Monster’s Work With Formula 1 Team — More Social Media than Post ‘n Pray

Jul 24, 2012
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Monster and its client Marussia — a British auto-racing team — are running a turbo-charged recruiting campaign for car-racing-related jobs, one that’s relying heavily on social media and video, and in particular a contest, a bit reminiscent of Sunglass Hut’s, that has entrants essentially doing a bunch of employment marketing for Marussia on Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube.

This all began in the latter half of 2011. Marussia was a newer team (once called Virgin Racing) on the Formula 1 circuit that has hired 13 people this year and has 21 open jobs now.

Its HR team was practically a one-woman band, using Excel spreadsheets. That one woman was Katie Allen. Allen had been using agencies, as well as magazine ads, to attract people. The candidate experience was suffering a bit. Unbeknownst to her, her marketing department had been talking to Monster about a marketing partnership. Monster was, truthfully, a company that gave her slight hesitation. In her mind it was associated with, she says, a “high volume of candidates, with limited results.”

As conversations with Monster began, she began to change her thinking.

Marussia and Monster were, and are, looking for some fresh ideas for finding people, something to reduce headhunter spending in such a competitive industry with jobs like one involving buying metallic components. Marussia wanted Monster to help it appear “cool” and to have jobs that were so; in turn, Monster was happy to have a way to raise its cool factor — more on that latter point in a minute.

Marussia lacked the funding of some other teams, and was in less of a position to compete on what David Henry calls the “merry go ’round” of Formula 1 talent. It’d be harder to poach people from other teams.

Henry, the VP of marketing for Monster in the UK and Ireland, said Marussia needed to take candidates with expertise in topics like aerodynamics from outside auto racing — from, for example, the aerospace industry. “Aerospace is used to making things go up in the air,” he says, and “making things stick to the ground” is a similar concept.

Monster started doing its work, such as building a new ATS for Marussia, toward the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. Marussia had facilities in the northern UK, and marketing/design in the south, and decided to consolidate in central England. It built a new website that right now is using the “” domain name. Microsites have been launched in 10 languages. As of this writing, a Google search for F1 jobs, which seems to me a logical job-hunt term for Formula 1 jobs, generated that Monstercooljobs URL third on a list of results.

The site, and job ads, have been video heavy. Henry said video would help Marussia stand out, feel different, and better convey the corporate culture. If you’re taking a job that involves a ton of time on the road with co-workers, you might as well like them, and Henry’s view is that you can understand a workplace, and current employees, better from watching a video than reading words.

Some videos have been made with flipcams, and others more professionally edited. Often, it depends if we’re talking about a “cool job” like the technician job that “promises to change the life of the successful candidate”; these cool gigs, three posted globally to date, involve a more international sourcing sweep, where someone could be brought in from Russia, France, or maybe the U.S. In addition to spreading the videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, Monster has used its ad network, as well as BeKnown, price-per-click advertising, and more.

Then came the “smdriver” campaign. This was a contest (described here) to find someone who’d work as a “social media driver” July 7-8 for the British Grand Prix, sharing their experiences online, on social media. Entrants — more than 200 for the UK contest — talked about Marussia on Tumblr, on Pinterest, and on Twitter. One entrant took out the domain and created a website about his desire for the gig. Some folks made videos, like this one:

The winner was a young lady who was — well, a young lady. More on that in a minute.

The contest attracted 20o entrants, and, if you clicked on any of the Tumblr, Pinterest, and other links above, you see there was quite a bit of partially free marketing done for Marussia by entrants — more than 700 tweets, not including retweets and replies. Monster may do this contest again, this time to work in Austin, where folks are gearing up for a car race there. One benefit for Monster, one I alluded to earlier, is that being associated with Formula 1 helps Monster with the “cool” factor. Henry says that having the Monster logo on people, rather than plastered on automobiles like some other companies, helps to associate the Monster brand with people and not just machinery.

Henry says he has learned some things in this campaign. One is that despite the rise of social media, more people emailed the home page link to friends than shared it on Twitter or Facebook — which is not what he expected. Another finding is that Monster expected a pretty male-biased interest in the Marussia auto-racing jobs. On the contrary: it found that about 60% of YouTube traffic was female.

Allen says she has learned a few things, too, and continues to do. One of the biggies, she says, is that she should not limit her talent search as much by geography, and be open to candidates quite far away. Applications came in from 74 countries, and candidates from 57 countries were evaluated.

Another thing she learned is that recruiting has an effect on current employees, who are fired up by the company’s interest in attracting top talent. With Marussia telling candidates how cool it is to work there, internal employees feel that their jobs are more cool.

Allen — the one-woman band I mentioned above — jokes that she’s now part of a “two-woman band.” They plan to hire a third department employee soon.

All in all, when you look at the Marussia job postings, about 12,000 applications came in, whittled down to about 1,750 using the talent management system. Headhunter spending is down sharply — maybe 50%. Marussia has a pool of people for future jobs; for example, some people applying for aerodynamics jobs would be good for vehicle performance jobs.

Here’s the thing: all of what Marussia and Monster did above has been done before by someone, whether we’re talking about the smdriver contest or anything else. But some don’t expect it from Monster. It’s another sign that as social media becomes a bit more like a job board, at the same time, job boards are morphing more and more into social media.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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