Send us your resume and we will send you a cow!

There’s been lots of talk recently that either rubbishes social games or proposes building a new one for recruiting purposes. Most recently Marriot have released a much applauded game to fit their employer brand. It's been applauded by many, while others have commented "play games, get kids!” untill recently, i would have sat in the neigh sayers, but the number of people signing up and playing social games, paticularly those based in Facebook,5me to take a closer look.

Research by a student I’ve been working with, Ruxxandra Fratescu, amongst her alumni on social media use, we identified that students were spending up to 7 hours a week playing social games like Farmville in Facebook. Gaming on Facebook was by far the biggest activity by on-line users, with watching video coming second. This told me that there was no need to go to the expense and effort of building something new, better to work out how to use the social games already popular.

I have been working with a high profile client recently who have a requirement to hire the top students from 12 of the leading universities across Europe. The target candidates were in the predicted top 5% making them targets for a wide range of companies, constantly receiving messages and enticements to apply. We needed something different to grab their attention and drive applications.

We used Facebook ad research to identify those students in the target group who were active in Facebook, and who listed social games in their list of interests. We also used traditional sourcing techniques to build a list of names, cross referencing these with their Facebook profile, and recording the games they were active in, The top 3 were 1) Farmville. 2) Mafia wars. 3)Cityville. This covered a massive 85% of our target candidates.

Next step, we took out pay per click Facebook ad's aimed at the target candidates. The ads were targeted against matching profiles or target names, according to the game of choice. The text read:

 

1) Send us your resume and we will send you a cow.

 

2) Send us your resume and we will help you kill the ambassador.

 

3) Send us your resume and we will build you a hospital.

 

The click through took the candidates to a tailored Facebook page, featuring images from the games and a networking place where "members" can post scores, exchange trades and band together. This was supported by the work4labs Facebook application, that enabled those that chose too (and most did) to upload their resume with one click and look at suitable jobs to apply for. there was also a much higher than average sharing of jobs and inviting others to the page.

The pages quickly became communities around a common theme. Members teamed up on games and swapped around livestock built barns hospitals all of the features of these games. An intern was appointed to play games with the potential candidates, a much sought after post. This meant continuous engagement around a common theme, the nirvana of social recruiters.

 

The hard results:

 

Targeted applications up 400%

The brand (previously seen as a bit stuffy) became the number one choice of career destination.

Reduced cost and time to hire.

A pre-built talent pool of first and second year hires.

 

Still think there is nothing in these games? It's not just about being mayor!

 

Bill

Views: 1536

Tags: Social, attract, effective, facebook, gaming, how, in, recruiting, students, the, More…to, top, work4labs

Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 24, 2011 at 10:54am
Bill, I certainly agree that one size does not fit all. How about taking this to the next step? How many hires does this client intend to make out of the 2000 plus applications? What is the touch point for these apps? Will all of them be contacted by internal recruiters within the client company? If the client is focused on reviewing and selecting only the ones they want fro the resumes do you foresee any blowback from those who are not contacted or do they not care since the resumes were sent as part of a game.

I can certainly see the excitement in generating this kind of response so my question is ..then what and how do you manage it to keep this kind of talent pool viable or do you anticipate an ongoing pipeline with no anticipation of response because it is in a game venue?
Comment by Luke Toland on August 24, 2011 at 11:29am

Very interesting post, Bill. I'm curious though - how does this approach differ from targeting those universities via different means? For example, the Facebook ads can narrow down on schools and interests. If the job was for engineering, couldn't you target students from the choice universities whose interests are in all things engineering? Rinse and repeat for other jobs. Or are you saying that online gaming is a useful proxy for all those interests?

 

While I like the idea of going after students through targeted means (that sounds like a mafia hit job!), gaming seems like a rough proxy. What about all those talented individuals who want to work for that company but have no interest in gaming? This approach seems to winnow down the potential pool of applicants to a subset that happened to have clicked on the right "Like" at the right time.

Comment by Valentino Martinez on August 24, 2011 at 3:50pm

Bill,

BRAVO! You are indeed leveraging a candidate population that may prove to be prime-cut.  And you're doing it with a novel approach.

However, Sandra, Luke--and now I, are playing devil's advocate for the simple reason that a selection process always has a PLUS and MINUS factor.

If being a "gamer" (player of games on FB) is the hook and you're going to the top schools in Europe--for the top students--you may be setting yourself up for a fall if your "high profile client(s) is "B" operator in their industry.  What is "high profile client"?  In America that can be good and BAD.

And going after the top cut of talent, in the top schools anywhere, invites inspection of you and your client base.  Should that wobble out as weak or a "stuffy brand"--the Facebook crowd will hear about it PRONTO with a speed and reach that only social networks as big as FB can muster?

Also, the top companies in Europe and America are already deeply invested and connected to the top schools in their respective geographies.  To them you'll only be identifying candidates who like to play games on FB.

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on August 24, 2011 at 9:48pm

Eventhough we've been hearing for quite some time how important this whole gamification theme is, I just struggle with the concept that *everything* has to be fun and flashy to attract people.

 

Maybe I'm old, old-fashioned, old-school, out of touch, stubborn, clueless, obviously not-a-gamer, or all of the above, but not everyone worthwhile has the energy or interest to whittle away their valuable time playing games.

 

I get that these diversions are massively popular with a huge percentage of the population, but do we really need to blur the lines more between recreation and real-world? Obviously, there can be some relevance to the work scene, but it seems this trend is getting shoved into every aspect of our lives.

 

Anyone else fear setting the expectation that attracting applicants via game-ish methods will lead them to think playing around is part of the job? Can't help thinking about that awkward: "that's why they call it (work), work" conversation...

 

Or, are we in need of: "I just gave so & so, +K for their 82 slide ppt preso at today's strategy meeting?"

 

Maybe, I just bought 192 EmpAve shares of myboss ... would be helpful as a team builder?

 

Pretty soon we won't be able take a shower without unlocking the "mayor of the master-bathroom" badge first.

 

@TalentTalks

Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 25, 2011 at 1:59pm
Maybe the strategy is like this post.  Stirs up a lot of interest then you hear the wind through the canyon.  Where are you Bill, lots of questions here.
Comment by Bill Boorman on August 27, 2011 at 10:31am

Sandra,

Sorry for being slow in replying, i've been running #truRomania and got a bit distracted. I will add more detail on my next post. In response to the volume question, hiring from a large response is scaleable when you drive the response via a Facebook fan page. The objective is to get the target audience in one place to communicate en-masse. 2000 is quite small. The Hard Rock Firenze recruiting project attracted 11,000 replies for 120 openings, over 2 weeks. 2000 replies for 250 openings is not a huge ratio. Facebook makes this managable, and the communication is in the candidates choice of channel. You can message anyone in Facebook, friend or not.

Because the responses come from targeted candidates via FB ad's, avery high proportion of the responses are relevant. By making qualifying criteria clear and communicating this early in the process, those that don't meet the criteria tend to deselect themselves from the process. The pages having another purpose i:e: gaming, keeps possible candidates engaged much longer than when you run a purely recruitment page or site.

Comment by Bill Boorman on August 27, 2011 at 10:39am

Kelly,

I think gaming is just one approach to attracting talent, and then only when your target audience sits in this group. Gaming is not everything, often it is inappropriate, but it is an option to consider. I don't think you should always get seduced by shiny new toys, but you should consider everything available in the context of target group.

Comment by Bill Boorman on August 27, 2011 at 10:44am

Bill,

Despite thoughts to the contrary, stay at home mums do not form the biggest share of games players. This infographic gives you the numbers for the UK and the US is much the same. It depends on the game and the audience.

18 - 25 (my target audience for this project) tops the list:

Comment by Bill Boorman on August 27, 2011 at 10:55am

Valentino,

The reason for trying something different is that traditional methods were falling short in terms of numbers, due to competition. A lot of social is trial and error. you never know what works till you try it out. on this occasion, it worked. About 80% has failed, but the wins, by being different, outweigh the losses.

Comment by Bill Boorman on August 27, 2011 at 11:53am

Luke,

What i'm finding is that the games cover all disciplines, much like Facebook itself. On this occasion, I think taking a unique approach played a big part in getting the results we did. If everyone does it, i'm sure it will be different. I favour taking a blended approach,mixing new with traditional approaches, not either or.

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