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Thales is the best innovator for recruitment

More than 900 HR professionals attended Personnel Today's awards ceremony in the glamorous surroundings of the Great Room in the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane. The audience was entertained by National Lottery host Gaby Roslin and star of BBC series Asian Provocateur, comedian Romesh Ranganathan.

Progressive employer, Thales UK, won the prestigious Innovation in Recruitment Award - well deserved recognition for this exceptional employer.

For 40 years, Thales UK has played a major part in Thales Group’s global vision. It researches, develops, manufactures and supplies technology and services to the UK’s aerospace, defence, security and transportation sectors.

The challenge

Thales needed to engage students earlier in their careers, and increase awareness of STEM subjects. It realised that getting females interested and engaged in STEM subject careers before year 11 would help counteract the imbalance currently evident in the industry. There was also an issue with people who had accepted an offer to join an apprenticeship scheme and, with a long lead time between acceptance and start date, some students were accepting multiple offers before deciding at a later date.

What Thales did

Thales developed an interactive video that highlighted everyday skills that apprentices need - such as attention to detail and knowledge of technology. They invited the audience to solve a series of puzzles, and take part in an interactive game, where they finally made their way to the airport for an all expenses paid trip abroad. They used The Student Room to deepen the level of engagement with the audience, knowing that they were using the forum to converse with each other and seek advice. They also used the opportunity to pique interest and drive students to Thales’ other channels, such as SnapChat, to connect with existing apprentices and undertake some of the puzzles and fun content we had created.

Thales analysed SnapChat’s unique purpose and curated appropriate content. To drive people to it, Thales developed a cross-platform strategy that pushed the audience from Facebook to SnapChat. They also urned to WhatsApp to give students a more personal way to get in touch, leading to an improved candidate experience and stakeholder satisfaction. Thanles developed a “keep warm” goodie box that made new starters feel like part of a club - Generation T. The box also contained a mini engineering-related challenge that provided a conversation starter among their cohort and Thales colleagues on a closed Facebook group.

Benefits and achievements

Their banners have received 939 clicks and The Student Room users found the game so engaging that they started their own forum thread to promote it - resulting in 317 organic views with no paid promotion. Facebook impressions were 514,423 and resulted in a click-through rate of 0.97% (the industry average is just 0.02%) with a 61% female bias. For brainteasers that required a drawn answer, 28% of viewers were creating screen grabs to solve the puzzle.

Apprenticeship requests from the business have doubled - there has been a 78% increase in applications so far, with the quality being far higher. Candidates are being screened at assessment centres, with an average hire ratio of one in two (as opposed to one in four in 2014). There is also an increased appetite to engage in early years awareness programmes - covering a STEM schools outreach programme that includes presentations, booklets and games.

Judges’ comments

The award judges commented that there were some "brave aspects to engagement and it was a good recognition of double challenge.”

Find out more about joining Thales - a top employer, and clearly a top recruiter of women!
 

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