Part of recruiting Gen Y means developing a solid employer branding strategy that is both unique and memorable.

Paul Peterson took the stage at the 2013 TalentEgg Campus Recruitment Excellence Awards and Conference and delivered a presentation that demonstrated just how effective a strong branding strategy can be.

Paul is the Senior Manager of National Talent Resourcing at Grant Thornton LLP, and his presentation stood out in part by offering some unexpected advice, including:

“Don’t eat yellow snow.”

“Never wear socks with sandals.”

Standing out was exactly what Paul wanted to do when it came to recruiting Gen Y’s top talent for the Accounting industry.

Here is a recap of his presentation and some of the steps to success that Grant Thornton took to attract great Gen Y talent:

1. Break potential applicants down into different groups depending on what kind of employment they are searching for:

For Grant Thornton, this meant splitting their website into a student hire side and an experienced hire side. To keep their online presence as simple and integrated as possible, they were sure to include these three things on their website:

  • Who Grant Thornton is as a company
  • What they offer to potential employees
  • What they were looking for in potential employees

2. Decide on a theme that will speak to the people your company wants to hire:

Grant Thornton decided on the theme of  “advice” and worked on engaging applicants and current employees within this theme (more on that later).

3. Develop messaging tactics:

Grant Thornton’s strategy deployed the same humourous spirit that Paul brought to his presentation.

Paul emphasized that humour was a great way to be bold and get noticed, and the humour in the messaging tactics also made it easier to see which applicants fit — those who couldn’t see the humour might not be the best fit for the company.

4. Make booths at career events more interactive:

Grant Thornton decided that part of their strategy would involve encouraging visitor engagement at their career events booths by using interactivity.

How do you engage potential applicants without giving them something? Get them to do something!

Visitors to Grant Thornton’s booth were asked for their best pieces of advice. This interaction further engaged students and had the added benefit of showing the company which candidates were comfortable with giving advice, which is a large part of an accountant’s job.

5. Get current employees involved:

When it came to developing ads for the campaign, actual employees of Grant Thornton were used and were allowed to suggest their own advice. Every individual featured in the campaign was given his or her own banner.

6. Include a multimedia approach:

A video was developed for each brand theme which served to authenticate the theme by exploring it in further detail.

Grant Thornton’s bold approach certainly paid off. A judging panel of over 200 top students nominated them for four awards at the 2013 TalentEgg National Campus Recruitment Excellence Awards, including Best Campus Career Website, Best Campus Recruitment Brochure and Best On-Campus Campaign — and named them the winner of the Campus Recruiting Program of the Year category.

What tips do you have for strengthening your employer branding? Let us know in the comments below!