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Forrester Groundswell Award

#CoolestInterviewEver - Forrester Groundswell Award Submission

​Executive Summary

While organizations have been using social media as a platform for hiring through job postings and background checks, there has never been an end-to-end recruitment process on a single social media platform. #CoolestInterviewEver is a unique reach campaign launched by global IT major, HCL Tech that leverages Twitter to create a complete recruitment engagement while amplifying “Employer Value Proposition” reach. ​For the first time, hiring became a two way conversation on a social platform. Total engagement from prospective job seekers was 250 K, 5 candidates shortlisted via twitter interviews conducted, all over 15 days of rich conversation with candidates from over 60 countries. While the total spend on this initiative was equal to the average spend on recruiting one full time employee, it ranks as one of the most impactful outreaches in social media history having already been covered by more than 60 international publications . It has resulted in HCL Tech enjoying a refreshed and strengthened employer brand and more followers on Twitter than any other IT Services organization in the world.

Social Media Reach opportunity analysis

In the last 5 years, social media has grown to immeasurable heights and has changed the way people drive political, social and economic change. It has developed itself from a medium where information that was earlier sent and consumed, to a platform where content is being created, shared, reused, changed and forwarded. There are approximately 1.7 Bn active social media users today that make it 1/4th of the world’s population. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are undoubtedly the key players in the race with an active member base of 250, 500, 200 million respectively.

Due to the growing popularity of these platforms, they have started influencing the way recruitment was done a few years back. Where on one hand, the evolution in this space has equipped the best candidates out there looking for the jobs with tons of information at their fingertips; on the other hand, it has compelled the recruiters looking for high quality talent take a marketer’s approach and shift their focus towards building their own virtual talent pool and appealing to candidates’ individual inclinations to find and cultivate top talent.

As per a study conducted by Jobvite1, it has been observed that 94% of the recruiters use or plan to use social media in the recruiting efforts. This is 21% more than the usage in the year 2008. There has also been a jump of 33% in the time to hire, 49% in the quality of candidates and 43% in their quantity. All this has made digital media the number one channel for recruiting followed by referrals and recruitment consultancies. This reflected in a study conducted by CEB that showed 82% of the organizations are forecasting an increase in their social media usage over the next 12 months.

IT industry has grown tremendously in the world making its own mark. These companies have become the growth engine of the economy and are driven by a generation that we call “Gen Y”. The Gen Y (people belonging to age group of 19-30 years) is full of zeal and wants to work with an organization, which gives free reign to its entrepreneurial capabilities. A place where its voice is heard and ideas implemented- thereby allowing it to make a real difference. This generation grew up with the Internet and is used to having everything readily available and being savvy users of the social media, it is technologically empowered.

The Gen Y constitutes 45% of the total HCL work force and hence social media recruitment becomes all the more crucial. HCL has therefore aggressively started investing in the digital/Social media recruitment interventions which has led to an increase in  the  non-digital to digital recruitment ratio from 32% in the FY 12 to 51% in FY 13.

Though some of the organizations including HCL have started leveraging social media for hiring but the world of End-to-End social media recruitment remains largely unexplored.  The genesis of #Coolestinterviewever evolved from the understanding of the untapped opportunity. The initiative was ideated as a unique recruitment process to hire end-to-end from Twitter for a project at HCL.

1Social Recruiting: Survey Results


  • Post the global economic slowdown that originated in the US in the year 2009 several countries experienced rapid shrinkage in their GDP, rising unemployment levels and an overall slowdown.Indian economy being fuelled by the growth in the technology sector, is dependent on the “outsourcing” or “off shoring” of key business processes by large global organizations. the growth rate of IT sector halved in 2013 ever since the global recession (from 30% to 15%). A large slice of revenues for Indian IT sector being derived from the US based clients, the impact of the slowdown in the US had a deep impact on the Indian IT sector.
  • Changing economic conditions have adversely influenced the employer brand. Due to lesser vacancies, it becomes very important to explore new age channels for talent acquisition.
  • ​The targeted economies have well established local job platforms, while there was no channel that could go across the boundaries and was more economical at the same time.
  • IT sector has been losing its sheen because of factors like low promotions, low salary increments and uncertainty. Thus, an intervention was needed to build the recruitment brand for the company.
  • A big portion of the allocated budget for recruitment have always been leveraged for sourcing requirements, leaving substantially lower budget for recruitment marketing initiatives. The challenge was to create a world class recruitment campaign using the amount of the annual salary of an average employee.
  • The reach of the social media platforms using the traditional recruitment marketing interventions at HCL is 60k for Linkedin and 3k for Facebook which could not yield the targeted hiring numbers. The challenge was to increase the reach by multifold.


  • To quickly create a preferred employer brand amongst the 32 countries where HCL operates.
  • Achieve engagement of more than 200K through this campaign across digital channels.
  • Establish Leadership position in terms of reach & engagement on Twitter vis-à-vis competition.
  • Introducing HCL as a “Digital Disrupter” by creating a “First-In-Class” initiative which establishes HCLT as progressive Gen Y organization utilizing new age media in recruitment process.
  • To further HCL’s perception as preferred global employer for Gen Y with spend not exceeding the average cost of hiring an on-site employee
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