.

Google search “how to write a résumé” and you’ll find hundreds of blog posts, articles and templates. If you want to know what interview questions a prospective employer might ask, you will have no worries: there are websites which actively collate and distribute that information, all for free.

All of that is great—if you’re a job seeker, that is. But it leaves HR and recruiters in a lurch. It’s hard enough to discern a candidate’s personality from their résumé and a short interview, much less if they’ve used a professional writing service and been coached in “correct” interview answers.

That’s not even considering the effort it takes, in an increasingly competitive and ever-evolving business landscape, to stand out from the mob of businesses jostling for talent.

“In this environment, what we do anticipate is the increased use of other technology such as gamification or automated push notifications to become more popular,” says James Miles, Senior Director of RGF.

Here are few great approaches taken by some companies to better identify and reach new talent.


1.      Jaguar Land Rover recently teamed up with the animated band Gorillaz to recruit 1,000 electronic and software engineers via the latter’s mixed reality app. Users are first required to assembled one of the company’s upcoming electric sports cars, and then defeat a series of code-breaking puzzles in an alternate reality setting.

“Here we've found an engaging way to recruit a diverse talent pool in software systems, cyber systems, app development and graphics performance. It will be the first of its kind,” said Alex Heslop, Jaguar Land Rover’s head of electrical engineering.


2.      Earlier this year, Domino’s Pizza launched Pizza Hero, an iPad game where players strive to quickly make pizzas that are worthy of the mouths of a Domino’s customer – from rolling out the dough to placing it in the oven.  

Pizza Hero has been described as “punishing”, because it isn’t so much a game as a testing and training tool for potential employees. Complete the “Two Pizza Throwdown" mission, and you’ll be taken to Domino’s career page and prompted to make a job application.


3.      Hashtag help wanted? Mastercard Canada weaponised the power of Twitter with a campaign called #internswanted. University students from around the world were given the opportunity to compete for an internship at the financial services giant.

To be in consideration, interested candidates first had to make a traditional application with an idea for a product, system, or application that would drive the world closer to a cashless future. Shortlisted candidates would then need to use Twitter, and the #internswanted hashtag, to “crowd-validate” their ideas. The more likes and retweets an idea received, the greater their chances of landing the job.


4.      A few years ago in Sillicon Valley, a mysterious billboard appeared, emblazoned with only the words “{first 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits of e}.com”. Anyone who worked out that it was, and checked out the website, was then presented with another equation to solve.

Defeating that equation led to a job application page that read, “As you can imagine, we get many, many résumés every day, so we developed this little process to increase the signal-to-noise ratio.” It was only at this point that candidates realised that they were being recruited by Google.


5.      Unusual recruitment strategies don’t have to be hi-tech, even in the digital age. Ikea Australia snuck “Career Instructions” into each of their flat-pack furniture boxes. Customers would open their furniture to find instructions on how to assemble their new dining table or bookshelf—and also their career.

The clever campaign resulted in more than 4,200 applications to the home solutions titan, with 280 staff ultimately hired.

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