A heart-first approach to student outreach
When we launched our U.S. student outreach & campus recruiting strategy in Summer 2016, I remember combing through the multitudes of data, school reports and rankings, market analysis on what the best approach would be for a tech company. This school had this specific course or that institution yielded “x amount” of talent for this mega tech brand. But the one thing that the Research didn’t show was the culture & community of the students — it lacked the talent-brand story that we felt was critical to the type of company Spotify is.
In our experience, we had seen great brands try different avenues to reach students; if it was structured information sessions, free food, or desirable swag. Some of those things worked well and others failed. Some may have worked 10 years ago, but students of this generation want something more for their next gig. When we were developing our strategy, we wrestled with different ideas and ways of going about it, but the one theme that was at the pulse was: Spotify is a brand that is looking to change the world. It doesn’t just exist to share the story of culture, it’s present within communities for something so universal — music. And our key to success would be a strategy that didn’t only speak to where the brand was at the time. We needed a strategy that was scalable to also meet future needs.
A heart-first approach to student outreach is our cornerstone. This means our talent strategy leads with passion, must always stay authentic to our brand, and be true to who we are as a company. There are three main reasons why this is fundamental:
1. Students will see through the BS
The simplest but perhaps most important thing we’ve learned working with students is to stay authentic. Students want the real thing, they can smell BS a mile away, and if they sense that your engagement is fake or a “one-hit wonder”, it will have a reverse effect on attraction.
2. A sense of belonging is the price of admission
More than ever before, inclusion and a sense of belonging is something that is expected, not a benefit. it is important to create an environment that engages (and allows!) employees to bring their best authentic self to work every day. But also, emerging talent are looking for companies who will take that message to communities as well. It can be in the form of social good or even leveraging the company’s platform in the world to make a stance on something they believe in — this is something Spotify frequently does. Deloitte, in their most recent Millennial Survey 2017 highlights these findings.
3. The Experience is Everything
Here comes the reality of the world we live in — students have options, and they know it. We believe students want more than information sessions that preach at them about what it takes to work at x company. With the way information is shared via networks but also the internet — most can look to that as a resource. What they’re looking for more than anything is a people experience that aligns with who they are. They are showing up to talks, meetups, or other types of events to get to know the culture of the company. At Spotify, we recognize and acknowledge that and look to create an atmosphere that is focused on connections and “good vibes”. We design our student events to focus on authentic conversations and experiences that align with our values: playful, collaborative, passionate, innovative, and sincere.
That’s how we get the right young talent to join us, and stay with us in the future.
We strongly believe we have the opportunity to make a positive impact on culture and even change the world by unlocking creativity. We are a mission-oriented company and that gives us the opportunity to connect with students in a unique and meaningful way. But we can only do that if we are sincere about it and get in it heart first. That’s how we get the right young talent to join us, and stay with us in the future.