When you’re a team of three in-house recruiters competing against Facebook and Google for talent, sometimes you’ve got to try something crazy … like a recruiting campaign that promises interviewees a romantic weekend for two
The VP of People at software company Squarespace – whose aforementioned recruiting-on-wheels for Atlassian even landed him on Spanish national television – wanted more. Indeed, he needed more: just three months after taking his new position in New York City, he’s already tasked with hiring 30 engineers, as well as doubling the company workforce to 400 by the end of the year, including staffing new offices in Dublin and Portland.
It’s a tough job when he’s competing against companies like Facebook and Google. “They have an army of recruiters,” says Luijke, who has just two employees on his technology recruiting team. “We don’t have a huge recruiting team, so you have to think creatively to get your message out there.”
And think creatively he did.
The company launched a campaign called ‘Be a Part of It’, which is equal parts marketing ploy and recruiting strategy.
“When you interview at Squarespace, we’ll invite you and your spouse or partner to be New Yorkers for a weekend—on us,” the website reads. Interviewees and their partners will “dine in style” from the menu of celebrity chef Wylie Dufresne, enjoy an evening at a jazz club, visit The New Museum, and stay at the SoHo Grand. And that’s all before they’re even hired.
Sounds expensive? Think again, says Luijke. Considering that outsourced recruiters cost up to $20,000 per hire, and that the company was already covering flights and accommodation for out-of-state interviewees, the cost is comparably low. And as far as flights go, they’re actually cheaper when they’re spread over the weekend.
Squarespace is encouraging spouses to join the trip because they recognize that it’s not just the applicants that will have to make the decision to move to the big apple: it’s their partners, too. Luijke knows this first-hand, having been recruited from Australia just months ago. “When I was looking for a job, it wasn’t just me making the decision to come to New York; it was my wife as well. We were both excited about it,” he says.
While the campaign doesn’t close until March 15, he has already received more than 800 applications.
So why don’t more companies try this sort of technique? Luijke is perplexed, but suspects that the common tactical approach rather than strategic thinking is causing companies to lose out.
“In many companies recruitment is being thought of as very simplistic,” he says. “(In the HR industry) we don’t really challenge our recruiting teams to think differently about how the message is being spread.”
When the campaign rolls up, the next project for Squarespace will be recruiting for its new offices in Dublin and Portland. And while Luijke said he’s unlikely to repeat this campaign in its entirety, it’s safe to assume he’ll have some equally creative cards up his recruiting sleeve.
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