Breaking through the on-campus clutter of competing recruitment campaigns, Werksmans has launched The Candidate Challenge 2012 concept. Very loosely based on the popular TV show, The Apprentice, The Candidate Challenge offers law students a chance to get an early foot in the door in the race to secure Articles.
‘The Candidate' who rises to the challenge and wins the public's vote will be guaranteed an interview with CEO Jeremy Botha for the firm's 2012 intake of Candidate Attorneys (CAs).
"Who will be the first to be hired? Play your trump card. Make an impression. Secure your place." This is the challenge that Werksmans is issuing to law students in their penultimate and final year of studies.
"We are throwing down the gauntlet on a special website and using other popular social media, including Facebook, to spread the word," says Chief Marketing Officer Nicky Holmes. "In this way, the firm aims to attract the best and brightest candidates with the characteristics essential for a successful legal career - drive, direction, intellect and commitment."
The Candidate Challenge is a dramatic departure from conventional graduate recruitment campaigns and was founded on the premise that students typically find potential employers intimidating. "Our campaign aims to uncover the unique potential of law students and give them an opportunity to shine, but on their own terms," says Nicky.
The campaign takes the form of a competition, which will run from 1 March to 31 August 2010. To enter, ‘The Candidate' wannabees first need to register on the dedicated website of The Candidate Challenge, which is located at candidate.werksmans.co.za.
On this website, hopefuls are able to watch an introductory videoclip featuring testimonials from certain CAs selected from the firm's 2009 intake. Each person profiled is an alumnus of one of the core universities Werksmans targets for recruitment purposes. The thinking is that these ‘bright stars' will act as credible brand ambassadors for students at their related university.
The entry process is simple: in addition to a standard registration process, potential Candidates provide a 150-word motivation as to why they believe they are ‘The Candidate'. They also have the opportunity to upload an optional videoclip to accompany this motivation. These are then posted to the website for the broader public and student community to view and then vote for their favourite contender.
The winning ‘Candidate' will be announced on 13 September and secures possibly one of 18 places Werksmans has open for Articles in 2012. ‘The Candidate' will become the face of the firm's The Candidate Challenge 2013 - providing candid insights into the inner workings of one of the country's top corporate and commercial law firms.
In an industry where recruiting methods tend to be fairly traditional, Werksmans is taking the opportunity to reposition itself as a cutting-edge employer by leveraging the power of social media and testimonial to support its brand message. "In the process, we are positioning the firm as approachable, direct and dynamic, as opposed to the remote, rather impersonal image that other more conventional campaigns tend to project," says Nicky.
Current Werksmans CA Yolisa Ngxabazi, an alumnus of the University of Johannesburg, agrees. "It's scary when you get to the end of your degree," she says. "You think...where am I going to go? I finished in 3.5 years instead of 4 - but on Soweto Campus we had no exposure to what firms were out there. So I Googled top firms. Werksmans' responded the fastest. When I went for my interview I was so nervous. I'd just written two exams. I had three fails and I botched my interview - but they still identified my potential. I come from humble beginnings but I have an edge that says I don't quit. It's about being creative, applying logic and being an all rounder, consistently. Werksmans saw that in me - because we share the same values."
May the best ‘Candidate' win!