How Microsoft beat the odds to attract diverse apprentices in 2020

Jan 20, 2021 | Apprentices & school leaver

Microsoft and TheTalentPeople embraced virtual attraction to meet apprentice targets in 2020.

When it comes to candidate attraction and hiring, few organisations have managed to escape the challenges of 2020.

Microsoft and TheTalentPeople achieved some great recruitment results by maximising the opportunities that virtual attraction activities can offer.


How did they do it?

The first step in any virtual campaign is to apply an effective virtual approach that systematically focuses on each key element of candidate attraction and hiring.

MAJIC, the model for virtual recruitment was the best decision in this case, breaking down the project into five key areas:

  1. Measure
  2. Always on
  3. Journey
  4. Inform
  5. Communicate

Microsoft’s goal was to fill the positions available in their apprenticeship programme within a relatively short timeline. This meant that the ‘journey’ element of the model was of key importance.

To add to this, the campaign needed to take into account equal representation of all candidates and offer a fair chance for all to engage with the programme. Subsequently, the ‘measure’ element would be imperative to identify success at continuous intervals or offer the chance to pivot in order to achieve it.


Targeted approach

Where Microsoft had previously received thousands of applications for a single role, the resources required to assess and shortlist these submissions was monumental.

This time around, Microsoft was hoping for a more targeted approach, to attract only the ‘great-fit’ candidates, and retain them.

The candidate journey from search engine to application was simple enough to prompt excitement and encourage engagement, yet informative enough to create genuine and high-quality applications.

Knowing what ‘good’ looked like for Microsoft also allowed TheTalentPeople the opportunity to be pro-active with campaign operation and target elements of the campaign to achieve the desired results.

A branded company profile on GetMyFirstJob acted as the shop window for candidates during the campaign, allowing individuals to interact with the brand and find out more about the company before engaging. This is a particularly important stage for employers looking to build trust with an audience not previously communicated with.

Targeted email campaigns to the GetMyFirstJob database using a selection of detailed criteria including proximity, education level and career interests allowed Microsoft to proactively reach only great fitting candidates too. Sponsoring challenging vacancies also allowed for a similar approach, promoting to their preferred candidate base.

This careful collaboration of engagement techniques and specified data usage had incredible success for a time sensitive campaign that face-to-face engagement wouldn’t allow for.


Success story

  • 100% of Microsoft vacancies were filled
  • Achieved higher female engagement for IT and Engineering roles than the industry average
  • Achieved 100% vacancy view to conversion for BAME demographics on some vacancies
  • Achieved at least 44% vacancy view to application conversion for BAME demographics over the entire project

To read more about and see the numbers on the Microsoft case study, click here.

Microsoft and TheTalentPeople’s experiences of virtual attraction were shared at ISE’s Developing Apprenticeships Conference 2020. ISE’s event schedule for 2021 is already underway. From webinars and courses to conferences, find the best event for your needs.

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