Dropping Lures: Attracting Pokémon and Talent

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Jul 29, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Unless you’ve been taking a vacation from the Internet for the past two weeks, by now you’ve probably heard how Pokémon GO is all the rage – if not, just search the #PokemonGO hashtag on Twitter and you’ll see what it’s all about.

Though it’s been less than a month since the app launched, it’s estimated that five percent of the population is already playing this addicting game on a daily basis. Five percent might not seem like a lot, but when you’re talking about the global population, that number is HUGE. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that there are already 9.5 million daily active Pokémon GO users. Now compare that number with the number of active participants in your talent pool; I’m sure there’s quite a difference.

So what exactly is Pokémon GO? Simply put, it’s a free mobile app that uses augmented reality so that players see tiny monsters – called Pokémon – through the screen of their phones as if they were in the real world. These players (called Trainers) catch the Pokémon with small capsules called PokéBalls. It’s a simple premise, but the game is definitely resonating with people – it took just four days for Pokémon GO to reach the #1 spot in the App Store.

You might be wondering, “What exactly do Pokémon have to do with the world of talent acquisition?” This is already trying to be ironed out in discussions on LinkedIn. Thomas Bourgault, a LinkedIn employee, compared the game’s requirements and Pokémon characters with the dynamics of the talent acquisition world, showing similarities between the challenges of attracting hard-to-find talent and capturing a Kangaskhan in California.

At ManpowerGroup Solutions RPO, we have a team of industry experts that look at trending topics to see how they might be leveraged to attract talent. The team was salivating at the opportunity to combine Pokémon GO with recruiting – we have some amazing recruiters who are experts in Pokémon GO and were more than willing to talk Pokémon and recruiting careers.

So we did it.

The Innovation Team set up social media campaigns for Facebook and Twitter, posting updates that contained hashtags like #PokemonGO and #Pikachu in an effort to attract Pokémon-playing talent for the opportunity to work with our internal recruitment team. If you can find Pokémon, you can find talent.


The posts included a link to a branded microsite that allowed interested candidates to fill out personal information, like whether they had a bachelor’s degree or experience in recruiting. The key to this microsite is that it was optimized for mobile use (since Pokémon GO is a mobile app); the layout was structured for optimal sizing on a mobile device and the questions were few (less than ten total). The social campaigns instructed interested parties to stop by ManpowerGroup’s global headquarters in Milwaukee, WI, over a two-hour period around lunch time to catch Pokémon – and talk to recruiters about careers at the same time.

So how exactly did we get the Pokémon to show up at our talent attraction event? By setting up Pokémon lures. These lures attract Pokémon which, in turn, attract Pokémon players (also known as potential talent). These lures can only be set up at PokéStops and last for 30 minutes. Coincidentally, there’s a PokéStop right outside the front door of ManpowerGroup HQ, with three other stops nearby.


While it is too soon to show that Pokémon GO leads to successful hires, it was a very successful (and fun) brand-building event for both potential candidates and internal employees. We reached more than 2,800 people on social media, saw several well-qualified leads come into our mobile recruitment platform, and we plan to hold additional events like this in the coming weeks.

Staying on top of emerging tech and pop culture can help you land talent with minimal effort – you just need to have a team that’s capable and ready to capitalize on these viral trends.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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