5 Companies That Used Content Marketing in Crazy Ways to Recruit Employees

Great content comes from great employees. Sometimes, however, it seems like the all-important recruitment process for finding those employees has reached a stale low point. Job interviews are intimidating and, quite honestly, boring. Candidates are asked the same set of ineffective questions over and over. After all, who is being totally honest when they’re asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Thankfully, some innovative companies are taking this model and throwing it in the trash. And as a result, they’re scoring top talent.

Here are five of the most interesting stories about hiring the new guy or gal.

1. What Happens in Vegas… Will Determine Whether You Get This Job

Choosing a new art director is a big decision. So ad agency TDA_Boulder went big with their interview process. After some preliminary Skype calls, the company’s executives decided to get to know their options personally… in an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas.

From the interview invitation alone, it’s pretty clear that the potential art directors had a lot to live up to. Forget all those Inc. listicles about how to prep for an interview. The Hangover was the ideal prep material for this job interview.

According to the agency’s application, “Airfare, food, lodging, golf and/or spa included. Work not included. Hanging included. Bail not included.” Looks like these guys are down to have a good time—and possibly commit some petty crimes? Hey, whatever gets those creative juices flowing.

2. An enormous surprise party

Elliot Nordstrom showed up for his first day at the McGarrah Jessee agency like the rest of us would—he just wanted to fit in. But that was not going to happen. Why? He was the company’s 100th employee, and everyone wanted to celebrate the milestone in style. So instead of some new company pens, Nordstrom got this.

I’m pretty sure that after an epic voiceover, a fleet of toy cars, and a volley of beach balls, there weren’t any problems remembering the new guy’s name. As an added bonus, any potential hires who watch this video will remember McGarrah Jessee as a fun, innovative company that doesn’t take itself too seriously. That’s recruiting gold—as long as you’re not trying to hire an introvert who would find this experience positively cringe-worthy.

3. 15 seconds of fame

Recruiter Amy Rees Anderson knows people love movies, so she decided to move her company’s ads to the silver screen. In the 15-second spots, her employees showed off their weirdest talents.

The ads were entertaining and, more importantly, did not disclose what Anderson’s recruitment company did. As a result, theatergoers took out their phones and Googled them. Voila! A whole new group of people saw the job postings who never would have otherwise. Plus, the company’s employees got to have their 15 seconds of fame.

“The employees loved being a part of something that was creating so much buzz in the community,” Anderson wrote in a contributor post for Forbes. “The payoff that came from using inexpensive, unique recruiting ideas was nothing short of fabulous.”

4. Dinner and a show

This one is an example of how trying to get too creative with your recruitment process can blow up in your face. Operation Smile, a nonprofit that repairs facial deformities, had the final 20 candidates for one of their entry-level positions complete far more than an application. After two phone interviews, the applicants were told that they had one final mission.

First, all of the potential employees went through five more interviews in a single day. But they weren’t finished. After that, they were expected to shop for, cook, and serve a multi-course meal for 40 people with a budget of $350 and a list of the guest’s dietary restrictions. The party was set to happen at the home of Operation Smile’s CEO… only candidates weren’t even told his address in advance!

To boot, the starting salary of the position in question was only $25,000 a year. Operation Smile called the job selection process “unconventional.” I’m going to go ahead and call it crazy.

While a PR rep from the company said that they simply have a “dynamic interview screening process,” I feel like there might be a better way to judge a candidate than by how many gluten-free vegan tarts they can whip up in an hour, but points for thinking outside the box and getting a ton of attention for a $25,000 a year gig.

5. Have an open house

At first, it might seem crazy to have an open house for an employee search—after all, you’re opening your doors to hundreds of candidates. But in reality, this kind of recruitment instantly reveals which potential employees are more committed to the job.

For example, the company I Love Rewards once had 1,200 applicants for a single position. Rather than go through the details of every applicant, the CEO made the decision to invite them all to an open house. Only 400 even made the effort to show up.

In order to deal with the remaining candidates, the company assembled a business version of speed dating. The best applicants were sent to group interviews, followed by a more intensive one-on-one. As a result, the hiring committee cleverly saw how applicants interacted in different settings.

Not enough recruiting for you? Check out “The 13 Weirdest Interview Questions” over at Mashable. Spoiler: One of them is “If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?”


Get better at your job right now.

Read our monthly newsletter to master content marketing. It’s made for marketers, creators, and everyone in between.

Trending stories