Employer Brand

What the best recruitment campaigns can teach us for 2021

January 2020 5 min read Written by Papirfly

A company’s success quite literally hinges on its ability to find the best talent. Global employer brand teams are under immense pressure to deliver recruitment campaigns that strike the right chord with the right people at exactly the right time – no pressure. Though there are many out there that have mastered their markets (kudos to you), we can all stand to learn a few lessons from those who have seen success with their employer branding strategy.

Before we get into some innovative recruiting examples we love, we wanted to share our favourite tips for ensuring your recruitment campaigns translate well in their respective markets. Each business and employer brand team will run very differently, but there are always certain ‘common sense’ fundamentals that transcend borders and processes.

Each market deserves your undivided attention

It goes without saying that different cultures respond differently to certain imagery, humour and language. Sometimes brands can be tempted to spend a lot of time and investment on one of their core markets’ employment campaigns, and then this gets translated across multiple regions, dialects and countries. Ultimately, the message becomes lost or diluted and isn’t nearly as effective as something bespoke would be.

Of course, there’s only a finite marketing budget, but even spending the time to tailor the campaign slightly could be enough to make its creative feel more relevant to someone. If little to no effort has been made to appeal to a demographic, they will instantly disengage and you’ve essentially poured money down the drain.

Test your messaging strands

If you have a dedicated team in each of your markets, your insight into their demographics should (hopefully) be more clear-cut than if you were operating remotely. That said, just because you have your personas distinguished, it doesn’t mean your campaign will land with everyone. Consider exploring BAM by Papirfly™ to give anyone the ability to update creatives and messaging as success is measured, without the risk of messing anything up.

Don’t speak for people you don’t understand

Not everyone can justify a physical marketing presence in every country they operate in. Most successful recruitment messaging starts with an insight into the way people feel, and this level of insight can vary from place to place. It’s important to never make assumptions about a person, culture or what someone might respond to in your marketing. If you are responsible for another territory’s messaging, ensure you involve existing employees in the area and conduct market research where necessary.

Never underestimate the power of consistency

You understand how valuable your brand is more than most. While your messaging and creatives should be tailored towards your audiences, the brand itself should remain constant. Your employees need the tools and guidance to be able to produce materials in a sustainable and powerful way – with or without the help of an agency. This often starts with education. How familiar are employees with your brand guidelines? Brand values? Company values? Would they be able to tell if something an agency produced wasn’t in line with your expectations?

Campaigns without housekeeping could be futile

One of the first things a prospective employee will do upon seeing your advert is check out your brand and your company online – 75% of jobseekers, in fact. If your digital presence isn’t up to scratch, they may not pursue their application further.

Many of our global clients like to enhance and help manage employee LinkedIn profiles where needed, ensure any employee reviews are responded to effectively and create employee ambassadors that help support the employer brand and recruitment. According to LinkedIn research, companies with strong employer brands receive 50% more qualified applicants and see a 50% reduction in cost-per-hire.

Successful recruitment methods are constantly evolving as competition for top talent becomes increasingly fierce. We’ve taken a look at two excellent recruitment campaigns from 2019 (and one not-so-excellent campaign) to seek inspiration for the year ahead.

Cisco – February 2019 Recruitment Campaign

What was it all about?
Cisco produced a promotional video that encouraged applicants to be themselves at the company. The ad featured real employees from multiple departments and was full of vibrant, happy faces.  

What can we learn from it?
Employee advocacy has a huge role to play in employer branding, and while not everyone will be willing to put their acting skills on show, there are much smaller, achievable ways you can get employees engaged and pique candidate interest. When employees showcase company culture on social media, it shows prospective employees two things – it’s a great place to work, and employees care about where they work so much that they’re willing to post about it.                      

The U.K. Army – January 2019 Recruitment Campaign

What was it all about?
Millennials often have a negative spotlight shone on them, with the media making drastic assumptions and spreading misconceptions about the way they approach life. With millennials being the Army’s prime target audience for this creative, the agency behind this campaign took advantage of these unpleasant phrases and turned them on their head. For example, one such headline read “Snowflakes… we need your compassion”. Each negative phrase was counteracted with a statement that demonstrated the employer saw the individual’s strengths and the value in what the media perceived to be a negative trait.

What can we learn from it?
Though the campaign received some negative press, the Army increased their applications by thousands which shows just how much their message resonated with the audience. Understanding your candidates’ pain points is so important in crafting the right message.

CIA – April 2019 Recruitment Campaign

What was it all about?
The CIA started the year by introducing a publicly open campaign for Russian-speaking candidates. While the usually secret organisation would have always been subject to public scrutiny regardless of the campaign itself, it faced an even deeper dissection after a bad translation resulted in a dreadful grammatical error on one of their posters.

What can we learn from it?
While certainly not the best recruitment campaign by any stretch, we can learn a lot from this one. Though we can’t know for certain, it’s likely that the translation wasn’t checked by someone who knew the language very well or perhaps wasn’t even translated by a native-speaking Russian (which would explain why the role was so important to promote). Brand governance in any capacity is incredibly important to an employer’s brand and reputation, and something as seemingly insubstantial as a grammatical error went on to embarrass one of the world’s most widely respected intelligence agencies. Having proofing processes in place or pre-approved translated text can help to avoid situations such as these.

What to take from the bad and the best recruitment campaigns…

Employer branding isn’t easy. But there are many fundamentals that can be followed to ensure all your marketing campaigns have the best possible chance at being successful. Many restrictions and oversights that companies fall victim to are likely due to budget, time and skill shortages, which can sometimes limit a campaign’s true potential.

One way brands are conquering this dilemma is by introducing BAM by Papirfly™ to their teams. It helps to centralise their marketing efforts, empowers employees to create studio standard materials and gives employer branding teams complete governance across the globe. Mistakes, such as those of the CIA, are going to happen. But they should only happen once. Something as significant as that should be enough for a company to learn from, and put the tools in place to ensure such inconsistencies are avoided.

As the saying goes “you don’t just choose talent, talent chooses you…” – when it comes to your recruitment methods, you can’t afford not to invest in the future.

by Papirfly

BAM by Papirfly™ is constantly evolving

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