Cognatio Blog

Sam Friskey
Sam Friskey



After the success of Apple’s hidden job advert last month we’ve looked at some of the most creative technology recruitment campaigns over the past few years. According to the British Chambers of Commerce three in four UK businesses have reported a digital skill shortage in 2017. Therefore, in an industry which is led by top talent it’s more important for companies to use creative campaigns to increase brand awareness and target new/passive candidates.  


Last month Apple used a hidden webpage to write a job description in code on their website. The job advert was for a technical engineer, however, hit the headlines when it was found by a journalist who was analysing information sent from iPhone apps to advertisers. When it was found Apple removed (or re-located the advert to another page) without saying how many applications they received. This is not the first time tech companies have used codes and cryptic challenges as part of their recruitment campaigns and even if no successful hires came from the advert, it was great PR for Apple.  


In 2011 GCHQ launched a code cracking website. This was one of the first job adverts created from code and was designed to attract both college/university graduates alongside self-taught coders. Anyone able to crack the code was offered an interview without GCHQ needing to screen CV’s or online applications, therefore saving time and resource internally. For many government organisations it can be hard to compete with private sector companies which typically offer higher salaries. This campaign helped GCHQ increase brand awareness and made candidates associate careers in technology with the organisation. 


Google’s code jam is an international programming competition which has been running annually since 2003. This is not a typical recruitment campaign however, gives Google access to some of the most highly skilled individuals in the industry. Applicants complete different tasks to progress through to the final for the chance to win a cash prize. Some participants are offered interviews or a job with Google depending on how far they get in the competition. Whilst Google founded and run this event, other tech companies sponsor similar events, which helps increase brand awareness and target new/passive candidates. 


To find new interns MasterCard ran a social media campaign where they asked students to submit an idea for a product, system, app or technique that can help consumers go cashless. Applicants had to submit their idea via social media using #internswanted. This helped MasterCard target new candidates, increase their social media followers and help them generate new ideas without having to pay new staff or use a market research company. Some of the suggestions were implemented as part of their ‘going cashless’ strategy and they successfully hired multiple new interns. 

Particularly in the technology industry many companies are using creative campaigns to target new candidates. Not only can these campaigns increase brand awareness they can attract passive jobseekers who are typically hard to reach. Most of these campaigns are very simple an inexpensive therefore making them accessible to all companies. Plus, by candidates having to crack codes to secure an interview it eliminates pre-testing and saves time and money internally by reducing CV and online application reviews. As the search for top talent is becoming even more competitive companies need to be more creative. If you would like to discuss more about how Cognatio Solutions can impact your businesses hiring plans or if you are a candidate looking to explore new opportunities please get in touch.And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to hear regular industry news and find out about the projects we’re working on.