Funny, Quirky, Successful - Case Studies in Employer Branding

Originally posted on the SmashFly Intern Blog.

Last week I discussed the costly absence of personality and style in the recruitment marketing process. In my post I suggested some general solutions to improve the ways recruiters portray the company culture and work environment through their job posts. The topic of candidate engagement continued to intrigue me, and I felt the need to follow up by providing some real-world context to my suggestions. Although the examples I'm presenting don't only pertain to job ads and descriptions, they more generally utilize great yet simple candidate engagement and employer branding strategies. So let's take a brief look at the efforts of two different companies: SCVNGR and EMC.

SCVNGR is a Google Ventures backed mobile gaming startup company with the goal of creating a game layer "on top of the world." The intense, quirky energy of Seth Priebatsch, creator and self-titled Chief Ninja of SCVNGR, clearly shines through in every aspect of the company - creating a great, fun, yet consistent employer brand. If I were a candidate interested in working for SCVNGR, I would certainly check out their site and about pages. Click on the 'Rockstars' tab, and you will quickly learn that rockstars are employees whose hilarious and unconventional bios fill the page. Job titles range from names like Chief Rockstar to Professional American. The word 'awesome' is pervasive throughout their website, twitter posts, and job ads - usually in reference to the qualities they look for in a candidate like, "We're hiring people who will drive up our average level of awesome." Their job posts for Cambridge, MA based positions usually refer to the fact that they have bamboo hallways that they ride scooters through to get from office to office. Most importantly, their job posts also focus on their expectations of attitude, energy level, and motivation rather than just your typical experience requirements. They stress the uniqueness of their positions and overall mission, while explaining the progress the company has made - instilling a sense of excitement about the future.

So why is this so great? In my opinion, this approach to candidate engagement is vastly better at creating not only interest but lasting interest. If I put myself in the mind of a candidate, I actually had a good time looking at the positions for this company, and I most likely will never forget about SCVNGR. Most job ads are extremely forgettable, which in my view is just bad marketing, but the 'Rockstar' approach has a much higher potential of creating a lasting, engaged talent network. Of course, not every company has the same culture as SCVNGR or the allure of a young up-and-coming startup, but recruiters and companies need to understand that all candidates have a sense of humor and are most likely sociable people. Some people have argued that professional candidates know how to see past silly words and office gimmicks, which don't offer any true value. I strongly disagree with this perspective. Like I stated last week, candidates are concerned with how happy they will be in their new work environment, considering it is where they will be spending a significant chunk of their lives. The added personality in employer branding is often telling of what employees experience themselves, and only happy employees are enthusiastic and willing enough to help out with these efforts. This topic brings us to our next company.

EMC, the well known Fortune 500 information infrastructure company, knows precisely how to create the impression that its employees are not only talented but happy. I have stated previously that recruiters should implement various types media, especially videos that involves employees. On a YouTube page, EMC features their employes in songs, raps, and product advertisements which all help to enhance their employer brand. Check out this particularly well done video:

So hats off to the SCVNGR and EMC employer branding methods, which I deem successful. I realize that success in this sense has no relation to actual measurements or metrics from the ATS or job ads, especially since I have no way of accessing this data. However, I still stand by the idea that these methods add an entirely new element to the candidate's perception of the company, in turn creating more interested and appropriate candidates.

About the Author: Tim is a Online Marketing Intern for SmashFly Technologies. SmashFly is the provider of the first recruitment marketing platform called WildFire that enables companies and staffing firms to easily distribute and more importantly measure the performance of their recruiting efforts online.

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Comment by Kelli Dienhoff on October 6, 2010 at 2:59pm


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