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While making use of digital media and technology to recruit talent can be difficult for most organisations, it is not impossible.

Follow these award-winning case studies, unveiled by Jerene Ang, from this year’s Asia Recruitment Awards to find out how it’s done.

It is well known the younger generations – Millennials and Gen Z – are highly connected, always online and can’t live without their smartphones. So how does this relate to recruitment?

As more members of the younger generations enter the workforce, many companies are incorporating digital platforms into their recruitment strategies to cater to this tech-savvy group while promoting their employer brand.

In fact, Cazar’s 2014 Top Candidate Sources report found that online channels make up 99% of the main candidate-sourcing channels – where candidates search for jobs.

The latest job vacancy statistics released by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower found that job openings still outnumber job seekers with a ratio of 121 openings per 100 seekers – a situation echoed by many countries across APAC as well as globally. As such, it has become increasingly important that companies have a solid recruitment strategy to get the talent they need.

However, with technology, businesses and the workforce evolving at a faster rate than ever, it can be difficult to keep up with the changes while creating a strategy around digital recruiting.

As such, to help HR leaders who are designing their recruitment strategies for next year, we dedicate this feature as a guide to the best practices in recruiting talent digitally – from successfully transforming an organisation’s employer branding with the help of digital platforms to using the various platforms available to recruit the best talent.

All case studies used in this feature are from award-winning programmes and policies from this year’s Asia Recruitment Awards.

Employer branding is the first step

The objective of having a good employer brand is usually to attract the right kind of talent to the organisation. According to Employer Brand International’s 2014 Employer Branding Global Trends Study, having a clearly defined employer branding strategy is crucial for an organisation to achieve its employer branding strategy.

Though easier said than done, companies with successful employer branding strategies have reaped great benefits from their strong employer brand with one such example being the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).

Case 1: How IDA influences tomorrow’s talent

In 2014, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore set the stage for Singapore to be the world’s first “Smart Nation”. It is taking the central role as the technology leader to transform the vision into reality through three key pillars – build, govern and deliver.

IDA found the “build” and “deliver” roles were often overshadowed by its “govern” role, and that there was a general perception the organisation was only a regulatory outfit.

After identifying the areas to address in its employer branding, IDA reviewed and redefined its employee proposition with the aim to position and brand itself beyond its “govern” role, correct the stereotype, and attract tech talent to join the organisation.

When IDA embarked on a mission to “influence tomorrow”, through a recruitment campaign aimed at tech-sector talent, it spiked the company’s talent brand index to 24%, ahead of its public and private sector peers.

The result? Winning gold at the inaugural Asia Recruitment Awards in Singapore in the category of Best Employer Brand Development (In-House Initiative).

IDA now has more than 50,000 followers on LinkedIn, up enormously from 2,000 in 2013, achieving a brand reach even greater than some of its private peers.

Influence tomorrow became an umbrella brand for all of the firm’s employer branding activities, starting with a series of creative advertisements for fresh graduates, mid-careerists and specialists in data analytics, software development and design, and cyber security.

Online innovation was one of the key drivers in the execution, with the company being one of the early adopters of social media recruiting in the public sector.

Engaging the public via social media helped IDA to correct any misperception of being a “bureaucratic civil service outfit”, and also allowed its target audience to learn more about its “build” and “deliver” roles beyond “govern”.

Online marketing also had a boost given the time-bound need to create awareness and drive applications for the inaugural technology associate programme (TAP) in 2014.

A one-month online marketing campaign was conducted via search engine marketing and display ads via key digital platforms, strengthened by targeted text and display ads for the specific audience of fresh graduates.

Experiential marketing was another area focused on, with initiatives such as informal lunches for interns and e-newsletter for scholars.

Through its “influence tomorrow”, IDA maximised its touch-points with its target audience, leveraging on a platter of media and activities to elevate its employer brand.

The increased touch-points and use of social media successfully helped correct public misperceptions.

IDA now has more than 50,000 followers on LinkedIn, up enormously from 2,000 in 2013, achieving a brand reach even greater than some of its private peers.

All of this buzz saw real conversion – with the application target for TAP exceeding by 11%, and almost two in every three employees looking to recommend IDA to a friend.

Lau Yin Cheng, IDA’s chief of HR and OD, spoke about the campaign’s success.

“Through our ‘influence tomorrow’ campaign, we were able to elevate our employer brand and attract the right talent in joining us to help us realise our ‘Smart Nation’ dream.

“Being real was key to our success as we were focused on sharing our people stories with different groups of audiences.”

Other than being real, a key success factor of the campaign hinged on collaboration – internally across departments as well as externally with creative and media agencies – and planning down to every little detail.

Having the right recruitment technology

After successfully establishing a solid employer brand, how should organisations deal with the number of applications that will come flooding in?

The solution to this is having the right recruitment technology to automate and standardise the process.

Case 2: How GroupM automated recruitment, while improving the candidate experience

Across its portfolio, GroupM recruits up to 2,500 new hires in a single year.

Before 2014, GroupM’s regional recruitment was done traditionally with candidates sending in resumes via email, and recruiters struggling to arrange for and conduct interviews in the most time and cost-effective way.

With everything done manually, efficiency of time and resources was at its lowest. Additionally, security concerns meant cloud services could not be used, hindering communication and record keeping. This severely slowed down the recruitment process and resulted in a poor and long-winded candidate experience.

Something needed to change, and fast, for recruiters to manage the process in the most time and cost-effective way.

The solution? Jobvite. A recruiting platform designed for the social web that saw the number of job applications shooting to about 100 for every vacancy, earning GroupM Asia Pacific the gold award for Best Recruitment Technology at the Asia Recruitment Awards, Singapore.

The spark behind the idea came when GroupM’s regional recruiters, who are based in Singapore but supporting hiring efforts over 14 markets, were bogged down by a lot of manual work.

The objective of Jobvite, thus, was to automate the recruitment process by bringing in all resumes digitally, while enabling recruiters to schedule interviews through the system, and to cut down on the time spent per candidate.

Today, just a handful of jobs are hired outside of Jobvite, as more employees continue to activate their Jobvite accounts, pointing to the success of this recruitment technology.

The implementation also had its sights on improving the candidate experience – making sure they could access authentic, accurate and relevant information about the company and the role.

Once Jobvite went live in Singapore, two training programmes were carried out – for hiring managers and employees. Hiring managers were trained on how to navigate the system, while employees were taught how to set up their accounts so they could instantly share open positions on their personal social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Collaboration was key, with the HR and talent acquisition team working closely with the IT team, which provided on-the-ground back-end support, while HR worked on getting buy-in from agency leads, and ensuring employees and hiring managers attended the training sessions.

Did the implementation go according to plan? Of course not, with every change, there’s bound to be some resistance. However, GroupM already anticipated this challenge, and intentionally staggered the implementation to minimise resistance, and help identify gaps or training needs. Doing so, it managed to make sure each consecutive market experienced a smoother and more effective implementation.

Jobvite’s implementation saw a strong increase in hires, an increase in Facebook engagement (more than 300,000 total page likes), impressive offer-to-acceptance percentage ratios – with 93% accepting the offer and significant recruitment savings.

Today, just a handful of jobs are hired outside of Jobvite, as more employees continue to activate their Jobvite accounts, pointing to the success of this recruitment technology.

Michael Wright, head of talent acquisition for GroupM APAC, praised the efforts of his team in the achievement.

“We’ve been very smart in investing in the right processes and systems to help us further and strengthen our recruitment efforts in Asia,” he said.

“But that said, I also need to recognise the efforts of our IT, HR and talent teams, who tirelessly helped roll out the systems in their individual markets – no easy feat in a region as diverse as Asia.”

Case 3: How Cargill standardised its recruitment process

Before 2011, Cargill, a company that provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world, had a recruitment process in Singapore and its Asia Pacific offices that was decentralised and fragmented. It was not aligned across businesses nor standardised at a global or regional level.

Cargill’s recruitment function faced significant challenges delivering well on three of its key measurements – client satisfaction, service effectiveness and cost efficiency.

The team took on the challenge to ensure (a) client satisfaction through a stronger sourcing capability to deliver on the talent pipeline for a high performing organisation; (b) clarity with the recruitment structure and local and regional connectivity; (c) service effectiveness with the alignment and adoption of technology for process alignment and efficiency; and (d) cost efficiency with the development of candidate pools.

In 2011, a global project team comprising of leads from all four regions and stakeholders from the businesses was set up. Cargill’s Singapore office, took a leading role for the APAC region.

They developed a new global process, introduced clear governance and reporting and adopted CEB’s talent advisor model to enhance their recruiters’ ability to be strategic business partners. A stronger candidate pool was available through an enhanced in-house sourcing capability. New roles such as talent sourcing and researchers were also identified to hone sourcing expertise.

Taleo, a key technology enabler, was also implemented. The well-planned execution exercise ensured a successful launch in Singapore and subsequent introduction to the rest of APAC in 2014.

A proper support structure with Taleo super-users, who conducted regular calls, was implemented along with a hyper-care period after the programme went live to suit all time zones.

Country specific meetings were hosted prior to in-person training to understand the current processes and identify gaps. Clear communication reinforced the importance of the project and aligned it with the overall recruitment strategy for the smooth and seamless introduction.

To deal with the challenges such as slow internet connection in some countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia, other infrastructure teams were engaged to upgrade the network. Within eight months, the project was a success. The teams had all the systems in place for an enhanced recruitment process. More importantly, they used 17% less budget and the project was completed on time.

The teams had all the systems in place for an enhanced recruitment process. More importantly, they used 17% less budget and the project was completed on time.

“The ability of the HR team to understand and meet their clients’ needs, strategise and devise the most effective solutions has always been critical to an organisation. There is a real war on talent out there and we need to be on our toes to identify and recruit the right people that fit the right profile, culture and skills,” said Manish Verma, Cargill Asia Pacific’s HR leader.

The increased collaboration with the business, a better understanding of needs, the adoption of the best possible channels to recruit the most suited candidates, along with technology, brought about improved results.

Cargill is now able to track the key metrics of its recruitment efforts, allowing data-driven discussions at a strategic level with key stakeholders, hiring managers and business HR leaders.

At the same time, the new strategy helped improve the firm’s client satisfaction, reduce the median time taken to fill a position (from 48 days in 2013/14 to the current YTD 44 days in 2015/16) and reduce significant hiring costs. On top of that, the new strategy also helped Cargill bag the silver award for Best Recruitment Technology as well as the gold award for Best Regional Recruitment Programme (In-House) at the Asia Recruitment Awards, Singapore.

“Through Taleo we have significantly improved our recruitment process standardisation and achieved more visibility into our hiring metrics, resulting in an increased hiring manager satisfaction score,” said Tai-Kit Hua, Cargill Asia Pacific’s talent recruitment lead.

“In the future, there will be opportunities to develop an integration strategy and implementation plan on Taleo’s integration to our data management system as well as other applications. These efforts can help us provide significant long-term value to our stakeholders.”


After looking at these best practices in recruiting talent digitally, here’s a step-by-step recap on how to make full use of technology and digital media to effectively recruit the right talent.

  • First, make sure a clear employer branding strategy is established. Seeing as today’s workforce is getting more digitally inclined, be sure to make use of digital platforms and social media to broadcast your employer branding.
  • Second, simply having access to technology is not enough, organisations have to be able to know how to use the technology on hand to obtain the desired results.
    In order to do so, a clear objective – for example, automating the recruitment process to increase efficiency – has to be set up for the implementation and use of technology.
  • Third, anticipate and overcome challenges. With every change comes a challenge and organisations must be able to predict what these challenges are and find a way to overcome them. For example, it is a good idea to stagger the implementation of a new technology to overcome resistance.
  • Fourth, know how to measure ROI – it can be as easy as tracking a follower count over time or the days taken to fill a role.
  • Last, but not least, no matter what is being implemented – a new employer branding strategy or technology/platform – collaboration is key. Once an objective is set, HR has to collaborate closely with other departments such as marketing and IT for the project to be successful.

Case study: Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific

Image: Shutterstock

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