The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a 16-year low in May. Great news, right? Well, for the country in general, yes. But for employers? Not so much.
Why? Well, right about 2010-2011 (around the time things began looking up for the American economy), the idea of the “war for top talent” started picking up speed. Companies were bouncing back from the recession and needed to fill open positions. Fast.
It was a major paradigm shift from how the job market had been for the previous few years. And it meant that jobseekers, not employers, were now in control. It also meant companies had to step up their recruitment game. Waiting for job candidates to find them no longer was an option.
In today’s employment landscape, persuading someone to leave his or her current role to join your team takes more than just a LinkedIn message. You’re fighting an uphill battle since, presumably, these individuals are happy where they are. You must be bold and prove to them it’s worth their while to leave a job where they’re comfortable to come work for you.
One powerful way to accomplish this is guerrilla recruiting.
Guerrilla recruiting is about taking a more creative approach to talent acquisition. It’s about using unique tactics that make your company stand out from your competitors and show job candidates you can offer them a better position than their current one.
Here are three examples of companies that used guerilla recruiting campaigns and showed how being clever goes a long way in getting noticed.
1. Atlassian (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia): “Europe, We’re Coming to Steal Your Geeks”
Atlassian, a conglomerate of enterprise software solutions, was having difficulty staffing their Australian office due to the small pool of software developers in the country. So they decided to target developers elsewhere—specifically, London, Madrid, Berlin and Amsterdam—and offer them a sweet, all-expenses-paid relocation package.
After heavily promoting the recruitment roadshow on social media and their website, a group of employees from Atlassian’s engineering team headed to each location in a decked-out bus. They spent three days in each place, hosting information sessions and conducting hundreds of interviews over the course of 15 days.
The campaign attracted more than 1,000 qualified applicants—over five times their normal volume—and successfully filled the 15 programming jobs.
2. Scholz & Friends (Hamburg, Germany): “Digital Pizza”
With the help of a local delivery service, German advertising agency Scholz & Friends included a special “digital pizza” with every order placed by employees of other large creative agencies. The toppings on the pizza were arranged in the shape of a QR code that, when scanned, took the employee straight to a recruiting landing page. This tactic ensured Scholz & Friends would reach their exact target audience.
During the four-week campaign, the agency received applications from 12 highly qualified candidates and acquired enough employees for two new teams for its digital unit.
3.Red 5 Studios (Laguna Hills, California, USA): Personalized iPod Shuffles
When Red 5 Studios, a computer gaming company, decided it was time to grow the organization, managers knew it wasn’t going to be easy since they were competing for the same pool of candidates as much larger companies like Blizzard Entertainment.
Rather than reaching out to any and every programmer they could, the recruiting team decided to focus on connecting with their top 100 ideal candidates and send each one a unique invitation. After spending weeks thoroughly researching each individual, the company designed and sent special iPods to each prospective employee. The iPods included a custom message from Red 5 Studios’ CEO discussing the candidate’s previous work, why the company was interested and personally inviting them to apply.
Of the 100 iPod Shuffle recipients, 90 responded to the invitation, and three left their current positions to join the Red 5 Studios team.
Atlassian, Scholz & Friends and Red 5 Studios all understood how guerrilla recruiting campaigns can help attract high-quality employees who may not have otherwise applied to their company. Most importantly, the businesses recognized that their guerrilla recruiting campaigns would show job candidates that the company cares about an applicant’s interactions with the organization, even before that individual is an actual employee.
The companies knew that by putting this much effort into the candidate experience, it would prove what lengths they were willing to go to provide a great employee experience once the candidate was hired. Finally, their use of technology in recruiting campaigns demonstrated the company’s dedication to innovation—both inside and outside the workplace.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.