Vodafone: Overcoming a Powerful Consumer Brand in Graduate Recruitment

Vodafone: Overcoming a Powerful Consumer Brand in Graduate Recruitment

To overcome misperceptions about their mission, Vodafone engaged PeopleScout for employer branding and a recruitment marketing campaign to support its early careers recruitment program.

16,000 Applications Received, Beating our Target by 60%
23 % Increase in the Numbers of Female Candidates
27 Places Jumped on the Times Top 100 Rankings

Counterintuitive as it sounds, strong consumer brands can hinder recruitment. Applicants can get an idea of what to expect that doesn’t match the reality of the careers experience being offered. This was the case with Vodafone. For consumers, the organization is a high-profile mobile phone retailer. But, behind that perception sits a multifaceted tech innovator with a mission to make the future world a better place.

In order to achieve this, Vodafone turned to PeopleScout to help it become a youth employer of choice, because changing the future meant gaining the buy-in of those who would be influential within it for years to come.

RESEARCH

As part of our research phase, we took a deep dive into Vodafone’s future jobs strategy. The client wanted to overcome high levels of youth unemployment by providing up to 100,000 young people with a digital workplace experience at Vodafone. Plus, given that one-in-five young people say they feel under-prepared for the digital economy, the business set another ambitious goal to support 10 million young people with access to digital skills, learning and employment opportunities.

So, how could Vodafone attract Millennials, Gen Z and beyond? These generations are big achievers whose ambitions soar higher than working in mobile phone retail. We needed an attraction strategy and recruitment marketing campaign that changed their audience’s perceptions about Vodafone and all the different kinds of careers—and impacts—they could make there.

THE BRIEF

Vodafone asked us to create a campaign that would spark conversations and stand out as part of their instantly recognizable brand. They needed to generate 10,000 applications to fill 150 graduate roles and 100 intern/industrial student placements across the business. Plus, the overarching goal was to change misperceptions of Vodafone, showing it as a major tech company, not a retailer, and build its reputation as a youth employer of choice. Importantly, we were asked to reach a more diverse audience and increase female applications.

AUDIENCE INSIGHTS

Of our target audience, 90.4% regularly used social media. On top of this, 91% of all social media users access channels via mobile. So, we developed a mobile-first, social media friendly campaign. Further research revealed that many students with the right background and personal qualifications were put off from applying due to a lack of confidence. So, we needed a message that was bold, relatable and empowering.

Just as important as the audience insights were the strategic considerations. Candidates are also customers. When buying products, they expect a streamlined, user-friendly, friction-free process, and they had the same expectation when making career decisions. So, we made every touchpoint (especially the application) as slick and easy as possible.

No contemporary attraction approach can be just about advertising. Long-term connections are far more powerful. So, central to our strategy was to set Vodafone up to engage in conversations and initiatives with high-potential university students throughout their full university lifecycle. In short, the strategy was to start on day one, not year three.

THE CORE MESSAGE

Our message, #GenerationPossible, aimed to capture the spirit of change and possibility and draw on the opportunity young people have to make an impact on the world for the better. Our visual approach used photography that reflected our target audience combined with bold headline statements.

Social media and career site content featured current grads and interns sharing their advice for the next generation of Vodafone employees, with a #GenerationPossible video at the heart of this campaign. Our six-month social media strategy for mobile consisted of 104 social posts with 20 mini-videos/GIFs. We posted, tracked and analyzed this content on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Get to Know Us Videos

Our research had identified that our target audience felt like they weren’t good enough or lacked the skills to take on these roles. So, we created a series of videos featuring current Vodafone graduate recruits and interns. Filmed in and around Vodafone’s main campus, these videos gave real-life insights into what they could expect when it came to work, wellbeing, social responsibility, innovation, the assessment center and the interview process.

Campus Events

Away from social media, we built a series of 41 on-campus events to connect students directly with Vodafone employees. We carefully chose our campuses based on those with the highest female-to-male ratios for tech degrees, as a way to help us drive up female applications.

THE RESULTS

The campaign comfortably exceeded Vodafone’s expectations.

  • We generated over 16,000 applications – beating our target by 60%.
  • We increased the number of female candidates by 23%.
  • We increased Instagram impressions by 89.3% (post-campaign vs. pre-campaign).
  • We saw 1.5 million Facebook impressions.
  • We gained 6.8 million impressions on organic posts on LinkedIn.
  • We created a hyper-targeted paid Facebook campaign which produced 390,510 impressions and 2,541 clicks – all from the target audience.

These numbers are backed up by audience sentiment. We improved Vodafone’s reputation as an employer significantly, jumping 27 places in the Times Top 100 rankings. As a result of its success, Vodafone asked us to develop the concept for their apprentice campaign audience and roll it out through a new assessment process design.

AT A GLANCE

  • COMPANY: Vodafone
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Talent Advisory
  • About Vodafone: Vodafone is a a British multinational telecommunications company. They provide connectivity and digital services for over 300 million people to work, learn, stay in touch with friends and family, access healthcare and more.
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