astonished little girl with her computerIn HR and recruiting we embrace technology to make our processes more efficient and effective. We also use technology to reach out to people, put the company culture on display and establish a brand. Well, this is where we can take a page from WestJet’s book. They did a phenomenal job of using technology to humanize their brand and well…rock.

Watch this short video (maybe not at work, ‘cause you’ll probably tear up), and then find out how the principles that WestJet used can be worked into your recruiting and hiring processes.

Personalization and Humanization

As passengers walked up to the Santa on the video screen, he prompted them to scan their boarding passes and then he magically knew them all by name. This meant the world to the children, but the parents seemed to be even more thrilled. People love and respond to personalization. Automated responses are great, but the right technology can make those automated communications personalized. Candidates need to feel like a person, not just a resume.


The passengers were pleased just to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas, they didn’t even expect what was to come. They had smiles on their face just by being asked. It’s amazing what you’ll find out about candidates if you ask and then listen. Concentrate on turning screenings and interviews into less of an inquisition and more of a conversation. Again, a full on embrace of technology can help with this. Recorded video interviews put almost all of the talking on the candidate. It really is about them after all.

Rapid Response

WestJet didn’t send the presents at their own convenience. They didn’t forget anyone, they responded to their solicited feedback, and they did it quickly. Rapid response in recruiting is just common courtesy. The “don’t call us, we’ll call you” attitude has no place in this industry. You’re asking something of these people, respect their time in return. Again, personalized, automated communications really improve the candidate experience.

Giving Back

The money that was spent on a digital Santa, hundreds of gifts and man power could have very well gone into advertising or a new break room. It didn’t; it went to showing their customers that they are valued. There are so many ways to conveniently give back. A new company called Recruit4Cause donates 10 percent of the proceeds from a job listing to the charity of your choosing. Couldn’t be easier.

Creating Brand Ambassadors and Giving Them a Voice

You can’t buy customer loyalty like this! Well…I guess that’s actually quite literally what they did. However, the lesson here is that WestJet found a way to make ambassadors by making ambassadors (if that makes any sense). By giving happy and loyal customers a voice, via this video and social media platforms, they are creating a ripple effect of brand lovers. Happy employees and candidates spread the word, but beware, so do unhappy ones.

Get Market Minded

Recruiters need to start thinking like this marketing genius. Using multiple outlets to share successes and achievements, display the brand and build the company culture. Show off, and be inventive about it. Your products are those positions; how are you going to sell them?

Have Fun!

It’s obvious that a lot of hard work and resources went into this project, but when you see those employees dashing to the store in their Santa hats, don’t you just want to be them?! Fun in the workplace has been proven to increase productivity and engagement and stimulate creativity. Creating a fun work culture really is largely in the hands of those who hire and/or create policies…ahem, you.

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