IBM Discovers That It’s a Small World After All

What’s wrong at IBM? Not too much. The company hired 47,000 employees and contractors in 2007, for operations spanning 170 countries. But IBM’s global recruiting director, Alex Cocq, (featured in-depth in the February issue of the Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership), says there is still room for improvement at Big Blue; most notably Cocq wanted to attain increased recruiting efficiencies and a decreased cost-of-hire.

Cocq’s vision was to move IBM away from its collage of recruiting and hiring processes to a single global process, with only slight variations for each region’s culture. He also wanted to drive passive candidates and applicants toward the company’s recruiting Web site to reduce agency fees and print ad expenditures. But could a site that features one main recruiting message resonate with a globally diverse audience? Surprisingly, Cocq discovered that the answer to that question was yes.

“We found that universally, people are interested in social issues and career advancement; they want to know that their work matters and that it accomplishes something for society,” says Cocq.

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In June, the company launched its new careers Web site which features this message: Come work for IBM and make a difference. But while the message may be universal, the way the message is communicated to each user is unique. The concept is to hook candidates and entice them to return to the site, by allowing each user to create their own Web 2.0 experience. Candidates are invited to join online communities or collaborate online with IBM employees after submitting an application. They can also share online content about IBM and comment about it through a link to an IBM page on the Digg Web site or receive an opt-in newsletter.

“Our new site features a single landing page and then redirects prospects to a number of subsites or micro sites based upon their interests and preferences,” says Cocq. “While the overall message is designed for universal appeal, we’ve adapted how we’re driving traffic to the site to meet each country’s Internet viewing habits.”

Leslie Stevens writes for human capital and business publications. She was a senior manager in the staffing industry for more than 20 years and understands how talent acquisition contributes to the bottom line. She likes it when readers share their opinions, innovative ideas, and experiences about overcoming obstacles while fighting the global talent war.