Recruiting Top Talent – Lessons Learned from NYIP

Another year, another successful New York Intern Project! The annual contest to find a top intern to join our team for the summer drew a large number of great applicants this year. After five weeks of public voting, a week of Skype interviews, and an intense day of in-person interviews and writing tests, the winner of Affect’s 2012 NYIP is the talented Katey Kimpel of the University of Akron.

The competition was intense this year, but Katey started down the road to success early when she submitted a compelling and professional video that included recommendations from fellow students and faculty. Her video was one of a kind compared to the other submissions. Katey also campaigned hard and attracted 1,205 out of the 15,935 total votes in the contest, which led her to become one of the semi-finalists for a Skype interview.

The NYIP judges and team members at Affect were impressed with Katey during the interview process as well, and we were happy to offer her the coveted paid, three-month internship that will prepare her to start her career in the industry.

This is the second year Affect has used a social media contest to recruit top talent for our intern program. Leveraging a creative recruiting avenue that encouraged a high level of participation from candidates was not only fun, but it also gave us multiple opportunities to interact with the contestants, get a good understanding of their strengths and personalities, and more easily identify the frontrunners. The contest also helped us differentiate Affect’s internship program from the many others taking place around the city this summer, which is key when competing for great candidates with other, potentially much larger, PR and social media firms.

Online contests can bring new life to recruiting efforts, build buzz around your brand and jazz up your internal team, but there are a few simple tips to follow to make sure your contest is a success:

  • Plan ahead: Lack of planning is one of the most common reasons promotions fail. Do your research and plan ahead as much as possible.
  • Don’t over-complicate: The simpler, the better. Have a clear message and a concise call to action so as not confuse or deter participants. Simple concepts are also better for marketing initiatives, since the message doesn’t get lost.
  • Leverage partners: Marketing partners/sponsors can expand the reach of your promotion and provide additional marketing channels.

We’d love to hear your examples of successful online contests or innovative recruitment tactics. Please share your ideas in the comments section!

If you’re interested in hearing more about how to developed and implement an online contest please contact me at: or @techaffect.