Tackling emerging talent effectively – Deloitte and Pink Squid


A brief to fill 1,400 graduate, apprentice + undergrads, internships positions across six service lines is no mean feat. Here’s how the team went about it.

Fulfilling our promise to showcase more of the excellent work that’s been going on in our industry, next up is a spotlight on graduate strategy.

Already winner of the Best Graduate Recruitment Strategy at the 2017 In House Recruitment Awards, the work Pink Squid have been doing with Deloitte has also been nominated for a RAD Award in the Graduate Campaign category.

So, what have they been doing to catch the eye of the judges? In a word (or two), getting results.  

When tasked with attracting 1,400 of the most creative, lateral and forward-thinking early careers audience on the market, Pink Squid set out a comprehensive deployment plan using inhouse benchmark data. The tone of the campaign reflected curiosity – an element of the unexpected. Subtle tweaks included calls to action that were left open (“Read this information” became “There’s more information here”) so as not to dictate what candidates engaged in. There was also a request to speak to gender equality, as the male to female share of website visits and subsequent applications were 62% and 38%, respectively.


The team at Pink Squid established a channel of traditional media that referred back to four years’ worth of conversion statistics. 103 profiles were built. There was unique targeting without overlap, and video posts on social with real employees. There was one-to-one engagement with real FAQ sheets to humanise the brand.

It was a case of taking the best of what they knew and making it better. Here’s how:

  • They used similar audience algorithm by Google to find new and qualified consumers with shared interests. 
  • For Programmatic, they produced three sets of banners with three different messages – Challengers, Influencers and Thinkers – to identify which type of banner had a higher click-through rate for each type of audience (and optimise their Programmatic ads and minimise costs with improved CTR and CPA.)
  • They produced over 100 retargeting lists through use of DoubleClick floodlight tags with an expiry date set to 210 days for each list – allowing them to plug in their first party data with Google’s Similar Audience algorithm and generate 100 more target segments in addition to existing campaign target segments.
  • They overcame file size with the combined use of After Effects and Google’s web designer platform to render and upload high quality animation in HTML5 format on Programmatic.
  • And for each of the 103 audience profiles covered in the strategy, separate satellite campaigns were launched with 10% of the budget targeting women only. This resulted in an immediate shift in the male to female ratio and to date 42% of over 1,484 hires are female.


Critical to the success of the campaign was the ability to identify applications driven by the campaign messaging to each of those 103 target audience segments corresponding to sub business areas. Comprehensive tagging was implemented on 50+ key candidate touch points on the careers site, as well as 23 stages in the application process. It enabled the team to attribute each application to a business and sub-business area while monitoring targets.

What’s more, Pink Squid were able to share what was working with Deloitte using Dashboards. They built multiple templates to address data related queries covering at least 21 angles of campaign performance analysis. Not only CPA but quality of hires, candidate progression, and a large part of the reporting dedicated to gender equality. Reports are updated on a daily basis to enable optimisation in real time.

The results

This is what it’s all about. As a campaign, more than 42 million impressions have been served. 313,000 clicks have led to 33,050 applications in six months and resulted in some 1,484 hires.

The costs are reasonable too (if you want to know more about those though, perhaps it’s more polite to ask them direct). As an example, we’re sure they won’t mind you knowing that their programmatic cost per application has halved – which can’t be bad.

Tsz Wu said, “it’s a perennial problem, and the actual solution wasn’t really about creativity. The difference was how we used our tech to manipulate the vast amount of data to a minuscule level, optimising the campaign in real-time.”

So, on a final note, thanks to the team for giving us a more in-depth insight as to what they’ve been doing and how they’ve been going about it. And, of course, good luck to team Deloitte / Pink Squid for the RADs. A sentiment that we want to extend to all the nominees. We’ll look forward to hearing the results, as well as reporting on more of the best in the months to come.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

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Tackling emerging talent effectively – Deloitte and Pink Squid
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