How Civil Service Fast Stream used influencers in social media recruitment

Aug 9, 2022 | Attraction & marketing, Case studies

ISE Innovation in Attraction Award winners, the Civil Service Fast Stream, explain how they engaged influencers in social media recruitment to attract a broader audience. 

There are many misperceptions around the Civil Service Fast Stream (CSFS) – what life is really like on this graduate leadership development scheme, the types of people who can apply, and the kind of work involved.

So we needed to increase brand awareness of the Fast Stream in a way that would challenge these perceptions– showing that it’s accessible to all graduates, regardless of their background, based on their talent and potential.

Reaching a new and wider audience would also enable CSFS to achieve its objective of increasing representation of applicants from all groups, to help ensure the Civil Service better reflects communities across the UK.

Taking a bold, single-minded approach

As the Times Top 100’s No 1 graduate recruiter in the UK, one of the longest-running schemes and one of the biggest graduate recruiters, CSFS receives a high number of applications every year.

So we made the strategic decision not to go to market with a traditional graduate recruitment paid media campaign. Instead, we would reach our target audiences with an influencer-led social media recruitment campaign.

We chose to engage with influencers for this campaign for a number of reasons: 

  • Innovation – Consumer marketing influencers have been used for a while, but this was still relatively new within recruitment. It was also a brave approach for a central government organisation protective of their brand.
  • Perception – We wanted to do something bold that you wouldn’t normally associate with the Civil Service. This would immediately make potential applicants think differently about the Fast Stream.
  • Authenticity – Through research we know that if a colleague, peer or friend says something, you’ll begin to believe it – increasing credibility and helping remove perceived barriers
  • Reach – influencer marketing is a cost-effective way to reach our target audience. Taking a YouTube first approach enabled us to have a long attention time and confront genuine misconceptions.


Engaging the right influencers in social media recruitment

Our target audience for this attraction campaign were predominantly those from BAME and lower socio-economic backgrounds, who are currently under-represented groups.  So we chose influencers from our target backgrounds, and those with followers from our target backgrounds.

Vee Kativhu was our lead influencer. Vee started her YouTube channel after getting into Oxford University. With a focus on employability, she uses her platform to help those from a lower socio-economic background access the best information and advice – as well be a role model showing that anyone can achieve their dreams, no matter their background. 

With questions aimed at finding out more about working with the Civil Service, Vee spent the day chatting with three Fast Streamers.

Vee used this content to create a ‘Day in the Life’ YouTube video, also promoted through Instagram stories and LinkedIn.

We also engaged 12 nano influencers (each with targeted followings) who reshaped and shared the video amongst their own networks.

Our influencer-led campaign was supported by paid Google search and social across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to target specific audiences.

Increasing brand awareness

The influencer video led by Vee received 18,056 views in less than 48 hours, with 799 likes.

Over the four-week campaign, Vee and the nano-influencers achieved a combined reach of 351,304 and 2,436 engagements.

Since then Vee’s video has had over 39,000 views, with lots of positive comments from target audiences including, “Super informative and I love the positive approach to a more diverse Civil Service.”

Increasing diversity representation

The social media campaign attracted a diverse mix of applicants, with a successful % increase against 2021 Fast Stream figures.

These include Ethnicity, Lower Socio-Economic Background, Disability and LGBTQ+.

When you consider that applications are in their tens of thousands, these represent significant numbers of candidates.

Exceeding expectations for everyone

This influencer-led social media recruitment campaign opened CSFS up to an audience who previously hadn’t considered this as an opportunity for them.

By increasing the diversity and quality of applicants, the campaign is helping the Civil Service deliver on their vision of a skilled, innovative and ambitious Civil Service equipped for the future by reflecting the country they serve.

“The Civil Service being recognised as innovators is exactly where we want to be,” said Chris Webb, Head of Attraction, Selection & Onboarding, Civil Service Fast Stream.

The Civil Service Fast Stream, supported by PeopleScout, won Innovation in Attraction at the ISE Awards 2022.

Read more case studies from ISE award winners

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