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Uncovered: The most creative ways to embrace the recruitment process

With the UK suffering from labour and skills shortages, the onus is on companies to get creative in terms of hiring – even if it means only changing a small element of the recruitment process.
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Candidates are no longer responding to traditional tactics. Because of this, businesses have had to embrace some “out-of-the-box” thinking in terms of the recruitment process. It doesn’t mean tried-and-true methods should be thrown out the window, but know there are numerous benefits to be had from getting “quirky”.

Namely, you remove their tension, increase their want to work for you and, straight off the bat, garner yourself some word of mouth marketing when they return home – if they can stay off their phones for that long. Even if that one candidate doesn’t end up working for you, their discussions with others may prompt them to take the initiative and approach you.

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Hidden job descriptions are a brilliant example. More often than not, such methods tend to be cost effective – and the creativity behind it will ensure candidates flock in. Ikea Australia did exactly that, hiding job descriptions in the form of career instructions – much like its famous DIY brochures – inside furniture. The stunt resulted in 4,285 applications and 280 hires.

Danish agency Uncle Grey famously jumped on board the guerrilla recruitment bandwagon. It attempted to hire a front-end developer by setting up sponsorship deals with players of shooter game Team Fortress 2. These players would then place ads inside the game. Over 50 applications were received in the first week.

But if you can’t change your recruitment process in a massive way, then there are small tweaks that will make the day and process unforgettable. It also doesn’t have to be at the attention-grabbing marketing stage. After canvassing the corporate landscape, an overwhelming amount of bosses told Real Business about sprucing up interviews.

The latest trend is to include tricky questions. For example, Next has asked candidates about childhood memories, British Airways canvassed for opinion about its CEO and Tesla is known to quiz people on coping methods for repetition. This, according to James Reed, chairman of REED, is largely thanks to Google.

“The tech giant popularised the idea of asking candidates to solve questions, but it’s not for the fun of it. When it comes to brainteasers, interviewers are attempting to unearth an ability to attack the question. Asking how many golf balls fit inside a jumbo jet isn’t about finding the aerospace engineer and a measurement-obsessed golfer among them.

“Creativity questions also come in many guises, from ‘What superhero would you be?’ to ‘What type of biscuit are you?'”

In fact, the mentioned biscuit question is a favourite of Julie Mott, associate director at Howett ThorpeHer piece of advice: don’t be afraid to veer off course – far away from the generic questions candidates will have looked up online and prepped all night for. It will definitely make them remember you – even if your recruitment process wasn’t wildly wacky.

“Ask random and irrelevant questions,” Mott said. “These questions can be as bizarre as the following: ‘If you could be an animal what would you be?’ and even ‘What colour would you be?’ You’ll start to get a feel for who they are and whether they’ll mesh well with the rest of the team.”

Find out more tweaks bosses have made to the recruitment process on the next page, including not being confined to the office.

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About Author

Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is a senior reporter at Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

Real Business