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!



Views: 1759

Comment by Bill Boorman on August 29, 2011 at 4:27am

i was unaware you and Sandra were fashion experts, though I note your comments on my hat,but it serves me well.Seems you are somewhat joined at the hip. Which of you owns the opinion?

There are always lots of things I could have done. Social recruiting is all about trial and error. Not being afraid to try new things and fail. The gains when they come, as in this case, outweigh the losses. Once you look at the numbers then you plan your next move. New and innovative approaches involve risk, trying things before you discount them. This way you discount on fact rather than opinion.I find this works well. Running tests rather than taking the guess of "that won't work."

Comment by Sandra McCartt on August 29, 2011 at 1:44pm
Bill, you will find that the opinion of which you speak is owned by hundreds of thousands of people who live in the S. W. United states where those kind of hats are worn.  There is a complete culture devoted to the protocol of wearing a stetson.  I don't know about Tino but yes i am somewhat of a fashion expert but anybody in the S. W. United States will tell you that wearing a stetson with a t-shirt makes you look like a duck. 
Comment by Maren Hogan on August 29, 2011 at 5:01pm

Thanks for sharing this Bill. This is so hard for me to wrap my head around (even though i work for a facebook recruiting application--not all we do, but just saying). The reason? I make the oldest marketing mistake in the BOOK, I think that everyone thinks like I do, which is seldom the case. I hate social games, never play them, not interested in them, hide them from my FB stream. However, that is obviously not the case. The story around David and Susan's building of the game (for a very specific recruiting purpose) is mind-blowing and shows just how far I need to go as a marketer. Bill, it's cool that you get to work with teams that have these resources but that many of these strategies will also work for companies with smaller budgets. Can you share the number of folks that worked on this project, time to completion and budget guidelines? I would love to know just for my own calculations :)


Comment by Bill Boorman on August 29, 2011 at 5:49pm

Hi Maren,

Initially one resourcer  ran the response. We have an engagement team of 2  who work on the whole social recruiting, with an attraction target to result in over 1000 hires over the next 12 months. The biggest spend was on the PPC Facebook Campaign, which resulted in a spend of around $900. Now there is an intern who plays the games to keep engaging. The cost grew in line with the results. I think we also spent $120 on pagemodo to build the pages and about $1k on the Work4Labs app. Total spend is $2,200 outside of man hours.

Comment by Bill Boorman on August 29, 2011 at 6:01pm


I'm not offended, just a bit surprised that a seasoned recruiter has nothing better to do than concern themselves with hats. 

The reason for choosing these games are:

a) Who plays what was easy to research in Facebook.

b) The low level games like farmville is the principle internet activity of  the target audience.

c) Facebook ads are low cost. Easy to execute with multiple tailored ads.


I'm not trying to recruit gamers, it's just worked on this occasion because it fitted the audience. Next time it could be crosswords, films, food, music, gardening. Whatever is likely to interest my target candidates and attract them to a fanpage. Some of them will then apply


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