Use OOH to Recruit Passive Candidates

If you need better recruiting results, your recruiting strategy needs the OOH factor, out-of-home advertising, specifically billboards. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spend more than 100 hours a year commuting to work. That’s a lot of time for eyes on the road, eyes of passive candidates already employed who aren’t looking at online job boards or other digital media for openings. Eyes you could be capturing with outdoor advertising in the form of billboards for recruiting.

Why Add OOH?

Although recruiting has been sharply streamlined with the Internet and social media like LinkedIn and Facebook, adding outdoor advertising to your recruiting strategy is a highly effective and creative form of recruiting marketing. Billboards help you get the word out about your openings and drive traffic to your company career page. When you need to boost your recruiting results, you need to go big with billboards. The alternative? Not reaching candidates who are in their vehicles 100 hours each year.

Need some convincing? A 2013 study by Arbitron showed that outdoor advertising can go viral even without other marketing promotions. It also found that billboards can drive people to online destinations without giving URLs, and that three in ten viewers in select markets went online after seeing billboards. Could you use that kind of traction in your recruiting process?

If so, take a look at how the following companies are using billboards to get the attention of more candidates than with traditional recruiting tactics and social media alone.


Expanding fashion retailer H&M planned a national advertising campaign last year that included billboards along with other outdoor recruiting tactics such as a college tour in an H&M Airstream. With employees on billboards with slogans like “Five Weeks Vacation is Possible” and “Going Green in Black is Possible,” launched a hiring spree to support its 10 to 15 percent yearly growth.

Oil Online’s recruiting billboards present a simple message: “Upload Your Resume for Free. Energy Jobs.” It’s a simple, strong call to action that urges candidates to go to the website to apply.

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True Blue

Billboards let you make a big impact on candidates, especially when using emotion-evoking catchwords and visuals. True Blue, a blue collar staffing company, has “Unemployed” getting smashed by a wrecking ball is on its billboards, equating getting back to work with breaking through career low points. This is a great example of how showing what your company can do for candidates can create a powerful draw.


Workforce analytics company Visier caught coders’ attention with the simple question “got code?” and the direct call to action “apply (now);” on billboards. Using a play on actual programming code is speaking the language of their target audience, the coders they need in their workforce.

American Energy Partners

Oil and gas company American Energy Partners uses a graphic of an oil drilling rig on its recruiting billboards, along with their email address and “Now Hiring.” This offers direct communication and the feeling of a personal invitation to apply.

When the best candidates aren’t accessible through traditional recruiting, employers and recruiters have to get serious about creative tactics. Billboards get your recruiting message out of the digital sphere and into the outdoor arena where prospective candidates are not usually engaged with digital. They let you interact with people in a big way when they are not usually thinking about new job opportunities, letting you make a more memorable and proactive impact.

Think about your recruiting message, and how it could be whittled down to its simplest, most direct essence to be used on billboards. Would you ask a question to stir curiosity? Or use a strong call to action to get people to your career page? Would you include your URL or email address? Go big with billboards and add the OOH factor to your recruiting strategy today.


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