Steven Nield Sourcing Consultant, Aurecon Senior Recruitment

Steven Nield,

Sourcing Consultant, Aurecon Senior Recruitment

Last year Aurecon won the Award for Most Popular Integrated Marketing Campaign, what do you think made your campaign such a success?

Having an in house Marketing team who aren’t afraid to try new things certainly helps!  One of the things we really focused on with last year’s campaign was to develop more engaging content and then use different mediums to push that content out to our target audience.  We really wanted them (students and future graduates) to not only become more aware of the Aurecon brand, but also start to visualise themselves as a part of the business, hence the photo filter function we deployed.  It allowed students to align themselves with one of our core Aurecon Attributes, take a picture of themselves, add an overlay which highlighted that Attribute and then send it to our Marketing team.  A large selection of those students were then profiled on our website for everyone to see.  It worked so well we also saw a large uptake with current staff wanting to get involved as well!

We also created more video content this year, it was something that we’d received feedback on not only from students but also from some of our external suppliers that whilst our messaging was strong, the lack of videos were detracting from us being able to engage more with our student cohorts.  Engaging videos of staff talking about their experiences is a great way to get a more authentic message out.


What are the key elements employers should consider when trying to engage with students?

Understanding where your students consume content would be the first thing to consider.  You could develop the greatest campaign and message it, but if you’re not using the right channels then those students you really want to engage with and hire won’t see your message.  Our Marketing team spent a good amount of time looking at where millennials consume information (and how they consume it as well) as well as surveys which we conduct with applicants when looking at external suppliers.  We invested in video creation and kept them short and punchy, we utilised new social media channels (Instagram was one we’re continuing to see growth in at present) and also changed the website around to get content that students wanted to see on the landing page, rather than forcing them to dig through several layers or different pages to access it.


Is quantity of applications still the key KPI or is quality and cultural alignment now a bigger consideration for attraction campaigns?

Personally we’d always take quality over quantity.  One of the elements we’ve set up in our recruitment process is a series of passive “opt out” questions, specifically around the degrees they’re studying and a strong message around setting aspirational career paths from day one and asking students to align themselves to those pathways during their application. 

On the other side, if you are able to reflect a more authentic, personal message from your staff to those students who may be considering your company as a future employer, those students who feel that personal connection or see that your company aligns with their values will be more likely to apply, put more effort into their application and (hopefully) stand out during your screening processes.


Diversity in the work place is now seen as a key to organisational success, what can employers do to attract students from outside their traditional hiring pools?

Diversity is the continuing topic of conversations that I see not only within Aurecon but also across the companies that I network with in my role with the Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE).  Through these conversations, my first piece of advice is really to understand what Diversity means to each organisation and from there what they need / want to target and then ensure that you have the right culture and systems in place internally to support that cohort once you’re able to engage with them. 

Depending on the Diversity pillars that you’re trying to engage with, you may need to change your messaging around to appeal to a different audience, create a completely separate campaign or a specific call out to attract students who fall into one of those sections which you’re targeting as well as creating a deeper level of engagement with your target universities, their student societies and their Careers teams.  Don’t underestimate the power of having visible Champions during your marketing and student engagements.  For example, if, like Aurecon you’re keen to target females in STEM courses, you’ll struggle to gain traction amongst that cohort if they can’t hear from and see female role models in your business, either as recent graduates who have joined and can talk about their personal experiences or strong female leaders who students can look at from a careers pathway perspective.

Again though (and I feel like a bit of a broken record on this topic) it all comes down to authenticity in your campaign.  Students are more savvy than ever and can really see through the veneer of a campaign that is more about spin and flashy content than reflecting the lived experiences of their staff and a real sense of honesty in what those students can expect from you as an organisation if they receive an offer.


Any final tips?

Aside from the authenticity piece?  Honestly my biggest lesson with last years campaign was to trust the advice that our Marketing team was giving me and allow yourself to be challenged and take risks.  I’d never have considered the different use of social media channels and ways we engaged with students, and some I had reservations on as to their effectiveness, but whilst we’re never going to get everything perfect the first time using new channels allowed us to stand out from our competitors and more effectively communicate our message with students.