Recruiting with Billboards

Several of the best Utah high-tech companies have billboards along the I-15 corridor from Provo to Salt Lake City that are focused on recruiting. I recall billboards from Omniture, Mozy, Property Solutions, The Generations Network, Orange Soda, and Doba. I’m sure there are others as well that I just don’t recall. I’m wondering if Move Networks has used billboards–but I can’t recall.

Omniture can afford to creating an ongoing serious of recruiting billboards–most of them with messages that only hard-core developers would get. But more recently they’ve mainstreamed their recruiting message with interesting billboards like “We need more Dougs” or “We need more Kates.” They followed that up with a “We have too many Mikes” billboard and then more recently, a “just kidding Mike” message, though I can’t recall the actual wording. They are definitely the 800 lb gorilla in Utah recruiting and billboards seem to play a big part of that.

Mozy’s billboard talks about afternoon meetings (probably for the developers who like to work late and sleep late) and announces they have a Ninja-friendly workplace.

Property Solutions is always looking for top PHP programmers, but their latest billboard announces a run for the cure for Rabies. When you go to the Rabies web site, you do see a “We’re Hiring” link and they do have several open positions. I really like the design of their recruiting pages.

The Generations Network has billboards that focus on it’s “one million subscribers and counting” message, but I can’t recall if it is explicitly a recruiting billboard or not.

There is an excellent billboard from APX, I believe, that says “Change your Facebook Status to EMPLOYED” and says they are hiring 85 internal sales people. Very eye-grabbing. Great message.

Does anyone at any of these companies know how important the billboards are in actually filling jobs? I would love to have reader comments about the use of billboards for recruiting. I assume these companies find the billboards a good investment, because they continue them month after month and year after year.

I decided yesterday that it is time for to try a recruiting billboard on I-15. I’ve asked our marketing department to put together some ideas for this.

It might be nice to combine a key message about our growth, with an explicit recruitment message. For example, we have more than 40MM users of our Facebook application, and we are nearing the top 100 of all US web properties based on unique monthly visitors. More importantly, we are profitable and will be filling at least 20 positions in the next several months, although only about 10 of the job openings are currently listed on our corporate web site.

What are your favorite recruiting billboards?

What suggestions would you have for Most people have never heard of us, though about 1 of every 6 Facebook users uses our application. The app itself is called “We’re Related,” so most people haven’t heard of

What is the best recruiting call to action you have seen to attract interest in a company?

I’d love to hear your ideas.

4 thoughts on “Recruiting with Billboards

  1. Outdoor marketing along I-15 is definitely in vogue for tech companies around here, but sometimes I wonder if some of these are more CEO vanity boards than real business tools that drive real ROI. Omniture currently lists 12 open positions on their website (3) of which are not local. Perhaps we don’t have all of the data, but do 9 open positions locally in an economy with lots of people on the sidelines really warrant as many billboards as they have?

    It seems to me the branding folks at OMTR need to think hard about what messages they are really sending with these boards. I often look at the Omniture boards and the message I get is, “we have more money than sense”, rather than what I think they want to say, which is, “this is a really cool place to work”. In fact, my wife turned to me the other day as we were going past one board at the point of the mountain that says something like, “1,000,000,000,000 transactions in Q1….. What up?!” and said, “they sure seem cocky”.

    I didn’t get “cocky” from that billboard, being a marketing professional, I envisioned a marketing guy finding a really big number in a server log file somewhere (like how many cookies they served across all of their clients in Q1) and said “hmmm, a trillion is a lot, even if nobody knows what we’re counting.” But if people are reading it the way my wife does, “cocky” and “financially wasteful” are not messages I would want to send from a board that is trying to recruit new hires in this economy, especially to the decision makers – my target audience’s wife.

    I’m no OMTR hater, in fact I’m a fan, but it doesn’t seem like they’re as clear about their purpose and brand as they used to be with their sharper, more on-brand creative. Long-term, that will hurt them if they don’t recalibrate.

    As for your outdoor creative, I would recommend a stability + growth message, such as:

    [We’re Related logo]
    Used by 40mm of your closest friends.
    Made in Utah by a profitable company…
    that’s hiring.

    My $0.02.

  2. The i15 billboards in Utah are a perfect way to achieve massive reach in SLC/Provo markets. It’s OOO advertising at it’s best. Some are better than others, but every time I go to Utah I always see the Mozy, Omniture, Utah Flash, and a few others.

    billboard ideas – I think something that plays off the fact that so many people in Utah are related may help a lot of people ‘relate’ to your product. Something along the lines of:

    ’40MM family members connected…..and you thought you only had 46 cousins.’
    ’40MM family members connected…..making family reunions that much more interesting.’

    Palo Alto opinioner.

    Derek Andersen

    Paul – I’d also love to speak to you about the office you’re opening in Mountain View. Let me know how best to contact you. Thanks.

  3. Do you have any pictures of those billboards or do you know where I can find them?? I was going to take pictures of them, but I think they took some of them down.

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