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Company: Rhinofly
Contact: Frank Meeuwsen, Rhinofly brand director
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Industry: Internet (B2B)
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: 25

Quick read:

When Dutch Internet company Rhinofly needed new designers, project managers, and programmers, the company didn't want to use traditional job boards because in the past they hadn't been effective in attracting qualified candidates. To target the best tech-savvy job candidates, Rhinofly created a video capturing the essence of the company while creatively conveying the job descriptions. The video went viral, bringing in not only top job candidates but also widespread publicity.

The Challenge:

By early last year, Rhinofly was growing quickly and desperately needed new blood to continue. But the last time the company posted a job listing on traditional job boards, most of the resulting resumes were irrelevant to the posted job.

"We'd get tons of resumes and—worse than death—we'd have to answer them all," says Frank Meeuwsen, Rhinofly brand director, adding that 90% of resumes obtained in this manner were unsuitable.

Because he needed Flash designers and programmers, Meeuwsen wanted to target a technically savvy audience, a group that can be very difficult to reach.

The Campaign:

Meeuwsen knew that those types of people tended to make use of the newest technologies. With video one of the hottest trends, he and his team opted to create a video job description rather than a traditional ad.

The brand director also knew that men still dominate the programming world, so he decided to create a tongue-in-cheek video using attractive hired models to show what a "typical" day at the Rhinofly office was like. Every character in the 80-second video was an attractive woman.

"In a normal job posting, you state the facts; you use words to describe what kind of company you are," Meeuwsen says. "The way we promoted ourselves (with video) was very different from what was ever done before. We were the first to use some sort of video in a viral way in the Netherlands."

The team created the ad in-house in one Saturday. Then Meeuwsen took a few steps to distribute it to the correct groups:

  • The video was posted on the company's blog and on YouTube.
  • Rhinofly employees sent emails and MSN messages to friends and colleagues describing the ad video. They also changed their email signatures to include a link to the video.
  • The video was also posted on Meeuwsen's profile page on social-networking site Hyves.nl, a Netherlands version of MySpace. (One of the models who also had a profile on Hyves.nl posted it as well.)
  • Ads on online national job boards linked to the video.
  • Print ads ran in trade journals.
  • Meeuwsen also researched marketing blogs and asked them to link to the video. "We have a couple of really big weblogs here in the Netherlands, but they're not the right platform for our message," he says. Instead, he contacted four or five of the smaller blogs, told them about the video, and asked them to link to it.

The Results:

The site first began seeing traffic a few days after the video went live, but Meeuwsen initially received only 12 applications for jobs.

That's when he decided to place ads on national job boards linking to the video. Traffic to the video began to increase.

Ads in trade journals didn't seem to be effective in generating traffic. By far the best source of traffic to the video, Meeuwsen says, was through links from other weblogs.

"They work if you do it in a sincere and authentic way," he says. "Do your homework, get to the right weblogs and ask nicely."

After the blogs began linking to the video the campaign "blew up," Meeuwsen says. "People started writing about it. The PR value of the whole campaign was way bigger than we could ever have imagined."

The video link ultimately achieved about 8,000 unique visitors and more than 12,500 views since its launch, and traffic continues to build. Rhinofly received plenty of qualified leads and hired top-notch people.

Lessons learned:

  • No matter how unconventional your campaign, be prepared to supplement it with conventional methods to reach your goal. Although Rhinofly created a tech-savvy and appealing video and put it all over the Internet, it needed to use job boards to drive enough traffic to the video to reach recruiting goals.
  • If you are going to be unconventional in your campaign, go all the way. "Be outrageous," advises Meeuwsen. "Put beautiful women in an ad—it works."
  • Invest in a good tracking system. "We didn't have enough time" to get a system in place, says Meeuwsen. "So we don't know exactly how many people just saw the video or just saw the ads, or how they went through the video," he says.

A final note:

Did they have any candidates who thought all those women really worked there? "Yeah, all of them," he says. "We just told them [that the women] are all on vacation."

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