5 Ways to Ace Your Next Recruitment Campaign

I’m sure you’ve all completed hours of research on the latest and greatest recruitment methods and procedures before you clicked on this write up. You know how to post “help wanted” ads in the local classifieds, and you realize it’s possible to attract applicants by posting that you’re looking for people via your company’s social feeds.

For most companies, inviting professionals to apply for positions in your company isn’t the problem – the hard part is attracting the right kind of people to apply for jobs in your organization. Unqualified, uninteresting candidates take up your recruitment team’s time, and cost you money if they make it past the recruitment stage and find their way into the hired ranks in your company.

Waiting for job interview

Here’s 5 tips for acing your next recruitment campaign to find the best and brightest out there in the workforce:

1. Figure out where your targets like to hang out

One of the most iconic recruitment methods I’ve seen in recent years is one that Volkswagen did a few years back in Germany. They put their plea for qualified mechanics literally right in front of the faces of the people they wanted working for them.

The car manufacturer cleverly sent several damaged vehicles to repair shops throughout the country, with a message (in German) plastered on the undercarriage of each vehicle simply stating “mechanics wanted” and a URL where candidates could find out more information about joining the Volkswagen team.

Six great mechanics were hired and the car manufacturer couldn’t have been more happy with the results of this recruitment campaign. This example goes to show just how important out-of-the-box thinking is in figuring out where your ideal recruiting candidate is, and finding a way to place the message that you’re hiring front and center in their minds.

2. Consider video outreach to attract the best talent

A well-shot video detailing your operations, touring your facilities, and interviewing employees, managers, and even satisfied clients can go a long way toward attracting the most qualified candidates possible.

True professionals are looking for more than just a paycheck. A great culture, including happy and friendly coworkers are just as important as salary numbers for seasoned professionals and high-reaching graduates.

Take things a step further and do something similar to what software design company Red5 did back in 2008 and send your shortlist of “dream candidates” an iPod with a personalized video recruitment message from your company’s CEO, inviting them in for an interview.

3. Don’t make getting in the door too easy

Smart professionals like to be challenged and it’s important for you to separate the high performers from the lazy chafe in order to have a successful recruitment campaign.

Google made it obvious they were looking for a certain type of candidate back in 2004 with their now legendary math puzzle billboard recruitment campaign targeted at math-brained engineering prodigies. The ad invited passersby to solve a problem in brackets with a “.com” after indicating the answer will lead the problem solver to a web URL. The problem was displayed like this:

{first 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits of e}.com

Those who solved it and made it to the URL were invited to submit their resume to the now search engine giant. Imagine all the people who would have applied had Google offered up the URL without this neat puzzle.

Hire a hoodie - funny recruitment
photo credit: Gwydion E. Williams / Flickr

4. Set up clever filters to minimize non-qualified applicants

It doesn’t take much effort to spam-blast a bunch of “We’re Hiring” posts on your company’s various social feeds. Trouble is, you’re inviting every Tom, Dick and Harry to apply for the positions you need to fill – not terribly efficient.

Not to mention, interviews are often time-consuming, making them costly to the company or recruiting firm’s bottom line. OgilvyOne had this great idea back in 2010 where they invited applicants to market a brick to their recruiters via a YouTube channel and through their personal social media accounts.

With a two-minute time limit on the videos that were submitted, it streamlined the filtering process, making it easy for recruiters to get a feel for an applicant’s viability as “The World’s Greatest Salesperson.” If someone can sell you a brick, chunk of ice, or even fresh air over the Internet, there’s a really good chance they can sell your products too.

5. Begin creating and maintaining relationships with colleges early on

Universities and colleges should obviously be one of your most effective talent recruitment assets. While some positions will require experienced talent with lots of trench-time put in over the years, there’s something to be said about getting your hands on fresh graduates early, before another organization gets their hands on them and starts to train and sully their values.

Reach out to local and semi local colleges, universities, and vocational training centers (if applicable) and let them know the kind of talent you’re seeking. Make your company available for training partnerships and internships, make your top talent available for seminars and guest lectures at those institutions.

Ask the school if you can set up a booth in the school where your recruiters can talk to students and look for the diamonds in the rough that may one day become your next top employees.

Bonus: Use software. Please.

Pen-and-paper may be made cool again, but for managing the whole recruitment campaign, you need more than that. Google for recruitment software that best-fits your needs and objectives, and invest in the best one that you can find. Chances are, it doesn’t cost you a mountain to access the tools; it’s a worthwhile investment, I assure you.

Recruitment process


Recruiting will never be easy, regardless of current and emerging technology.

Finding qualified, reliable talent is still all about the human condition. While there is indeed tons of great candidates out there to fill the positions you require them to, there are many more who don’t.

It’s your job as a recruiter to find the most efficient ways possible to filter out the good from the bad, and to get the truly great to sign on the dotted line!