By now, everybody has seen the Department of Finance recruitment video, but what can Australian businesses learn from it in terms of IT&T recruitment?


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks it’s more than likely that you’ve seen the widely criticised recruitment video unleashed upon the world by Australia’s Department of Finance.

Crossing over from the world of recruitment into mainstream media, the video has become something of a target, with plenty of jokes made at its expense both here and overseas. The story was even picked up by the likes of CNET and the BBC, which showcases just how universally wrong the campaign’s organisers got their approach.

But just what makes this video so terrifically hard to watch? There are plenty of other recruitment clips out there that are just as bad, but this one seemed to have an extra something special. The intent was clear – to attract great candidates and show the Department of Finance as a fun, engaging and inclusive place to work – an objective almost every business should aspire to.

The real problem, and one that Australian businesses can learn from, is that the video attempted to appeal too broadly. Let’s look at how this lesson applies to the recruitment sector in places like Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

Taking a tailored approach to tech recruitment

The Department of Finance video was obviously intended to reach a broad range of potential candidates with every type of age and demographic well represented – from experienced professionals through to ambitious millennial graduates. The intent is noble, but attempts to be so inclusive gave us lines of dialogue like “I’m actually off to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff network meeting,” and “I’m just heading downstairs for my paleo pear and banana bread. Would you like to join me?” which labour the point unnecessarily.

It’s easy to poke fun at the video’s awkward exchanges, but they aren’t the principal reason it fails as a recruitment tool. Instead, it’s worth looking at the approach itself, and how it compares to a more tailored and targeted hiring strategy. When companies are trying to attract the best and brightest, it’s always better to talk directly to them in language that they understand.

An example of this in the tech sector is cybersecurity, where there’s a real shortage of professionals to fill positions. Instead of a large-scale campaign, we at Talent have taken a more individually focused approach, setting up a dedicated team to recruit these individuals for Australian and New Zealand businesses. If there’s a specific type of employee you’re after, there’s no point beating about the bush. Take a proactive approach and go out to get the perfect person to fill the position.

The millennial question

Another key insight that can be gleaned from the video is the difficulty traditional recruitment methods are having with millennials. Paleo pears aren’t the answer, and instead industries should look more closely at what the next generation of employees actually want.

Challenging and fulfilling careers are still the best way to attract the best and brightest. In the current economic client, this might mean expanding positions to include contract roles, especially in the tech industry, which has a booming gig economy.

Of course, as always the best way to secure the best people for a position is to get the help of experienced and well-connected recruiters. The team at Talent are here to assist, so get in touch with us to find out more.