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Recruiting: The Game

By

Greenfield Belser, a Finn Partners Company
August 27, 2001

Recruiting: The Game

Businesses know they have to spend time and money creating attractive, informative career pages at their Web sites to bring in new talent. But when it comes to recruiting the current generation of college students—many of whom grew up with Nintendo at home and PCs at school—an international law firm says it has an even better approach: computer games.

Earlier this month, Washington law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP posted a video game on its recruitment pages that awards fleece jackets and hats to students who achieve a certain skill level at a game called Catch A Break. The game was written in Macromedia Flash and involves using a cursor to catch objects falling on the screen. A player must be a student at an accredited law school to win a prize. The personal registration information they enter, including name, school, and address, provides the firm with a means for follow-up.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe uses a video game to tout the firm to key recruits, Martinez says.

Besides collecting information about job candidates, the game serves a marketing function for the law firm by posting employee testimonials on the games. Orrick, which hopes to recruit 60 budding lawyers to its staff of 600 attorneys this year, also sees the game as a way to stand out during the industry's annual recruitment rush, which lasts until December. "Law students are bombarded with information from law firms, but they tell us that they never read brochures—they go to the Web site," says Marty Martinez, the firm's West Coast recruitment manager. "The game is a way to communicate lots of important facts about our firm."

Orrick's approach isn't entirely new: a Houston legal practice called Baker Botts LLP has several games, including Tetris and Solitaire, posted at its career site for law students. Orrick's game was custom developed by marketing firm Greenfield/Belser. The gimmicks are needed because even with an improved job market for employers, law firms remain fiercely competitive about recruiting, Martinez says. "We all want top students from top schools, and there aren't that many," she says. Six days after the game went up, 59 students had qualified for prizes, and 25 of those provided the firm with personal contact information.

"It's a novel approach," says Christopher Boone, a senior analyst for E recruiting at International Data Corp. "To get candidates to their Web sites, recruiters need to think of themselves as marketers." But the games fall short compared with other recruiting methods. Boone says companies looking to hire college grads should combine an enjoyable online experience—such as the computer game—with full information and assessment of candidates' skills. Companies such as Brain Bench, Development Dimensions International, and Epredix have developed tools that assess skills via Web sites, but Boone hasn't seen an example where a company has combined video games with skills assessment. An even better idea for the legal industry than what Orrick has done, says Boone, would be a game that awards prizes and tests students' legal knowledge at the same time.

Originally published by Information Week.