Culture Branding And Student Hiring

June 12, 2012 7:50 pm Published by Bill Borman

I’ve been following the social hub on the Barclays Future Leaders site quite closely over the last six months while the banking giant has been running their annual intake for the Barclays Future Leaders Development Program. The social hub took features like the Facebook fan page, Twitter feed and YouTube channel, and placed it at the center of the career site. The emphasis was on what it’s like to work at Barclays in the words, video and images of the employees themselves, particularly those of recent recruits to the future leaders program. The other interesting approach was focusing on the Barclays “one brand” approach, which emphasizes less focus on individual divisions or job descriptions and much more on the business and their real values. The results of this approach were different to what we might have predicted.

The first noticeable change was that the site became considerably stickier. The average visitor time moved from 3 to 10 minutes. The most interesting result, however, was that while visitor numbers were considerably higher than the previous year, with 323,000 visitors (a 59% increase) viewing 1.6m pages (an 83% increase), applications were down by 40%. At first glance, this number was alarming. But the success rate of these applications tells a very different story: the final-round conversion rate saw an impressive 19% increase.

Last week I delivered a keynote at the Graduate Employability Conference, #GEC12, organised by Gradcore in Leeds. What struck me throughout all of the presentations and conversations was the divide between how and where current students want to consume content, and how and where employers choose to deliver it. Looking at the Barclays Future Leaders’ example, there is very clearly a hunger in students and recent graduates to connect, engage and understand what an employer is really about, warts and all. When application takes second place to engagement, and job descriptions second place to culture, people are more likely to opt out than opt in, leaving quality, well informed and committed candidates for companies to choose from. Integrating your company’s Facebook page with your culture site means that you can also integrate your application process, which will improve the candidate application experience and create options to connect in fresh ways.

I see campus Facebook pages as great resources for connecting students with employers, and for employers to present, through their own Facebook pages, a genuine impression of company culture which appeals to potential candidates. Work for Us facilitates this kind of connectedness, ensuring that a company’s recruitment message is consistent, targeted, and relatable. It creates on a broader scale the same phenomenon Barclays has experienced through its social hub — less volume, more great hires.

– Bill

This post was written by Bill Borman