“Snaplications” Are a Thing: How Companies Like McDonald's and Grubhub Are Using Snapchat to recruit

June 15, 2017

20 times a day.

That’s how often Snapchat users age 25 and under are checking the app. Safe to say, “snaps” and “stories” have become a big part of people's lives. This is especially true for younger “digital natives,” or Generation Z — the post-millennials generation just now entering the workforce. According to a study, 81% use Snapchat every month, and 39% consider it their favorite app, compared to 23% for Instagram and 11% for Facebook.

And, employers seeking to reach a younger generation of candidates are catching on. Over the last few years, Snapchat has grown from a fun and under-the-radar way to build your employer brand to a full-blown recruiting strategy.

Here are a few examples of how different companies are leveraging Snapchat to reach a new generation of candidates. They might inspire you to give it a go.

McDonald's uses video ads and “snaplications” to appeal to young prospective employees

After launching in Australia in April, McDonald’s is bringing “snaplications” to its recruiting efforts in the US.

As of this June, the company will be running 10-second video ads featuring McDonald’s employees talking about their experience there. Anyone interested in a job can simply swipe up and be redirected to McDonald’s career webpage in the app. Once there, a built-in Snapchat lens lets the applicant try on a virtual McDonald's uniform and send a 10 second video on why they’d be a great employee.

It’s a pretty fun and simple way to apply for a job and McDonald’s hopes the Snapchat campaign will help them target young, tech-savvy prospective employees.

Taco Bell uses Snapchat to recruit its biggest fans for internships

Taco Bell is one of the first major brands to advertise on Snapchat, reaching young consumers with quirky “outside the bun” ideas, like its taco face-morphing “lens,” which was viewed 224 million times in a single day (a Snapchat advertising record!).

And in 2015, the company leveraged its thousands of followers on Snapchat to recruit for two internships at its California headquarters via Snapchat stories. Part of the interns’ responsibilities was creating and starring in the company’s Snapchat stories, which is why they chose to advertise the internships on that medium.

Through its internship pitch, the fast-food brand highlighted another unique advantage of Snapchat recruiting: reaching young fans and followers who are already devoted to the brand.

"We aren’t just looking for anyone who knows how to Snapchat and tweet,” said the original job posting. “We are looking for someone that is obsessed with Taco Bell.”

And, it was a big success - the company received more than 200 applications within a few days of posting the job opening to Snapchat.

Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase use campus geo-filters to target graduating college seniors

Goldman Sachs made clever use of Snapchat’s geo-filtering capabilities by targeting post-college hires with the app’s Campus Story feature. Unlike regular Snapchat “stories,” these collections of on-campus snaps (photos and videos taken by users) show up only when a user’s phone has been in a specific campus area within the last 24 hours.

Goldman Sachs—hoping to fight back against a trend of recent graduates passing up investment banking careers for less demanding alternatives—used the feature to promote its careers with brief sponsored segments that played during Campus Stories.

Meanwhile, Goldman’s competitor JP Morgan Chase sponsored the largest Snapchat ad buy of its kind last year, also leveraging the app’s geo-filter feature to reach recent grads. They purchased a number of ads to run in Snapchat’s on-campus stories, but it took the campaign a step further by also offering students the option to add sponsored “Congratulations” filters to their own photos and videos.

JP Morgan sees Snapchat ads as a less intrusive (and cost-effective) method of reaching graduating college seniors where they’re already hanging out. "You have to reach people where they are, and they're on Snapchat," said Kristin Lemkau, the company’s CMO, speaking to Business Insider. "And students in particular are living on Snapchat. It's becoming one of the most powerful platforms for brands."

GrubHub bakes a fun job skills test into their Snapchat recruiting pitch

When food delivery app GrubHub was seeking a social intern with “Snapchat skillz” in 2014, they turned the search into a full-on doodling contest through a series of images that displayed as their Snapchat “story.”

The snaps asked followers to send in their best doodles through the app, then directed them to an online application via Google Forms.

For GrubHub, this was a particularly clever way to use Snapchat for recruiting, since it was specifically targeting a social media-savvy intern—and was even able to bake a “job test” into the application process.

Cisco and AOL use Snapchat stories to show off their culture and employer brands

Cisco recently took a major risk and totally revamped their employer brand, significantly boosting its authenticity and effectiveness by handing its employer branding reins over to actual employees. With “trust” as their key word, Cisco lets an employee take over its WeAreCisco Snapchat account every single day.


The results include over 6 million minutes viewed and an A+, true-to-life employer brand.

Similarly, at AOL, the marketing team used 10-second Snapchat spots to showcase footage of actual employees at AOL’s offices, along with scenes from its interview series, AOL Build, and a promotion of #BuiltbyGirls, AOL’s program to invest in startups with female leaders. These sponsored ads were included in Snapchat’s “Discover” content and showcased AOL’s employer brand and commitment to diversity.

The campaign, which aired for one week, showed promising results: The video spots got 17 million Snapchat views and, according to a Millward Brown survey, increased application intent by a whopping 18% among viewers.

AOL’s ads were particularly effective at reaching Snapchat’s key demographic of millennial users — not to mention Generation Z coming up right behind them. "While the overall campaign also activated on Twitter and Instagram, because Snapchat reaches over 40 percent of the millennial audience globally, we felt that this was the best avenue for talking to millennials in a meaningful way,” said AOL’s Monica Cepak.

Snapchat itself leverages its geo-filtering capabilities to go after top tech talent 

When it comes to recruiting via Snapchat, don’t discount the social media leader itself, which can harness its features better than anyone else.

In 2015, Forbes reported that Uber employees were noticing a geo-specific Snapchat filter while working at Uber’s San Francisco office (and only there) that tried to playfully poach them from their current positions. “This place driving you mad?” asked the unique filter, with images of wayward taxis populating the bottom of the screen, alongside a link to Snapchat’s careers page.

Similar recruiting-minded filters popped up at the headquarters of Pinterest, Twitter, and Airbnb, and Snapchat spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker eventually admitted to deploying the ads as a “unique and playful form of recruiting.” Though some leaders might object to the home-turf targeting, it’s undeniably a low-cost way for Snapchat to recruit talent from the Valley’s top tech companies.

Final thoughts

Just a few years ago, Snapchat was still an emerging social media platform that most recruiters wouldn’t have considered next to behemoths like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Today, it presents companies with a great way to reach millennials, college grads, and the young digital natives of Generation Z — and don’t discount the recruiting power of its geo-filter features, either.

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