3 guerrilla recruiting tactics that actually worked


guerrilla_sm Persuading employees to leave their current positions to join your team will likely take more than just a LinkedIn message. While traditional recruitment marketing methods work for attracting financial services professionals who are seeking new opportunities, more creative approaches are required to reach and engage the highly qualified candidates who are not actively looking for a different job.

This latter group is commonly referred to as “passive candidates,” but a more accurate description is “career managers” since it more closely reflects their true state of mind. Individuals in this category are not necessarily “passive” so much as they are busy managing their careers.

A company looking to recruit career managers must be bold with their recruiting tactics and show prospective employees why they should make the move. One powerful approach in reaching career managers is through employer brand content, which we’ll cover in an upcoming blog post. Another effective method is guerrilla recruiting.

Guerrilla recruiting is about taking a more creative approach to talent acquisition, outside the traditional methods of job fairs and form emails. While the businesses in the three examples below are not in the financial services or banking industries, they are certainly in as highly competitive sectors. Their successful use of guerrilla recruiting campaigns to attract candidates shows out-of-the-box thinking goes a long way in getting noticed.


BigCommerce (Austin, Texas, USA): “Donut Settle for Less”

The Strategy

Austin, Texas, is one of the most competitive technology hubs in the United States. To help improve the probability of acquiring quality talent, three employees from BigCommerce, an e-commerce software provider, camped out in downtown Austin one Wednesday morning (in true guerrilla form) and handed out free donuts to employees entering the offices of several larger tech companies. Their objective was to draw these employees away from their existing positions and encourage them to apply at BigCommerce, using the tagline, “Donut Settle for Less.”

The Results

Traffic to the company website jumped by 72 percent week-over-week, and job applications increased by 90 percent. During the three-day campaign, recruiters spoke to more than 350 possible new employees.

Atlassian (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia): “Europe, We’re Coming to Steal Your Geeks”

The Strategy

Atlassian, a conglomerate of enterprise software solutions, was having difficulty staffing their Australian office due to the small pool of software developers in the country. So they decided to target developers in Europe and offer an all-expense-paid relocation package. After heavily promoting the event on social media and their website, recruiters used a decked-out city bus to travel around Europe, hosting information sessions and conducting hundreds of interviews over the course of 15 days.

The Results

The campaign attracted more than 1,000 qualified applicants—over five times their normal volume—and successfully filled the 15 programming jobs.


Red 5 Studios (Laguna Hills, California, USA): Personalized iPod Shuffles

The Strategy

Red 5 Studios, a computer gaming company, knew it would have to be more clever in its recruiting since it was competing for the same pool of candidates as much larger companies, like Blizzard Entertainment. The recruiting team started by creating a list of their 100 ideal candidates and then spent weeks performing thorough research on each individual. After that, they designed and sent special iPods to each prospective employee, which included a custom message from Red 5 Studios’ CEO discussing the candidate’s previous work, why the company was interested and personally inviting them to apply.

The Results

Of the 100 iPod Shuffle recipients, 90 responded to the invitation, and three left their current positions to join the Red 5 Studios team.


BigCommerce, Atlassian and Red 5 Studios all understand how guerrilla recruiting campaigns help attract ideal employees who may not have otherwise applied to their company. BigCommerce, in particular, demonstrated how something as small as offering a sweet treat can help boost brand awareness and improve a company’s chances of recruiting quality talent. Since guerrilla marketing is a relatively new strategy, feel free to take some pages from guerrilla marketing for inspiration.


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