Heineken uses interactive video to attract jobseekers

Campaign incorporates behavioural testing
By Marcel Vander Wier
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/31/2016

Breaking away from the traditional, Heineken uncorked a different kind of recruitment campaign last month.

The Dutch brewing company launched a website titled “Go Places” that saw 600 global staffers participate in the online recruitment campaign.

The website tasks visitors with “The Interview” — an interactive experience that takes users on a whistle-stop tour of potential career highlights with Heineken.

The big-budget project includes a moderator, known as the “Curator of Choices,” guiding users through an Enneagram test — using forced-choice questions to determine personality type.

It features 12 timed questions designed to determine if the website user is the kind of employee who would thrive in Heineken’s corporate environment.

The campaign is available in 12 languages and features interview content that coincides to each user’s location.

Following the rapid-fire questions, the website generates a user profile based on the responses given. Eight Heineken profiles are possible post-interview, ranging from the creative, curious “Pioneer” to the devoted, ingenious “Achiever.”

It then prompts the interviewee to click through to the company’s career sites to explore available roles.

Heineken’s goal? Show off its global dominance — 250 brands in 70 countries — while attracting future star employees to continue to break fresh ground, said the company.

A new kind of approach

Heineken really wanted to approach a human resources film in a completely different way than what’s usually done, according to video director Lennart Verstegen of Wefilm in Amsterdam.

“In most cases, human resources films are more or less explaining company values in a much more classic documentary sense.

“We thought: If we’re going to do this in a Heineken way, it has to be Heineken all over.”

And while the campaign is aimed at new recruits, even non-jobseekers will come away from the interactive interview with a sense of what Heineken values, said Verstegen.

“It’s a commercial for Heineken, besides being a recruitment film.”

‘Cool, hip, fun’

Heineken’s recruitment effort earned high praise from University of Toronto human resources management professor Alan Saks. 

“They’re really packing a lot in there, and all the while totally engaging potential applicants,” he said. “I think it’s a great way of adding to your recruitment package and process. It adds a really nice dimension.”

Saks said he hadn’t seen anything like it. “Instead of being passive… they’re engaging (people) in the recruitment process. And because you’re engaged in it, it becomes enjoyable and fun, and all the while you’re learning about the company. I have no doubt that something like this is going to help them attract applicants from all over the world.”

Heineken effectively uses the participatory opportunity to reveal some of the secret ingredients in its corporate culture, he said.

“It’s appealing to young people who are looking for careers anywhere in the world and opportunities for growth and advancement, and doing it in a place that looks like it’s a lot of fun,” said Saks. “You get the impression that this is a culture that is really cool, hip and fun.”

Younger participants

The campaign’s target audience is clearly stated — millennials. The company noted its desire to attract young professionals ages 19 to 35 into the fold.

Referring to millennials as “venture consumers,” the company said today’s young professionals are looking at more than salary and title, but also opportunities to invest in dynamic, purposeful companies where they can be difference-makers.

The intent of the campaign was to not only portray Heineken as hip, but also try to stretch potential employees’ imaginations, revealing that their creativity could potentially define the Heineken of the future, said Chris Van Steenbergen, Heineken’s human resources lead in Amsterdam.

“A lot of companies mould people into the company’s identity, whereas Heineken believes (employees) stretch the qualities of their employers and that defines what Heineken actually is.”

Using the company’s employees made for a unique experience, said Verstegen.

“We combined so many different ingredients, but what was pretty special for me was all the faces that you see, other than the interviewer, are actual Heineken employees,” he said.

“And the people there were absolutely genuine, very pleasant, much better than any extras that I would have ever imagined. That was a nice insight for myself.”

Incorporating actual employees made the most sense, according to Van Steenbergen.

“Finding the right people is vital for any business and we believe that our own people are the best to help us attract the stars of the future,” he said.

“That’s why we asked them to help us come up with an innovative and playful way to offer real insight into what it’s like to work here. We wanted to inspire unique talents to join our team by showing them how our exceptional culture would help them to achieve their full potential.”

Two-way street

The Go Places video interview continues a growing trend that has companies using behavioural testing to determine potential fit for prospective employees, and vice-versa, said Toronto-based recruiter Tony Scala.

This type of testing is “well-founded” and is used by many companies and staffing agencies to help determine a “proper match” between employer and employee, said Scala, vice-president of marketing and client services at Drake International – North America and Australia.

However, job candidates are also more likely to evaluate a company in the same fashion.

“It is truly a two-way street,” he said. “Today’s candidates want to determine if organizations they are considering joining would be a good fit with them.”

Qualified jobseekers want to know a prospective employer’s code of standards fits their personal needs, ethics, desires, beliefs and culture, said Scala, noting many job failures are due to personality issues rather than skills and knowledge.

“Behavioural-based tests of this nature allow an individual to get a better sense of who they are and what attributes they possess,” he said. “Using that knowledge, they rule organizations out that wouldn’t be a good match for them.”

Results unclear

The video took a year and a half to develop but it’s still too early to judge the success of the campaign as the rollout was going to continue across the globe into early October, said Cloudfactory’s managing director Sandeep Chawla in Amsterdam. The creative agency was tapped by Heineken to lead the Go Places project.

“It’s entirely qualitative, but the response internally has been splendid,” he said.

And while not providing budget details on the Heineken recruitment project, Chawla referred to the production as a “labour of love.” 

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