creative job campaign creative job campaign In an effort to attract top talent, companies all around the world are getting creative in how they place themselves in front of prospective hires. (Photo: EDHAR /Shutterstock)

5 crafty ways employers recruit you

From hidden web games to secret phones, here are some fun and sneaky ways companies have attracted top talent.

For companies all around the world, recruiting top talent is a constant challenge in fields crowded with competition and opportunities. To stand out above the rest, it's often necessary to go beyond the classifieds and recruit in creative ways. Below are some examples of companies going the extra mile to attract potential employees – all while having a bit of fun in the process.

1. Google's Secret Coding Game

Google web programming challengeA screenshot by Quartz's David Yanofsky of the challenge he was invited to play after typing in some specific keywords into Google. (Photo: David Yanofsky/Quartz)

If you're a programmer who often uses Google to look up puzzling coding terms or solutions to vexing development issues, you may find yourself inadvertently typing your way into a job at Google. The Mountain View, California-based search giant has created a clever recruitment campaign that targets specific search keywords based on the kinds of new hires they're seeking. If triggered, a small black bar appears above the search results with a message from Google saying, "You're speaking our language," and an offer to play an online challenge. Successfully complete six questions, and you're invited to submit your information to a recruiter.

According to Quartz, Google's response to their story on its clever recruitment campaign was presented in unicode. When deciphered, it reads: “Puzzles are fun. Search on.”

2. Zooz's Klingon Challenge

klingon tech firmKnow a little Klingon and have a passion for programming? That unique combo could land you a job with the tech firm Zooz. (Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

In an effort to stand out in Israel's booming startup environment, tech company Zooz recently advertised for its more than 100 open positions in Klingon. The fictional language, made popular by the "Star Trek" franchise, is considered one of the more difficult tongues to master. The idea was that if people can read Klingon, they'll likely have no problem grasping the Tel Aviv startup's complex coding language.

Like Google, Zooz's Klingon ads took prospective hires to a website where they were asked a series of programming questions. Answer the quiz correctly, and you would not only potentially score a job interview, but also a free T-shirt with your name in Klingon. The hiring campaign has since ended, but something tells us a resume translated into Klingon might still capture their attention.

3. Jung von Matt's Lorem Ipsum Ruse

To understand the cleverness behind this recruitment campaign, it's first important to know the importance of "Lorem Ipsum." Basically, it's placeholder text used by graphic designers all around the world to visually demonstrate a layout. One of the main websites that designers depend on to generate this text is For a short time in early 2012, German ad agency Jung von Matt arranged with Lipsum to place a hidden message within the text copied by visitors advertising its need for an art director.

When designers pasted the text into their layouts, text appeared asking them "if their layouts deserved better than Lorem Ipsum" and encouraging them to join "the best copywriters" at the firm. According to the firm, the ad reached more than 200,000 people in one week.

4. 180LA's Cannes Film Festival Trojan Horse

Every year, Cannes Lions throws the world's largest annual awards show and festival for the creative communications industry. As one would expect, those chosen to judge entries are among the most qualified professionals in their fields. If you're looking to hire a new Creative Director (CD), it's truly one of the best places to look. But how to catch the judges' attention?

Ad agency 180LA, with offices in Amsterdam and Los Angeles, decided to use a trojan horse. They submitted a recruitment video earlier this summer into four Cannes competitions that they knew would be screened by the judges they were looking to attract. They even called out the judges by name to add a personal touch. At the end, if the judges weren't interested in switching firms, they were encouraged to "pass this idea to the shortlist and help change the life of another CD."

We're not sure if they managed to convince anyone to apply, but it's a clever use of subterfuge to make sure you're catching the attention of the right people.

5. FP7's Hidden Poaching Phone

Similar to 180LA's clandestine video screening, ad agency FP7 in Dubai decided to infiltrate the firms of its competitors with a secret phone hidden inside faux ad industry books. Both the book and phone were customized to the particular professional FP7 was trying to attract; with only one number – FP7's creative director – programmed into the contacts. The idea was that if FP7 was willing to invest this much in attracting their attention, imagine the possibilities of what they could do together.

According to AdWeek, the stunt ended up being successful, with the firm hiring four key staffers and saving money on headhunting fees.


Photos and SlideshowsPhotos and Slideshows

Related Topics: Lists

5 crafty ways employers recruit you
From hidden web games to secret phones, here are some fun and sneaky ways companies have attracted top talent.