Shell Global Recruitment

Overcoming an outdated employer brand

It’s easy to think of Shell as this giant, monolithic oil and gas company that’s mainly focussed on fossil fuels. And okay, perhaps that was even true once upon a time.

But they’re so, so much more than that now.

Trouble is, when we have a deep-rooted belief about a brand in our minds, our natural confirmation bias can make that perception hard to shake.

For Shell, that was getting in the way of their employer brand, and they were finding it tricky to get the message about what the energy industry is really like across to potential new employees – and graduates in particular.

The big question

How could we overcome people’s outdated perceptions of Shell to help the business attract the very best people?

Our illustrations from the project

The mechanics were simple enough.

We needed to create:

  • a completely new recruitment content marketing strategy
  • all the content for it
  • a full social-media campaign
  • ongoing hygiene and ad-hoc content
  • and a new end-to-end candidate assessment process.

About the design

Working closely with Shell Brand and staying within their guidelines we created a series of illustrations, animated videos, website assets and social media posts for this campaign. Our focus was to bring the content to life by producing a clean and engaging design for the potential new Shell recruits.

Shell Careers: Daniel Lee on harnessing solar energy - interview

The SeaShrooms Project — Daniel Lee: Animated video

Shell Graduate Programme: New Application Process introduction video

Why it worked

Messenger effects and familiarity biases

The campaign of content was delivered by real and relatable Shell people – who’d either joined the company as graduates or who had been inspired to join later on.

We tend to believe people who we perceive to be similar to us, so we knew that asking real Shell people to relay their experiences on video, in print, and via podcasts would be effective.

Storyteller bias

We engage with stories far more than other forms of information, which is why we created:

  • User-generated stories for International Women’s Day.
  • Video, animations and articles chronicling a graduate’s journey.
  • The career stories of 4 Shell employees.
  • Interviews with the incredible Shell innovations team.

Each were shared across video, social media, blogs, and long-form articles to showcase Shell’s culture of innovation, diversity, and opportunity.

Ease and simplicity

Before this project, Shell’s recruitment process was topping a full 240 days from application to hire(!).

So we created:

  • Simpler application forms.
  • A degree matcher tool.
  • A step-by-step video application tutorial.
  • A complete recruitment rewrite to make people feel valued no matter the outcome of their application.

The results

The overall candidate satisfaction score increased to 3.3/5, versus 2.8/5

Application form completions were cut from 35 to 5 minutes.

Recruitment times dropped from 240 to 20 days.

Shell continued to enjoy the best talent in the industry.

Giving candidates a verbal offer on the same day as their final assessment is so much more rewarding. It makes candidates feel very appreciated and nobody else is doing this yet.

– Shell recruiter

I finally had an insight into what the real Shell is like. The values, culture, and how vibrant workers are was so much clearer.”

– Shell candidate