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BRANDE : Recruitment Advertising

May 28, 2015

The Most Buzzed-About Social Recruiting Posts of the Week

Social media recruiting is on the rise, with 93% of organizations now using at least one social channel for talent acquisition. I recently analyzed the latest data and found some of the most popular recruiting content on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Here’s how top brands are engaging job-seekers on social platforms and how you can do the same.

Nestlé Purina Creats a Beautiful Facebook Post

One of this week’s best recruiting posts comes from Nestlé Purina. It’s a job listing for senior digital designer, and it includes virtually every social media best practice. It has the job title in big, clear letters. It features a photo of an attractive employee smiling at his desk. There’s a hashtag, #JoinPurina, to guide job-seekers to opportunities on other social channels. The copy below the photo includes, “You’ll work with over 40 national brands and business groups to inspire original and unique social media content,” which sounds rewarding, compelling, and important. At the end, there’s a trackable link to apply.

A great post all around, but Nestlé isn’t done yet. One interested woman asked in the comments if a degree was required for the position. She posted at 5:45 pm, toward the end of the business today. By 11:30 the next morning, she had a personalized response from a recruiter, who concluded with “Feel free to reach out in any questions!” An inquiry from another job-seeker drew a response in under five hours.

The result of all these efforts: 11 comments, 19 shares, and 316 likes.

Nestle Purina recruiting post on Facebook

How you can be like Nestlé Purina: This post is more than the sum of its parts. Certainly the photo isn’t anything fancy. A hashtag isn’t revolutionary. There are no elaborate graphics. But this content spoke to job-seekers, giving them something visual, something verbal, something social, and something social. The icing on the cake is the fast, friendly responses to questions in the comments. If you can spend just a little extra time creating your social recruiting content, and a little time monitoring it, you can generate lots of interaction and engagement.

Disney Offers Advice on Twitter

Disney has a lot of assets to draw from, including Marvel superheroes and the Muppets, but I like the simplicity of their May 27 tweet. It’s part of their “Recruiter Tip” series and features a photo of recruiter Tina, along with the quote, “Conduct research on the company, position, and the person you’re interviewing with. Be prepared to ask questions.”

It’s great to have the talent acquisition staff reach out to job-seekers with helpful advice. It shows that the company wants them to succeed. The addition of the photo and the recruiter’s name further humanizes what can be an intimidating process. Encouraging candidates to ask questions seems novel; what recruiter wants to be quizzed? Even more impressive, Tina is basically asking candidates to do research on her. Disney is showing that it doesn’t fear scrutiny, a form of transparency that I admire. In just 24 hours, the tweet has four retweets and 17 favorites.

Disney recruiting tweet

How you can be like Disney: Social recruiting channels have to include more than just job listings. To attract a wider following, organizations have to be a resource for job-seekers. That means offering advice on interviews, applications, and résumés, even though top talent may use that advice to find employment at your competitors. Providing help to job-seekers shows that you care about them and share in their success. A half-hour interview with your recruiter(s) could garner twenty tweets’ worth of advice. Take a photo of the recruiter, add whatever graphics you like, and you can become a popular and well-liked employment resource like Disney. 

UnitedHealth Group Showcases Culture on YouTube

As you know, I’m a big believer in the importance of corporate culture. Many companies mention it or refer to it obliquely in their recruitment advertising, but UnitedHealth Group produced a video that put its culture in the spotlight. The organization’s jobs channel on YouTube saw a huge spike in views over the past week, increasing by more than 60%, and “UnitedHealth Group’s United Culture” led the way.

The four-and-a-half-minute begins by enumerating its five core values. Then, the company’s top management, discuss what each core value means to them. They speak directly to the viewer with only some music and floating words that complement the message instead of distracting from it. Each executive seems comfortable on camera, enthusiastic about the company, and sincere in its convictions. The video has 4,007 views, 11 likes, and zero dislikes. United and several of its employees have also shared the video, and commented about it, on Google Plus.

How you can be like United HealthGroup: Highlighting your core values is a great way to solve the recruiting problem of culture fit. Anyone can list them on a website, but having your senior staff, including many in HR and employee communications, look directly at job-seekers and tell them about a company’s mission and vision is an powerful statement. A video isn’t too hard to create, but if it is, a photo and a written testimonial from the relevant executives will work. At the very list, put your organization’s values front and center on your recruitment materials and your careers site, to show what you stand for and to attract like-minded employees.

My agency, Brandemix, creates social media strategies for talent acquisition. We write posts, take photos, and produce videos as well. If you’d like our expertise to assist with your recruitment efforts, contact me and we’ll talk.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.

April 20, 2015

Employer Branding for Starfleet, SHIELD, and the Musketeers

Brandemix works with a lot of different clients, from local businesses to national non-profits to global corporations. From many of them, I hear, “But your recruiting strategies may not work with us because we’re unique!” Indeed they are, but job-seeker engagement has certain consistent truths that work for every shape and size. Don’t believe me? Let’s recruit for some of the most famous fictional (or fictionalized) organizations.

Starfleet

The military and exploration agency of the Star Trek universe may have the best employer value proposition in the galaxy: Employees get to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no one has gone before. Successful and respected, Starfleet could be the Google of the 24th century, with applications coming from every corner of the Federation. According to the show’s official wiki, candidates must pass rigorous intelligence exams and physical tests, along with a psychological evaluation that forces them to face their greatest fear. Makes Google’s brainteasers seem pretty tame.

Star Trek crew

What Starfleet recruiters should emphasize
If we were in charge of talent acquisition for Starfleet, what benefits would we communicate to job-seekers? Well, employees are exposed to new cultures and new ideas. They work with people and aliens from every corner of the Federation, and get to use the latest technology. During their free time, they can enjoy the holodeck and a shipboard bar with a great view.

What Starfleet recruiters should de-emphasize
Then again, it seems that lots of other companies want to blow up Starfleet’s ships. If not, there’s a plague on board, a traitor among the crew, or a mysterious monster causing havoc. Employees go on long missions and are away from their friends and families for many months. And for every security chief firing a phaser rifle at Borg drones, there’s a third-class waste management specialist cleaning the toilets.

SHIELD

The Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, this is the law-enforcement and counter-terrorism agency from the Marvel universe. Many of SHIELD’s agents don’t possess super-powers, but they must search for, battle, and contain some of the craziest, most evil villains in the world — and beyond, such as Thor’s realm of Asgard. The corporate culture is an interesting mix of deadly warriors and brilliant scientists, who must work together under tight deadlines and immense pressure to…well, save the planet.

Marvel SHIELD agents

What SHIELD recruiters should emphasize
Like Starfleet, employees get to play with some pretty fun gadgets, from humane “icer” pistols to mini-drones that can scan items from a distance to a flying 1962 Chevrolet Corvette. Workers in the science division learn things about physics and medicine that are decades ahead of most experts’ understanding. Their office is a giant plane, which has a certain cool factor even if it’s not very practical — no running to the post office during lunch. Perhaps the most inspiration can come from following in the footsteps of Iron Man and Black Widow, making the world a safer place.

What SHIELD recruiters should de-emphasize
SHIELD was recently attacked from within by the evil organization Hydra and left a shell of its former self. The whole agency has been stripped down, so there won’t be many employee events or office birthday celebrations for a while. Several of the best agents were revealed as traitors, which won’t help morale. And, in this secret agency, it seems that everyone has their own dark secrets and their own moral code, which can make collaboration awkward and difficult. But hey — now employees might get to meet Spider-Man!

The Musketeers

As soldiers and household guards of the French royal family, the Musketeers of the Guard enjoyed lives of esteem, status, and adventure. Yet their elite reputation belies an interesting secret — the company’s enlistment standards were actually lower than the other royal guard units, which admitted only the most senior (and most wealthy) French nobles. This resulted not only in a more diverse workforce but also a more productive one, since Musketeers had to work harder than their compatriots to earn the King’s trust and respect. Along with the famous novel, their exploits can now be seen on BBC America.

The Musketeers on BBC America

What Musketeer recruiters should emphasize
Glory, chivalry, wealth, romance — recruitment advertising for the Musketeers wouldn’t be difficult. Guarding the King, going on his personal missions, and fighting for his honor are also definite advantages. In an era before health insurance or vacation pay, Musketeers do get to enjoy good food and fine clothes, including jaunty hats and dashing capes. And, of course, access to the finest swords in Christendom.

What Musketeer recruiters should de-emphasize
Of course, one wound in a sword fight could lead to infection and death. And the court of Louis XIII wasn’t the best in terms of company culture, since it included the power-hungry Cardinal Richelieu, the scheming Milady de Winter, and the vengeful Count de Rochefort. These C-level executives often gave orders that contradicted each other and even put the King directly into danger. This makes for a confusing corporate structure. And there’s the fact that the guard unit will only last until 1776, when the King dissolves it. Perhaps laid-off employees could join a new startup company — the United States!

Your organization may not offer the adventure or danger of these famous ones. Still, you deserve employer branding that’s customized to your unique culture and employer value proposition. Take lessons from the space explorers, secret agents, and swashbucklers by promoting your strengths and downplaying (or improving!) your weaknesses. If you need help, open a channel and send a transmission to Brandemix Command.

Jason Ginsburg is Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix.

January 14, 2015

Lessons from the 2014 Creative Excellence Award Winners

The CEAs are an award program designed by ERE.net to recognize outstanding achievement in recruitment advertising and marketing. Each year, recruitment ad agencies and corporate recruiting departments from around the world enter their best creative advertising campaigns. The entries are judged by a panel of the finest creative and professional talent from across the country, of which I was one.

Now that the 2014 winners have been announced, here are some lessons we can draw from the best and most creative, which you can use to improve your own recruiting in 2015.

Employees like to be the star of the show

Dutch bank ABN AMRO launched an internal campaign that encouraged employees to “Be Outspoken” and which used the tagline “Do Tell.” To reinforce this concept, one morning the company had employees met be a photographer and an interview at the front door, and were asked about their “secret” talents. The photos were immediately added to a digital display for the next arriving employees to see. ABN AMBRO’s video shows the workers flattered and smiling as they talked about their strengths, hobbies, and passions. The result was a top-three finish for the CEA’s Best Multimedia Campaign.

Another Dutch company, KPN created a recruitment campaign that made candidates, not employees, feel incredibly special. The wireless carrier “sifted through” job candidates’ social media profiles and produced personal videos starring children, who challenged candidates to help create technology for the next generation. The kids also referred to hobbies, travels, and volunteer work of their subjects, making little jokes along the way. The call to action was to enroll in KPN’s famous Business Course. I’ve never seen anything quite like this and KPN deserves its award in the Interactive Media award.

KPN video

Employee Referral Programs don’t have to be boring

I’ve long crusaded against the dull “refer a friend and get a Starbucks gift card” method of employee referral programs. UPS (a frequent star) and APAC Customer Services have taken the ERP to new and exciting places.

The winners of the APAC referral program received two tickets to a Zac Brown Band concert, so the company tailored all their materials to song titles and lyrics from the band. The messaging was eerily perfect: “Jump Right In,” “You Get What You Give,” “Who Knows.” Instruments and microphones formed the designed of all the flyers and posters. It was a very clever way to unify the ERP and to make it relevant to employees, as the concert date became a kind of countdown that increased the urgency and excitement.

APAC ERP

UPS created a “Lighten the Load” referral program for their peak season. The suite of materials included a special, responsive website where employees could learn more about the program and register for prizes. Or employees could enroll in the program via SMS, which I love. UPS provided workers with “handshake cards” so they could easily refer anyone they met at any time. A very robust and employee-friendly program all around, which took first place in the CEA Referral Program category.

Imaginative campaigns attract imaginative candidates

The ingenuity of some of the CEA entrants truly inspired me. The Social Media Marketing winner was BP, which created a “weekly playlist,” on Facebook, featuring a different sort of content for each day of the week: Monday highlighted photographs from BP’s locations around the world (where candidates might end up); Tuesday offered multiple-choice questions that tested general knowledge that was relevant to a career at BP; Wednesday provided tips for candidates applying for a job at BP. The content including videos and employees testimonials, and was very fun and shareable. The result was huge engagement every day of the week. I took BP to task for not fully dealing with its 2010 oil spill as an employer, but I can now say the company has recovered and is engaging job-seekers in innovative ways.   

BP weekly playlist

In a similar vein, the Best Multimedia Campaign award went to Accenture’s “Mission Control,” which promoted a 48-hour “experience event, learning opportunity, and assessment center” for students. Accenture started with 10 “Mini Missions,” such as brain teasers, riddles, and satellite image clues that were posted across the company’s social channels. Students gave their solutions through a tweet or a Facebook comment.

Then came the “multimedia” part. Accenture created the pieces for a cardboard record player, which gave their engineering audience something tangible to construct. It required the students to set up the device and manually turn the record at the right speed to hear the top-secret message, which was to go to a website. The final phase of the promotion encouraged students to send missions to their friends via social media. The messages included a video of the record player, to show off that aspect of the campaign to as many people as possible. The result was almost 1,000 applications to the Mission Control event, and I’m pleased to say that 58% of the applicants to this science and engineering event were female.

Recruitment advertising continues to evolve

The winner of the best-in-show Dansker Prize was Seagate for its unique art and copy in “The Dreamer” recruiting initiative. Seagate shows that recruitment advertising can be beautiful and lyrical, no matter what your organization does or makes or sells. It’s a good lesson for all of us.

ERE also gave Creative Excellence Awards in mobile marketing, diversity marketing, print media, college advertising, and more. Some of the campaigns were truly remarkable and should inspire you to create fun, challenging, unique promotions for your own HR and hiring needs. As a judge, I got a detailed looks at all the entries, and I’d love to share my experience with your organization to help you attract the candidates you want. Contact me for details.

You can see the full list of the 2014 CEA winners here.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.

September 11, 2014

Responding to the Latest Design Trends

Websites. PowerPoints. Banner ads. We think we know how they’re supposed to look and what they’re supposed to do. But just like technology, design is marching on and changing the way we consume content. Our creative team has mastered the latest trends and can share the most important ones with you.

Responsive Design

People are visiting websites, digesting social content, and reading documents on multiple devices, making it harder for organizations to ensure a great experience across all these platforms. The key is responsive design, which allows content to change based on the size, resolution, and capabilities of the device upon which it’s being viewed, whether it’s an iPad or an Android phone or a Kindle Fire. Responsive design ensures that reading and navigating is easy on every platform.

A good example is Vogue magazine, which looks exactly as it does on an iPhone as it does on a laptop. There’s no sense of “Oh, this is just the mobile version; What am I missing from the full site?” This type of design even responds to how you’re holding your device — ever turn your iPhone and have a web page suddenly become unreadable? I’ve found that responsive design often results in text and photos separated vertically, so that images fill the screen when viewed on a mobile phone. This makes them easier to view on a small device and easier to tap with a thumb.

There’s one casualty with this innovation — mobile versions of sites, with URLs like “m.mywebsite.com.” Responsive design works on every device, so there’s no need for a separate mobile version.

Vogue mobile

Vogue’s mobile site; a duplicate of its desktop version.

PowerPoints with Power

I think it’s time to update the 20-year-old PowerPoint slide show that relies on white screens, black text, and royalty-free clip art. (You may be as sick as I am of the faceless alien that shows up in virtually every PowerPoint from Corporate Communications.) Two ways to do this are Prezi and ScrollDeck, which add motion and animation to presentations, making them much more interactive and compelling.

I’ve found some plug-ins and add-ons which can shake up the traditional speaker-and-audience relationship that make some slide shows so dull. A good one is YawnBuster, which lets you create quizzes, polls, games, and group activities that are sure to keep your viewers from, well, yawning. It’s aimed at keeping students’ attention in class, but adults can become just as bored as children. Going one step further, you actually don’t ever have to use PowerPoint to create a presentation again. New apps like Haiku Deck let you produce beautiful decks, with great stock images, right on your iPad.

Haiku Deck
A slide from HaikuDeck

Enhanced Banner Ads

People want to visit websites. They are often voluntary participants in polls, presentations and surveys. But most people aren’t big fan of banner ads. Sure, they’ve evolved from static text images to include flashing colors and primitive animation, but they’re still routinely ignored, with a click-through rate of less than 1%.

Interactive designers have accepted the challenge of making banner ads irresistible. FedEx turned their banner ad into a clever clock that displays the user’s current time in FedEx boxes. Volkswagen’s ads featured a blank space before “like a Rabbit,” and whatever the user types in that blank, the car does. Gatorade let users play with a push toy, while Brastemp water purifiers made users put their cursor into the an animated water stream to see the company’s (funny) message. As with presentations and websites, the key is interactivity: responding to user’s situations, letting them play with their online content, and using video or animation to take any message beyond simple, static text. Brastemp’s and Volkswagen’s banner ads also included audio, from the trickling of water to a love song between two enamored Rabbits.

New Faces and Designs

Another change in design is in the people featured in photos and videos. I’m seeing a lot more diversity, including older, “natural” women (i.e., not models) and dads playing with their kinds instead of working at the office. I’m seeing all different races and ages, and people with disabilities.

I’ve also noticed design starting to reflect the personal, homemade look of Instagram and Vine — photos with lens flare, intentionally imperfect pictures of food, hand-drawn sketches instead of faceless-alien stock images.

Lastly, I see that mobile devices have just about driven designers away from the shadows and color gradients that used to give websites a three-dimensional look. Instead, everything has a “flat” look, with nothing floating above or peeking out from below the page. While I miss some of that clever design, it did make for harder reading and navigation on a phone.

Hand drawn chart
A hand-drawn chart

Takeaways

So what can you do to make sure your design and content is as compelling as possible?

– Your content should be responsive to user’s needs, device, and location. If they want to view your PowerPoint on their Samsung phone, they should be able to — with no loss of quality.

– It should also be interactive, to keep users engaged. Banner ads are easy to ignore. Slide shows are easy to sleep through. The more people feel they’re part of the conversation, or if they’re required to act to keep the action moving, they’ll absorb more of your message.

– Everything is important. Volkswagen didn’t have to create a crazy game with lots of animation to sell cars. Look at every piece of content, from a tweet to a homepage, as an opportunity to surprise and impress your audience

Need help navigating the new frontier of web design? Brandemix can help.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.

September 6, 2014

How Careers Websites Have Evolved — And Are Still Evolving

The idea of a discrete website solely for recruiting goes back only about 15 years, but a lot of innovation has taken place in that time. By making their own advances and following the latest technology, smart recruiters have created compelling destinations for job-seekers. Here’s a quick look at how careers websites have evolved and where they’re headed next — and how you can be part of the conversation.

In the beginning, careers websites were little more than online recruiting brochures with job listings. Progressive companies may have added a search function, some pictures and possibly boilerplate text that talked about opportunity and growth, but mostly the sites were uninspiring. That’s because organizations didn’t think they were that important. Recruiters were experimenting with job boards like Monster and CareerMosaic, and were putting time and energy into online classifieds.

Merck - Then

Merck’s careers website – “Then”

Eventually, careers sites grew and added sound, videos, and other bells and whistles. Job boards still reigned, but careers sites were now supplementary destinations, able to adequately inform job-seekers, if not entertain them.

Then along came social media, and the whole paradigm shifted.

Because social channels allowed for conversations with job-seekers, not just one-way announcements, organizations found themselves answering questions, congratulating new hires, and handling complaints in real time. They also needed to produce content for all these channels, which meant interviews of top executives, photos of offices, and videos of employee parties. Just when HR teams had Facebook and Twitter figured out, Instagram and Pinterest came along, requiring even more visual content. And then Instagram added video and Twitter added Vine, turning recruiters into filmmakers.

Careers sites had to change as well. They suddenly needed to, as CareerXroads put it, “follow the job-seeker…connect with them and address their needs and concerns.” The sites became more interactive, giving visitors more choices for content. Three employee videos testimonials are nice…but if an organization has ten major divisions, shouldn’t each division get their chance in the spotlight? Job-seekers would complain if they felt their field or career path was given short shrift — and on the company’s very own social channels. Adding to the complexity, there were more opportunities to create career micro-sites and host them elsewhere, such as on job boards, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor.

Merck’s careers website – “Now”

Now the best recruiting sites are just as elaborate and robust as their companies’ consumer-facing sites, with strong branding, rich media, multiple social channels, special content, and continuous updates. And just as mainstream websites have gone mobile, careers sites are now optimized for phones and tablets, letting job-seekers search jobs and even apply without ever sitting down at a desktop (which is what job-seekers want).

Where do careers sites go from here? It’s anyone’s guess.

On October 23, I’m presenting a webinar on this subject and I’m looking for people to speak with, careers sites to feature, and questions to answer.

Won’t you weigh in by taking this brief questionnaire?

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.