Animal Hospital Testing Facebook Contest for Recruits

I’ve mentioned before that recruiting departments are testing the use of games and contests on Facebook as an alternative to their career sites. Here’s another example: a big animal-hospital chain, VCA, is running contests on Facebook to diagnose animal ailments, hoping to generate traffic to its Facebook careers page and build up its database of job candidates.

This latest contest ends Friday, May 20, and involves a coughing, 7-year-old, miniature poodle.
You’re given some info on the poodle’s condition, and are asked to give a diagnosis. Five of the people who enter will be chosen to win a book called “Cherished: 21 Writers on Animals They Have Loved and Lost.” The preface to that book was by Dr. Robert Goldman, who works for a VCA hospital.

VCA has run a contest like this before, a couple of months ago. In case you’re curious, that one involved “vomiting and small bowel diarrhea on and off for the last three months … the pet developed acute lethargy and collapse associated with a recrudescence of vomiting.”

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It got 116 submissions from vet students. So far this time, there are 41 entrants, but the contest question is tougher. Perhaps “a little too hard,” says Janine Schaedler, the director of recruiting and professional relations. So far, the contests, she says, are being used to drive interest in VCA’s Facebook careers pages. VCA is capturing people’s contact information, of course, but hasn’t yet marketed careers to them.

Partly, that’s because thus far this has been a test. Come this fall, with the new school year, Schaedler says she’d like to run the contests either monthly or every other month. And, she’s hoping to run contests between schools, for them to compete against each other and when prizes. Eventually, she says, she’ll ask contest-entrants who’ve entered their contact information in VCA’s database if they’d like to receive information about jobs and careers in the veterinary field.

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7 Comments on “Animal Hospital Testing Facebook Contest for Recruits

  1. Thanks, Todd. Maybe I’m missing something here, but if someone is actively looking to be hired (or to hire someone), WHO HAS TIME TO FOOL WITH CRAP LIKE THIS?
    It may be useful in building a long-term pipeline, but from my experience, most organizations don’t have the luxury of building a pipeline. Most efforts involving SN Recruiting (or more accurately SN Sourcing) seem like major time-sucks for all involved.

    Cheers,

    Keith

  2. Who has time? A student might. That’s not to say that they’re not busy — but a student is a prime candidate to be part of a pipeline. They may not be looking for a job right this minute, and may not be sure if they want to work for a hospital, smaller boutique practice, other company (e.g. pet insurance), university, or elsewhere.

  3. Keith, I agree that most organizations lack the resources to pipeline effectively. However, just because most companies don’t have the capability to pipeline—doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. I’ve seen a trend with the larger companies that seem to finally be getting this right. There are actual teams of people building Talent Communities and creating pipelines. The gaming aspect is one uniqe way to do it. I think this game is clever, it’s driving traffic (I’m going to go, my co-worker has a daughter who I KNOW will want to visit this site when I e-mail it)

    Here’s what I like:

    – You have an engaged hiring manager who is obviously passionate about their job, enough so that they want to participate in this contest.
    – You have an engaged Talent Leader who is partnered with their clients to fulfill their client’s strategic objectives.
    – You have engaged candidates who are visiting as a result.

    It’s great employment branding. It shouts ‘here’s what we do, what we care about, who we are.’ If that’s YOU, apply …. what’s that worth? More than a youtube video or slogans on a web site is my bet.

  4. Love the contest idea and the long term approach the company is taking to build a pipeline.

    The comment about most companies not having time to build a pipeline is the reason that most companies and managers put up with mediocre employees. They don’t have anyone to replace them with.

    Build a pipeline and you build your workforce and your company.

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