I helped MasterCard find the perfect intern



The case study goes like this... 

In the spring of 2011, MasterCard Canada wanted to hire 4 digital savvy interns. Historically, they used campus posters and got around 30 applications. We thought we could do better so we created a ‘Social Interview’ - an elaborate online exercise that used social media to pre-screen candidates and find the best and the brightest interns. 

Campus posters drove students to a Facebook fan page where a “like” unpacked valuable application info. They used Linkedin to upload a resume, cover letter and “something creative” that demonstrated their digital know-how. They followed MasterCard on Twitter to get updates. The candidates who created something interesting made the final cut and earned a face-to-face panel interview at a one-day workshop at MasterCard headquarters. 

But the story of how this campaign came to be is more interesting. 

Jeremy and Sarah were asked to make a campus poster to tell students about the MasterCard summer intern program. They showed me a bunch of designs... really nice work. But they were just posters. And when we sat down and took a close look at them we agreed that the whole approach simply didn't seem right. A poster -in isolation- didn't feel like the right thing to do. But, the budget was super tight. And so was the timeline. What to do?

I shared a story about how Google found engineers by posting a complicated math problems in places where they'd be seen by the right candidates. I wondered if the team could do the same kind of thing and make an even bigger impact with the limited budget. Could they use social media to find savvy interns? We brainstormed and in about 10 minutes had a solution. Jeremy and Sarah would build a "social interview" using all the free tools and online services at their disposal. They'd still do a poster, but it would be cryptic and drive to the online process. The whole experience was designed to filter and find the best possible candidates. The client loved it. And the results were amazing.

The campaign exceeded all expectations:

• 532 qualified candidates

•Facebook fans grew by 400% in 4 weeks – establishing a connection with a youth audience and a channel for future engagement

• 46% of MasterCard twitter conversations were about the intern program

• MasterCard hired an extra intern because of the quality of the candidates

• The Social Interview process is now part of MasterCard’s global recruitment effort

A crazy historical footnote: A few weeks before the campaign went live it was shared with R/GA (for a "gut check"). Turns out they liked it so much that they borrowed the idea, tweeked it a bit and used it for their own intern search. It won a bunch of awards. So, I guess -indirectly- we won a bronze Cannes Lion, too.

Jeremy Lenz | Sarah Deziel | ​Dave Stubbs