Opening doors to RBS: lasting conversations to change perceptions.

23 October 2014

“What’s impressed me most is that the installation allows us to have quality, in-depth conversations with potential candidates. I like the fact that those conversations are carrying on beyond the campus events – the community we’ve created on Google+ means that we can continue to engage with candidates, even before they start the formal recruitment process.” Emily Bryant, Head of Early Career Campus and Marketing at RBS.

On campus events are easy, right? Give students a freebie or two, sign them up and the job’s done.

But when you’re seeking to recruit different types of people – people who would never normally consider working for you – then a free muffin won’t cut it. You need to find a way to involve and educate candidates so that they can walk away feeling differently about you.

So it was with our recent project for RBS. Why would an Arts or Humanities student want to work for a Bank? Banking’s about numbers, not words. And banks are led by men – so why would any woman want a career in Banking?

These questions can’t be answered with a giveaway. And let’s be honest – most graduate recruitment websites are full of corporate messages designed to depict a gender-balanced utopia. If you want the truth, you want to hear it in real time, from real people. People like you.

We helped RBS to open its doors to a new type of candidate with an installation designed to involve. A series of 12 lockers, each opening a door to a different aspect of life at RBS. Candidates could explore at their own pace and RBS recruiters could point them to the locker most relevant to them. Not from a Finance background? In locker #5 you can see how recent RBS joiners with non-finance degrees think their backgrounds have helped them to get on. Looking to meet a senior woman at RBS? In locker #2 you can hear what Alison Rose, CEO of Commercial and Private Banking at RBS has to say about gender.

On average, students spent between 10 and 15 minutes exploring the lockers. This gave recruiters the luxury of time to address apprehensions and to have in-depth, quality conversations.

And these conversations continue today at the RBS ‘Meeting Point’ community on Google+.  The community is owned by recent RBS joiners – they invite people to join, and they post content, start conversations, and run hangouts. The community connects candidates to their potential peers; it’s small (we’re aiming for about 200 people) but it’s working. There is no marketing spin here; the community opens doors to the real RBS.

We’ve learnt that:

1) Candidates are social – they want to have conversations where their questions can be answered by real people who’ve been there and done it.

2) Your people really are your best asset. Give them the freedom to advocate on your behalf, and they will rise to the challenge.

3) If you want to bring quality people into your pipeline, then stop the gimmicks. Find an honest way to share your world with them instead.


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