Viral recruitment, gamification, scouting and… doughnuts

At a time of a severe shortage of IT industry specialists (50 thousand vacancies) and a demand for a qualified workforce that keeps growing, companies are increasingly using novel ways to reach the best candidates. Innovation in recruitment for the XXIst century or temporary fad? One thing is certain – the “employee market” remains.

Vacancies in Polish IT companies have encouraged the use of unusual recruitment styles. In a situation when one IT specialist is hunted by 12 employers on average, it is quite obvious that a company must stand out. Traditional advertisements in newspapers, television or recruitment websites do not work.

We are aware that the traditional approach has become insufficient. Communication tools as well as applicants’ expectations with respect to the employer are changing. Here in Hicron we use various channels to reach prospective employees. One of the more important recruitment methods are employee recommendations. Just this year, 46 per cent of hired workers were recommended by someone from Hicron. This is welcome since it means that our employees value their working conditions, atmosphere, and projects they participate in. We also use other forms of recruitment like the Goldenline and Monsterpolska platforms, where we search candidates’ profiles, contact them and try to interest them in our offer. We organise meetings at universities and participate in major job fairs – says Marta Zerka, HR Specialist in Hicron.

A sweet beginning makes for good work…

One Krakow IT company decided to launch an atypical recruitment campaign last year. Recruiters went around malls handing out doughnuts with a letter attached, which read “If you’re and IT specialist, you’ll get a great job! If you know a good IT worker – we’ll pay 4,000 PLN for a successful recommendation. If you don’t get what we’re talking about – enjoy your doughnut.” The campaign was enthusiastically received by IT specialists but… employers were furious. We don’t know if anyone decided to accept the offer, but the campaign became a legend on Krakow’s job market. It shows that at the time of a deficit of IT specialists no holds barred.

Gamification in recruitment

Gamification is based on using mechanisms and techniques from computer games to increase engagement and loyalty, and to modify the behaviours and habits of workers.

Up to now, it has mainly been used in sales and marketing. Currently it is increasingly used by HR departments. That’s what Marriott International recruiters did. In 2011, they launched “My Marriott Hotel” game, in which players from 120 countries managed a virtual hotel and restaurant. They had to manage supply and coordinate their team. In the first week, 25 thousand players joined the game. You could apply for a real job only after you reached a certain level in the game. A similar game, “Plantville” was launched by the German giant, Siemens. In this situation you could become a manager of a factory; manufacturing trains, cars, vitamins or bottles.

Gamification can also be exciting to recruiters. In one advertising agency, in order to avoid a boring recruitment process, the boss himself battled candidates in… Diablo III. During the half hour of gameplay the applicant had to complete tasks verifying his competence level in pre-determined areas. We must add that it was quite a challenge since the boss was literally THE BOSS – he was on the 60th level (the last one).

Viral recruitment and scouting. Difficult names – awesome effect

Initially, viral was just a marketing tool allowing content to spread across the web “on its own”. The goal of “viral recruitment” is to build a large database of recipients by publishing interesting content. When we acquire enough people the job offer message is sent. The Hard Rock Cafe network ran such a viral campaign in Italy. A Facebook page they created was supposed to gather people of similar tastes and interests. Only after a while were job offers posted there. Thanks to this trick, it took a month for Hard Rock Cafe to receive 4,000 applications and hire 120 people.

Increasingly often, recruiters use a technique called “scouting”. It is based on looking for a candidate in places, where he or she feels the best – a place where they can remain in their comfort zone. For instance, First Merit Bank involved its recruiters in searching for prospective employees in chosen shops and fuel stations. Customer approach was the benchmark. This way it was possible to truly verify skills and behaviour at work, which for employers is invaluable.  

“The coolest interview ever” – recruitment on Twitter

Social media are becoming a natural channel of contact with candidates. HCL Technologies company carried out recruitment on Twitter for the first time in history. All the stages, consisting of recruitment questions and answers to them took the form of tweets. The campaign exploded with huge media attention, and over 250 thousand people from 60 countries took part in the project. The campaign was baptised as “the coolest interview ever” – and was the first recruitment in history performed entirely on social media.

The fight for the best IT employees has spilt out into new areas. Instead of searching for experienced employees – why not simply “raise” them yourself? The objective of the “E-Skills for Jobs 2014” project is a promotion of digital skill sets in youth. This project takes place simultaneously in 30 European countries, including Poland. After all – as the twig is bent, so grows the tree…