It was the end of May 2016, when we realized we could not put it off any longer. Everybody took their place, and we started the meeting.
“We have to recruit new drawing artists! I can’t do it by myself any longer! We won’t manage when the new projects come…!” Klaudia said nervously.
Michał and I nodded our heads. The discussion began.
Well, maybe a job offer on the website? Maybe a movie? But how long will it take? Do we even know how to do this? I remember that I must have some materials on recruitment from college… And where will we find candidates? And when will Klaudia do this, as she is so swamped with work now? Remember that in a moment, we are all taking our vacation. And next week there’s a conference!
No one was the first to come out with the topic. We all understood well how tedious and time-consuming that process is. Especially when you’re looking for candidates in the creative business. We were worried we won’t even find enough candidates. But then, we didn’t have any way out.
I sat at my computer and prepared a typical job offer like “What is the company/What would your responsibilities be/What you have to be skilled at/What will you get.” Wasn’t bad. But didn’t convince any of us. If we’re looking in the creative business, we need to be creative with this.
We had some general ideas, but no concrete solution. We ended the meeting by promising each other that we will all deeply think it over and come up with ideas we can use.
In the evening, Klaudia felt a rush of inspiration. She came to the desk, put the camera on, and spontaneously talked about who we need in the company. When I came to the office the next day, I heard the movie is basically ready. Klaudia wanted to edit some additional scenes.
“Wow. I remember the idea of the movie, but I never thought it was gonna be made so fast!”
“You’ll see, it’s really cool.”
I waited for a couple more hours and learned that she was right. I felt it hit the jackpot. I shared it on our Facebook page, and after minutes only, the response was amazing. After 48 hours, we were sure that we’d have no problem finding a good candidate.
Klaudia needed new drawing artists. And soon. We create animations for the business industry, and because of the constantly growing number of projects, we really needed support. It was hard, though, as working for ExplainVisually.co differs quite much from a typical job a drawing artist has. Why?
You have to draw live, which reduces the possibilities for fixing mistakes. The deadlines are often tight, so you need to be able to work under pressure. It’s also important to understand the limits of our “handmade” technique and keep the imagination from running wild if the ideas are not possible for us to make true. To keep it short and sweet, we needed artists that would be reliable and have their feet on the ground, as well as understand the business industry (which, for some, is mutually exclusive, art, and business).
We also knew that our target group is rather “allergic” to excessive “business language,” so over-directed film, classic job offers on Pracuj.pl or LinkedIn were not the way this time.
Considering that our company was still rather intimate, a candidate that wouldn’t suit our personal energy might be doing more harm than good to our overall activity, both in terms of the atmosphere in the office and business operating. Looking for a replacement would take from us other valuable days or weeks… So the stakes were high.
We needed at least three more employees that we could brief in one day or two. So basically right now.
Besides proficiency in drawing, professionalism, being open to new things and experiences, and the ability to perform under pressure, we really wanted the candidates to be creative. It also mattered to us that they would fit into our chamber, homey atmosphere, so we appreciated communicativeness and sense of humour as well.
We divided the recruitment into phases of collecting applications, sending a recruitment task (that demanded several hours of work and a huge dose of creativity), and a phone call.
We created a movie, that informed our future coworkers of:
- our line of work,
- the atmosphere in the company,
- a silhouette on their future boss,
- a visual explanation of the job and the process of producing our movies.
In the very end, we put our e-mail address for the candidates to send applications. It was important to us that they watched the whole movie, as it ensured us that they understood the nature of this, after all, a non-standard job position.
The film looked like this:
So we had the film. Then we just needed to decide on the channels for distributing it.
The first order of business was Facebook. The choice was dictated by how we saw our target group. Artists didn’t really seem to us a LinkedIn type of people. We thought the same about job offers on dedicated websites.
On Facebook, we used three types of channels:
- company’s fanpage (at the time having circa 800 likes),
- private profiles of three team members, who would be involved in working with future new employees,
- groups integrating art students and artists.
The film was shared as a Facebook Video. We knew that Facebook’s strategy tends to promote its own video content while cutting off the reach for YouTube links and such. At the end of the film, we used a clear CTA, call to action (apply via e-mail), and encouraged viewers to share the material.
We have also shared the video on LinkedIn company profile (at that time, we had a crazy number of followers reaching around 30 people) and on our private LinkedIn profiles. We also put the link into our e-mail footers.
After posting the film on the internet, we travelled to Cracow for a marketing conference. When, during a break, I logged into Facebook, I was met with an avalanche of likes, shares, and comments.
Only in 48 hours, we managed to get:
- 10.000 views,
- 100 shares,
- 25.000organic reach (around 80 times more than a standard fanpage post),
- 15% reach in the fanpage likes.
We spent around 80 PLN for promoting the post and gained around 16.000 views on Facebook and 570 on YouTube.
Recruitment movie got many reactions from Facebook users
Much more important for us than Facebook popularity was the number and the quality of candidates that applied. Luckily the movie was successful not only when it comes to the number of views.
Recruitment in numbers:
- In 2 weeks, we got 89 applications (Klaudia suspected that we might get 10 or 15!)
- 43 out of 89 candidates accomplished the recruitment task, which demanded from a couple to over a dozen hours of work (creating a storyboard for those who applied for a storyboard artist position and shooting a movie for those who applied for a drawing artist position).
- Out of those 43 who accomplished the task, 29 was considered for the next step, the phone call interviews.
- After having 29 phone call interviews, each one lasting for about an hour, each one conducted by Klaudia, so the same person they have seen in the recruitment movie, we invited 8 people to the company. We only had the intention to hire a few, but we were so delighted with their artwork, we decided to change our hiring model.
After the deadline passed for sending recruitment tasks, we have also made a film closing the recruitment process for all the candidates, so they could get a personal thank you note from “future boss.” We made it in a similar way. It looked like this:
What’s important for applying candidates, all those who got to the last recruitment phase (so 29 people) got personalized feedback at the end of the process. It cost Klaudia many hours of work, but as people who have expertise in applying for different companies, we really wanted people to know why we did or didn’t choose the ones we did.
After all, our first big recruitment process was a great success.
The level the applicants presented was very high, and we had no problem choosing suitable candidates. We still have a rich database of people we can reach to if we ever needed additional support. One result we didn’t plan for was a visible growth in brand awareness, thanks to all the people who helped us share the movie.
The results really went beyond anything we ever expected.
Comments and conclusions
Since that recruitment process, six months have passed. Almost all the people we hired then are still with us now. In the meantime, one more person joined us. Thanks to the perspective the time got us, we may finally look at it in a cold light.
1. You may get the candidates to know their future supervisor.
It’s said that the person comes to the company, and goes away from the boss. If the supervisor is so essential in the process of choosing the job, it’s well-worth to use it. Getting the candidates to know their future supervisor in the very first moment of the recruitment process may be the bull’s eye.
2. It’s worth it to use visual and video. Not only stock photos.
We live in the era hugely dominated by visual media: memes, comic strips, infographics, videos. Using that media may be a big advantage in making our job offer stand out and be more attractive. Thanks to that, the applicant can feel that we took care of it, so they get to know the job better. You can do it with the help of a film, infographic, or a photo of future team members.
3. Facebook is also full of candidates.
Not many people look for a job on Facebook. But it’s a place filled with different kinds of human interactions, in which our candidates and their friends spend a lot of time. Some of them, seeing a job offer that suits their friend, tag that friend, thus increasing the chance of the candidate reaching the company. We just have to remember that the job offer should fit the character of the site.
Of course, the solution we described will not be ideal in every given case.
You can’t always make a movie. Not always future supervisor is willing to go in front of a camera. And not every candidate will like that form of communication. Job offers on Facebook may pall as well.
But it’s really worth it to experiment. With shooting a movie. Completing the announcement with an infographic or a photograph. Asking the manager to write a short letter for the candidates and tell in their own words who they are really looking for.
There’s plenty of options, and we sure hope that our HR Case Study encourages you to search for more.