Last updated on December 16, 2022

Image Credit: Yotpo Studio
Tamar Tepper
October 9th, 2017 | 8 minutes read

In today’s competitive economy, recruiting is marketing. And just as with marketing, you’ve got to get creative.

Table Of Contents

Since I joined Yotpo three years ago, our office has grown from 50 employees in Tel Aviv alone, to more than 300 employees worldwide, with offices in New York and London.

As any recruiter at a growing startup knows, leading hiring efforts during these years of rapid expansion requires some serious creativity. Attracting the right talent is basically an art form.

This summer, we rose to that challenge in a whole new way.

This post will show you exactly how we pulled off our most exciting recruiting effort yet: The Bingo Recruitathon.

Read on to get some inspiration and find out how we saved the company over $70,000, brought in more than 500 referrals, and led to 16 new hires at our Tel Aviv office.

First, let’s lay the groundwork:

Why is hiring so difficult for a scaling company?

  • Endless open positions: Recruiting teams have a lot on their plate. They’re often also in charge of onboarding, training, enrichment, conferences, and employer branding. This is a challenge to say the least, and prioritizing so many important tasks can feel impossible.
  • Low budget vs. Quality hiring: No one wants to compromise on the quality of their hires, but startups can’t afford spending too much money or time on hiring either.
  • Communication gets tricky: A growing company means sprawling offices and fewer opportunities to casually catch up with hiring managers for feedback on interviews or other important updates.
  • Lots of “first-timers”: When you’re hiring lots of new people at once, your freshest employees may quickly become hiring managers themselves. They need more guidance on everything from filtering resumes to interviewing, which means a greater time commitment.
  • Competition: You’re not the only company out there, and candidates will remind you of that every day. Your employer brand should be the main focus in your efforts to stand out to potential hires.

The solution: A company-wide recruitment & referral month

This isn’t the first time that we’ve run a recruiting campaign. But this time, we wanted to focus on connecting our employees to our hiring efforts and to our brand as a way to increase internal referrals.

How do you raise the number of internal referrals?
Your employees are super busy and likely more focused on their day-to-day work than on the company’s job openings. A lot of times, even if they want to help, they don’t necessarily know how to nor do they know what you’re looking for.

You can measure the effectiveness of internal referral programs using ERE (Employee Recruiting Engagement) as a metric. Just divide the number of resumes referred internally by the number of employees at your company, and that’s your ERE. For example, if an office of 100 employees sends in 20 referrals, then the office has an ERE of 20%. This past year at Yotpo’s Tel Aviv office, we’ve ranged from 20% (in a bad month) to 50% in a great one. Our ambitious goal for this recruitment and referral month was to reach 100% ERE — meaning that each employee would make at least one referral on average.

We understood that if we really wanted to achieve this goal, we needed to create a great, fun story to engage our employees in the process.

And so, the Bingo Recruitathon was born: #YotpoBingo

On day one, our employees walked into an office full of colorful decorations, balloons, and giant posters of themselves and their officemates hanging on the walls. On each desk, there was a unique 5×5 bingo card, along with 20 gold star stickers. This wasn’t an ordinary bingo board — instead of numbers there were 20 faces of different employees randomly assorted in the squares. In addition to the faces (as you can see in the picture below), we put five “HR tasks” along the diagonal row.

Once a week, everyone watched on a live Facebook broadcast as names were pulled out of a hat. If a name matched a photo on your board, you covered it with a gold star. Players won a prize for completing a row.

Hiring and recruiting strategies for a growing company

Sounds fun, but how does this connect to recruiting?

Good question. First of all, there was a catch: You cannot complete a row without doing at least one HR task. Employees who completed an HR task were entitled to a blue star, given by HR only.

The HR tasks included:

  • Bring in relevant referrals
  • Share recruitment posts on social media
  • Get 40+ likes on a hiring-related social post
  • And way more…

The prizes for the game ranged from free juice or coffee to a double breakfast, and for the one big winner — a trip to Europe. You can work in great prizes at almost any budget to keep your employees excited about recruiting.

Hiring and recruiting strategies for a growing company

Keeping up the momentum

To avoid a drop-off in enthusiasm, it’s best to add in a few surprises. We came up with the idea of pop-up tasks — a time-limited task sent via email that could (obviously) pop up at any minute. By completing these tasks, players also got a blue star from HR, which they could put anywhere on their bingo board. These tasks could be anything from, “Anyone who finds a full stack developer today gets 2 stars for the price of 1” to ”Upload a photo with the hashtag #YotpoBingo,” or “Share a picture with your team on Instagram.”

Hiring and recruiting strategies for a growing company

Hiring and recruiting strategies for a growing company

Gearing up for the grand finale

Don’t forget to end off your recruiting efforts with a bang (you want everyone to be excited about the next round, after all). After 30 days were up, we held a live raffle in our cafeteria with ice cream and music, and we didn’t stop pulling names out of hat until someone shouted, “BINGO!” Everyone watched excitedly as the winner covered her bingo board and won the grand prize — a great end to a great month. At the New York office, everyone participated in a creative mission-based game, and the office pups had a mini ball pit set up, so they could also join in on the Recruitathon finale.

Hiring and recruiting strategies for a growing company

Fun and games — but with real results

During the first three days of the Recruitathon, we received 50 referrals at the Tel Aviv office alone. Two weeks in, we already had 250 referrals, and by the end of the month, we reached a record-breaking 500+ referrals! That’s more than 250% ERE! We also increased the number of visitors to our jobs page, from an average of 1,500 weekly views to an average of more than 5,000 a week! Our social presence was exploding and we started to get applications from all over.

Hiring and recruiting strategies for a growing company

Hiring and recruiting strategies for a growing company

And of course, the most exciting result was that we hired 16 people and managed to save more than $70,000 from our recruitment budget by choosing not to use any third-party platforms or hiring agencies.

Hiring and recruiting strategies for a growing company

More than that, our employees bonded with one another over the game, and they learned a ton about our hiring objectives. We were able to achieve these results because of the story behind it all, which everyone connected to.

In a marketer’s mindset, there’s always a story to tell, and it’s important to stick to your story.

In today’s competitive economy, recruiting is marketing. We look at the recruitment process as a marketing funnel: some leads are always better than others, and in our case, referrals are the best. Candidates, like customers, can lose interest in a second, so you need to build relationships with them through relevant, branded messages from the start. We try to convert these leads into applicants and eventually into new hires. How? By creating a positive recruiting experience for them that will ultimately lead them to recommend us to other “customers” as well.

Building a great recruitment story

Choose a theme that people can relate to: Use something familiar — for us, that was bingo. Everybody knows bingo, so it worked for our international offices.

Be human: Your recruiting story should be about people. We are social creatures; we like our friends, taking photos and sharing authentic experiences on social media. You just need to get your employees to relate your story to all of that, and they’ll do the rest for you.

Don’t take yourself too seriously: Use humor, it’s a great tool! You want people to connect to your story and talk about it. Try using funny pictures of employees and lots of playful content.

Be everywhere, all the time: Why limit yourself to only one platform, when you can be all over? In this campaign we used print, pictures, posters, social media, music, emails, Facebook Live videos, games, mobile, and more to make sure we reached everyone.

Create anticipation: Don’t just focus on the prize, make the whole process fun, and keep up an atmosphere of excitement in the office. A Bingo game with a “play-off” ending gets everyone involved and looking forward to the next step in the story.

Hiring and recruiting strategies for a growing companyRecruiting ads made especially for the Recruitathon.


Our main takeaways from this incredible month:

  1. Recruiting is a team sport!
  2. A low budget shouldn’t be a restriction
  3. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone
  4. When you work hard, you can play hard!

The next time you find yourself struggling with tough hiring goals on a low budget, think about how you can create a story that will engage the employees at your company and connect them with your hiring goals. When you succeed at bringing the people at your company together for this effort, you’ll feel like shouting, “BINGO!”

Hiring and recruiting strategies for a growing company