You’ve all heard of Willy Wonka. You know him as a chocolate maker, an inventor, a whacky entrepreneur with a particular love for musicality. But do you also know him as a fantastic recruiter? If not, it’s time to change your perceptions.

Let’s look at his innovative recruitment methods.


1. He went to amazing lengths to find the perfect recruits

Wonka didn’t find the Oompa Loompas at a local careers fair or within a CV database. He found his ideal recruits only after he’d sailed the Atlantic Ocean and scoured the isolated Loompa islands. And did he let those unique candidates slip through his fingers? Nope. He battled against Whangdoodles to bring them back with him, creating an employer/candidate match made in heaven in the process.

In the candidate driven market of today, recruiters have to go that extra mile to get top talent. You don’t have to go to Loompaland to recruit, but you do need to think like Wonka and go above and beyond the norm to make great hires.


2. He implemented pioneering, viral recruitment campaigns

Wonka’s golden ticket campaign achieved incredible engagement and popularity across the globe. Not only was it unique, it was also angled perfectly towards his target audience: confectionary lovers. Using his existing products and incurring no extra cost, Wonka launched a recruitment drive that spread like wildfire and won international publicity.

This is the perfect lesson for the recruiters of today. Boring job adverts aren’t going to cut it anymore – you need to think outside the box and get creative in your campaigns if you want to drive engagement. Like Wonka, think about the resources you have and how you can use them imaginatively. You’ll create a buzz around your brand and around the jobs you’re recruiting for.


3. He knew precisely what his recruits wanted

Wonka paid the Oompa Loompas in cocoa beans. He offered a world-exclusive factory visit to golden ticket winners. And to the winning candidate, Charlie, he gave the chocolate factory!

Crucially, Wonka knew what motivators to use and wasn’t concerned about how unusual they were. He understood his people and gave them the incentives and rewards that they most appreciated. Like Wonka, the successful recruiter should work out what it is that their candidate really wants and avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to hiring.


4. He took his candidates on a journey

The golden ticket winners were personally guided through the chocolate factory by Wonka himself. He walked them through each part of the company, immersing them in the all-singing, all-dancing company culture. The candidates were given a unique experience and one that accurately reflected the reality of business operations – both the good and the bad.

In order to save everyone time and disappointment, recruiters need to be transparent about the position and all that it entails.  By doing so, you’ll filter out any candidates that aren’t genuine and build relationships based on trust.


5. He employed instinctively

Charlie Bucket was given the chocolate factory based entirely on culture. It was his passion and sincerity that earned him the prize, not any qualifications or business expertise. When it came down to making that all-important hire, Wonka went with his gut instinct and ended up landing the perfect candidate for the role.

Now, we’re not advising recruiters to hire school-boys for CEO roles, but we are recommending using your instincts in the hiring process. Always think culture first and trust your gut – it’s usually right!


Willy Wonka is a recruitment mogul. Why not take a leaf out of his book and inject some innovation in your recruitment practices?

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