In a candidate’s market, companies are feeling the pressure to move away from traditional job posting strategies in favor of unique, engaged, and more technology-specific tactics to woo talent.
Besides employment branding, as the market continues to tighten, I found some interesting examples of unique strategies companies are using to get the attention of potential candidates.
Open Mic Nights
LinkedIn has a surprising strategy to lure in top talent: Giving prospective employees the chance to show off their musical prowess in an open mic night. The company-sponsored talent show is the brainchild of Lesley Toche, the diversity program manager at LinkedIn. Toche, who was formerly a recruiter at the company, tells CNBC Make It that the idea came to him when he was planning a networking event to recruit more diverse hires.
He wanted to refrain from the typical networking events, which involve a lot of standing around and talking. “I couldn’t help but think of how to make it livelier and more fun if we were going to be targeting blacks and Latinos,” says Toche.
On average, the company hires about three people at a typical networking event, says Toche. At the first event last November, six people were hired to fill open roles.
VR Experience Recruiting
Gap, Inc. is using virtual reality in recruiting and hiring. VR provides job candidates an opportunity to see Gap in a new and different way, giving them insights into working in the San Francisco and New York offices. Gap’s use of VR at SXSW was their first foray. I can tell you that having sat down and participated in their SXSW VR experience, it was extremely engaging and elicited a strong emotion response for myself which is typical of most people’s first reaction to VR. I think their approach will set them apart from other employers in the segmented markets they are targeting.
More on Gap’s VR experience on Workology Podcast #114 with Nick Boyd, the head of Talent Attraction Supply at Gap Inc.
Snaplications Attract Young Workers
McDonald’s is using Snapchat to hire 250,000 workers. The fast-food titan is calling its hiring tool “Snaplications.” A Snapchat user can view a 10-second video ad about how great it is to work at McDonald’s and if the job prospect wants to know more, there’s a link to McDonald’s career page in Snapchat and to the job application.
More than half the people hired at company-owned McDonald’s are in the 16- to 24-year-old bracket and for many of them, these summer gigs are their first jobs ever, the chain said. And what better way to reach this demographic on one of their most popular social channels?
Swipe Right for ‘Tindership’
Fetch recruits for intern on Tinder. In January 2016, the New York office of creative agency, Fetch, set up two Tinder profiles (one male, one female), both with a rather unusual agenda. Instead of looking to find a date, the company were using Tinder to find a potential intern within the app’s 50 million user base (primarily made up of those aged 18 to 34).
For one day, Fetch turned on their unique Tinder profiles to match with people in the New York area, and ask them to send their best pick-up line. As you can imagine, the question as well as the unusual profile, resulted in more than a few funny one-on-one conversations with some people who, as Fetch put it, “clearly didn’t read through the agency’s profile before swiping right”! Check out a few of them here.
In total, Fetch matched with 270 potential applicants (150 men and 120 women) on that day, and the agency spent 3 weeks talking to them before whittling the competition down to 5 in-person interviews. The piece in AdWeek certainly didn’t hurt their branding!
Finding Passionate Foodies
H-E-B Central Market grocery chain has implemented a rigorous and unique hiring process in an effort to find a certain type of employee – those with a passion for food. Before prospective employees for H-E-B Central Market ever interview, they find themselves building in-store cereal displays, tasting artichokes and creating art projects.
Once candidates make it through the initial screening process, they’re invited back for the second phase of the process called “Taste of the Future,” a three-hour interactive interview process. Applicants are divided into groups of about eight people and presented with samples of store products. Interviewers observe their willingness to try unusual foods – such as guava juice – and their desire to interact with others.
Next, applicants “create their own application,” says says Pat Brown, general manager of the Central Market in Houston. They’re presented with art supplies – crayons, markers, scissors and construction paper – and asked to create something that tells about themselves.
Applicants also go through sessions of food identification and sales role-play. They are then asked to build a product display together. “We want to see who can work together as a team, who’s creative and who shows leadership, who’s assertive and who’s not,” Brown says.
After the session, the observers meet and discuss who will be called back for interviews. Brown handles group interviews and only then are the applicants moved on to one-on-one interviews with department managers. An excellent screening process for hiring candidates who are passionate about the company and its mission!
Competitive Problem Solving
Sonos, the consumer electronics company, has embraced competitive problem-solving as part of its interview process. Candidates are given a practical problem to solve as part of their final round of interviews.
For an HR role, for example, an applicant might be asked to help solve an employee engagement challenge and share their recommended solutions to tackle the problem. For PR candidates, they would be asked to create a blog post and develop a social media plan around it. Finance candidates are given customer analysis materials and asked to share their key takeaways as well as ideas for improving the analysis. All candidates, regardless of their roles, are also asked to talk about their passions in another challenge, and to share how they are bringing their passions to life at work, school and outside of work/school.
These challenges help hiring managers to better evaluate a candidate’s problem solving, analytical and communications skills as well as cultural fit. And at the same time, candidates are also given an opportunity to show their skills in a relevant way by solving a real-life company challenge. It’s a great way to get candidates excited about working for your company and to help them see the impact they’ll get to make in the role they’re interviewing for.
Grant-Supported Paid Apprenticeships
Taking a cue from Cisco’s apprenticeship programs for closing the talent gap, a new, federally funded apprenticeship program aimed at diversifying the tech workforce in Washington state has drawn interest from more than 1,000 applicants in just a few months.
Two of its earliest participants have already started year-long, paid apprenticeships.
Education Lab is a Seattle Times project that spotlights promising approaches to persistent challenges in public education. It is produced in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network and is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
WTIA says it is the first registered tech apprenticeship program in the nation. It’s based on the idea that a short, intensive burst of training can be enough to lead a prospective employee to a midlevel, year-long apprenticeship that can result in a permanent job at a technology company.
The trade association is working with Microsoft, Cisco, Code Fellows and other organizations to provide the training, then place the students in paid apprenticeships to further their training for another year.
Apprenti focuses on getting women, veterans and underrepresented minorities into tech fields — groups that have found it hard to break into the industry.
These unique hiring tactics do more than just find the right candidates for your company, or the most passionate. Some of them have built-in diversity inclusion programs (like Apprenti and Linkedin), as well as sourcing for a cultural and technological fit.