RADS Blog Week Day 1: How Social Media for Recruitment has changed over 3 years

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That’s what we’ve found since 2009, when we used it for an ITV internship. Over that time, the target audience has been identical – people who love TV and who can create innovative TV formats. Each year, there is just 3 weeks to apply for 3 six month placements and the applicants have to apply ‘creatively’ to show their talent, ideas and passion. So, I am TV was born.

Launching in May 2009, the campaign included a mix of campus posters, digital advertising, a microsite and Twitter. Twitter was a trial. It had a slow take up of followers but there were clickthrus to the microsite. And some engagement. Interestingly, conversations were with students around the world more than in the UK. Overall the campaign resulted in 100+ creative applications ‘to show how you are TV’ included everything from a single red stiletto to a life-size cardboard TV man.

In late 2010, the scheme open again for 2011 placements. Social media popularity had obviously grown in the past year (amongst the potential audience) – as had I am TV followers on Twitter – so this time we added Facebook and Vimeo on top of the Twitter presence. Posters were dropped but minimal digital advertising and the microsite (which was the application portal) remained. The creative application involved creating a film/poster and listing for an idea of a new ITV 1 Saturday night format. The social media traffic increased – topics around favourite TV entertainment shows fueled the interest. We created #TVThursday for topical comment. Conversations were still slow on the uptake – but were UK focused – and followers and clickthrus on all platforms increased. A wider audience participated due to more reliance on Social Media than advertising purely aimed at students, as the previous year. Around 80 applications came in  – quality was up and a real development star was found amongst the applicants.

And in recent weeks, we’ve just completed the attraction for the 2012 intake. The use of social media during TV viewing has become ubiquitous – think how many programmes are now hashtagged and trend on Twitter these days? This time all the focus was placed in this media space. No advertising. No microsite. Just Twitter and Facebook. All application details and the form itself  were only on Facebook. (Interesting to note – that we ‘secretly’ kept an application ‘back up’ on the microsite for those who don’t ‘like’ to use Facebook – but no one asked for an alternative way to apply (one for all the doubters who don’t think people will apply through Facebook alone). During this campaign the engagement went through the roof – even though two of the three-week application window was during the festive period. Followers on both platforms grew three-fold.

With Facebook as the key platform, the wall was bulging with postings, comments and update likes. Non-recruitment updates over Christmas/New Year (especially on the ‘eves’ and days themselves) endeared more people to the opportunity. Discussions around Xmas TV drew much interest and kept the candidate experience alive. Two days before application deadline, as part of the strategy, we hosted a Twitter #devchat about working in TV development – over 250 applications were then submitted after that chat in those last days. The quality of submissions has been even higher than previously – as was the quantity of over 400.

There are three insights we’ve had reaffirmed over these three years. Using Social Media for recruitment isn’t an overnight success. Creativity in Social media counts, but to candidates the engagement and experience means so much more. And don’t be afraid to change and adapt – even if it appears to work well, what would happen if…

The 2011 intake campaign is in the RADS 2012 shortlist for the Emerging Talent Campaign (alongside our social recruiting campaigns for ITV Experience and ITV News Trainee) – so fingers crossed for what happens on Thursday night.

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