Pokémon GO and Talent Acquisition? It’s Happening

The phenomenon that is Pokémon GO could be one of the biggest employer brand builders of the year. Take one part outrageously popular geocaching game and add one part candidate sourcing risk taker and you’ve got a recipe for catching more than just Pokémon.

If you’re finding it hard to connect the dots between the summer’s most popular game and finding great talent, you’re not alone. Some say that it’s just a gimmick. Even so, gimmicks get attention. And that could give your employer brand the fun and approachable boost that it needs.

What the Heck is Pokémon GO?

Although nearly everyone has heard of it, not everyone knows what the game is all about. Here’s the short version. It’s an augmented reality game, which means that players can see things around them as if they’re really there. And the object of the game is to capture as many of those things as possible.

Using a mobile device, players, called trainers, can find and capture Pokémon characters such as Squirtle, Jigglypuff and the elusive Pikachu. Characters might show up anyplace at any time. You can find them on your lawn, down the street, in a park, in a business or practically anywhere else. Players get outside, walk around and explore, all in the hopes of capturing more Pokémon.

How Does Pokémon GO Translate to Hiring?

This question is already being batted around on LinkedIn, where Thomas Bourgault has compiled a Pokémon Guide to Hiring. But it’s more of a compare and contrast guide than a plan for using the actual game to source talent. For that, Manpower’s Kasey Smith writes at ERE Media that game-focused social media campaign is the way to go.

Manpower’s Innovation Team were already experts in all things Pokémon, so they were the perfect bridge between recruiter and talent. It started with hashtags such as #PokemonGO and #Pikachu. Those attracted trainers to social media posts which drove them to a mobile-friendly, Manpower-branded microsite designed just for talent acquisition.

Trainers could enter a few details, such as education and experience. Then they were invited to Manpower HQ in Milwaukee to catch Pokémon and perhaps also capture a job.

It’s Only a Party if the Pokémon Show Up

If you’re a trainer, you probably see the potential problem in Manpower’s plan. How much branding mileage might the company get from their campaign if trainers showed up and found a Pokémon-free zone? Not much. They key for them, Smith says, was dropping lures.

Lures attract Pokémon, and Pokémon attract players. But there’s a catch. This strategy can only work where there’s a PokéStop. Fortunately for Manpower, there’s one just outside the door.

But you’re not out in the cold if there’s no PokéStop near you. You could host an event at a different location that’s PokéFriendly. Lures only last for 30 minutes, so be prepared to drop more throughout the event.

It’s not that Pokémon GO is the best way to attract job candidates. The game didn’t revolutionize talent acquisition. What’s happening is that it’s tempting people to think creatively. It’s wildly popular. It gets the attention of an incredibly broad range of people with varying interests and skills, so the strategy could work for almost any company. And it’s fun. How long has it been since your job was a good time?

Employer brand building needs every boost that it can get. Right now, the hottest thing going is Pokémon GO.

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