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Six of Our Favourite Recruitment Campaigns of All Time

Top 6 Recruitment Campaigns

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If you’re not involved in the industry, recruitment can be seen as dull — it’s something that needs to be done but it’s not a sexy part of your business.

But after chatting about recruitment marketing, we realised that some of the most creative recruitment campaigns of all time stand up against some of the best advertising campaigns we’ve ever seen.

It makes sense. After all, people are what powers a business. Whether that’s top sales people or shop workers, everyone plays their part in a company and each recruiter campaign puts people at the forefront.

Don’t believe us? Check out our list of the best recruitment campaigns of all time:

1. Your Country Needs You

(We couldn’t do this post without including this iconic campaign…)

The original recruitment marketing campaign. It’s iconic and it’s immediately recognisable as an enduring image of World War 1.

Released in 1914, it was designed to encourage viewers to enlist for the British Army. And boy, it was successful.

Best recruitment campaigns

Immediate Success

Although they didn’t have Google Analytics back then, the month the image was released (Sept 1914) saw the highest number of volunteers enlisting of the whole war.

The pointing hand and the piercing stare have become synonymous with the era, despite it being one of hundreds of posters used at the time. Look at that poster and you’re immediately transported back to WW1 movies and programs.

What’s more, the poster is designed to look like the eyes are following you around, so it appears like the poster is talking directly to you.

That’s perhaps why it has been made synonymous with recruitment, with companies large and small using similar images in campaigns.

An Instant Classic

In addition, it’s become a classic motivating image, emulated in some of the top recruitment campaigns and marketing materials across the world. Just recently, the army used the strategy again in their “Snowflakes – Your Army Needs You” campaign that caused controversy in the media.

Despite the controversy, the Army says it was their most successful marketing campaign in over a decade.

2. Ikea – Flatpack Instructions Recruitment Campaign

From fighting wars to fighting flatpacks, Ikea Australia’s sneaky recruitment marketing campaign was another example of one of the best recruitment campaigns around.

They printed job adverts and put them inside flat pack furniture that customers purchased with the words “assemble your future”. As customers were building their furniture, they found the job advert.

best recruitment campaigns

Ikea figured that people who are buying their furniture like their products already and don’t mind building them — something they think is important for their potential candidates.

An Innovative Recruitment Brand

It cost Ikea nothing to do – simply the cost of printing words on a piece of paper. And despite the fact the recruitment marketing campaign kicked off in 2011, it’s still cited as one of the best recruiting campaigns, even now.

It showed Ikea’s fun side and helped them attract applicants who wanted to work for a company that thinks “outside the box”.

The ad resulted in 4285 applications and 280 hires.

Not bad for something their customers paid to get delivered…

3. Ogilvy – Can You Sell a Red Brick? 

In 2010, Ogilvy invited people who wanted to work for them to “sell them a brick”. Always ahead of their time, the marketing communications giant asked people to upload their video of them selling a red brick to Ogilvy to YouTube. 

It was to be two minutes long and the aim was to attract candidates who would be “the world’s greatest salesperson”.

best recuitment campaigns

Although we’re now used to using video within recruitment, this was very ahead of its time. It helped Ogilvy differentiate between people who could just sell, and people who could sell, be innovative, and stand out from a crowd.

All vital in sales.

Widespread National Attention

While there were plenty of potential candidates who weren’t pleased by the way the competition was run (they believed the rules changed halfway through), they did find an excellent seller. And they got themselves a lot of media attention for their employer brand through the unique hiring process. 

Controversial But Creative Recruitment Campaigns

So despite controversy, many people consider this a great recruitment campaign – it got them coverage and it got them the right candidate. Ogilvy didn’t need to approach candidates to find the right people and they got themselves a ton of PR in the process.

And for an advertising brand, that’s pretty powerful.

Some of the best marketing is contentious. Don’t let standing out from the crowd scare you.

4. Eurowings – Tinder recruitment drive 

Even if you haven’t used Tinder, you probably still know of the concept: swipe right if you like the look of someone, swipe left if you don’t. Almost every single person in the world right now has used Tinder and the concept has been copied across many advertising campaigns worldwide.

So it’s actually surprising that Eurowings were the first company to really utilise Tinder for recruitment – after all, finding a great job is as important as finding a partner for many people.

best recruitment campaigns

Shunning Traditional Tactics

In the Tinder app, Eurowings ran banded profile cards that people could click into. If they swiped right, they got more information on the role and how to apply.

This campaign worked well as it was a familiar platform for many people – while still being something surprising to see in — normally stuffy — job adverts.

Add in the gamification element that isn’t normally seen in recruitment marketing campaigns and it’s no wonder Eurowings considered it so successful.

The Stats

In Austria and Germany, where the recruitment marketing campaign ran, 600,000 people saw the ad and 9.8% clicked through.

It’s definitely an innovative way to attract candidates and catch the eye of job seekers.

5. Legoland – Brick Factor

(Recruitment marketing campaigns do love using bricks!) 

In this job ad which runs in various locations around the world, Lego invite Lego experts to compete in challenges to earn the job of “Master Model Builder” for a full-time position.

best recruitment campaigns

The winning candidates design and create all the displays at various Legolands and act as a Lego spokesman. But only if they battle it out to build masterpieces with other contestants, in an X-Factor style competition. 

A Pool of Potential Candidates

Thousands of people take part in the recruitment campaign and it has gained widespread acclaim, going down as one of the best hiring campaigns by a company of its size. It’s been running for 10+ years and attracts candidates from all over the world.

The competition has helped Lego hire from the US to Melbourne and gets them acres of news coverage every year.

And they didn’t even need a job description.

6. Red 5 Studio’s iPod Messaging

Everyone likes getting something free, right? You might not thank anyone for an ipod now, but back in 2007, iPods were the height of cool.

So, Red 5 Studio’s CEO sent an iPod to some passive candidates, it was a big deal. He didn’t just send them a free gift though.

Getting Personalised

Instead, Mark Kern researched a group of top qualified candidates and dug up information about their past work. He then recorded a personalised message on each iPod referring back to it and talking about why his company was a great place to work.

And had their name engraved on it.

A Successful Recruitment Marketing Campaign

Not only did Red 5 Studios achieve an almost 100% success rate, they managed to get a great hire for the business. Even those who didn’t take up, or get the job left with a great impression of how the brand worked.

This campaign worked so well because it made candidates feel important to the company. They believed that if they joined this business, the CEO and the team would really care about their career. Something successful recruitment campaigns should always be focused on.

Because while candidates can be motivated by money and benefits, they also want to work somewhere that cares about their future. (And gives them gifts…)

Why Are All of These So Great? 

Your Country Needs You is probably one of the first examples of a meme. It sticks with the viewer long afterwards and was obviously a powerful recruitment campaign due to its success.

The fact it has been used time and time again for other campaigns means it deserves its place in the top recruitment campaigns of all time. 

The other examples show the parent company’s employer brand. Each shows a fun side, a personality, and they’re clearly designed to resonate with the type of people they want to employ. 

Attract And Repel

And each one is perfectly targeted to attract the best candidates and detract those who wouldn’t like working at the company.

There’s actually a lot that companies can take from these ads and use in their own campaigns.

Mainly how to appeal to your ideal candidates, and how to discourage the people you don’t want to apply.

(Take Ikea’s. If you’re building flatpack furniture and having a great time, you’re likely to apply. If it’s your idea of hell, you’re likely to throw it in the bin.)

How to put your brand personality forward at the start of the process so candidates know exactly what they’re getting into. And how to use campaigns like these to promote your EVP and attract the right people.

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