These are the best 10 recruitment marketing cases in the Netherlands and maybe also in Europe…

The 10 nominees for the Werf& Awards of 2024 have been announced. Which of the cases do you think is the best? As a member of the public jury, you can now choose from the following 10 contenders…

Peter Boerman on April 24, 2024 Average reading time: 10 min
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These are the best 10 recruitment marketing cases in the Netherlands and maybe also in Europe…

Three years ago, it was Abdij Koningshoeven and Alliander who took home the jury prizes at the Werf& Awards, with the public prizes going to DPG Distribution and Jumbo. Two years ago, awards were added for the AIVD, YoungCapital, and – again – Jumbo, followed last year by Partou, Eiffel, Schiphol, and Defense. Who will be honored this year and allowed to add a beautiful award to their mantle? Over the past few weeks, no fewer than 57 submissions were received. After which the expert jury today could announce the first selection of 10 nominees for the Awards.

Over the past few weeks, more than 55 submissions were received for the Werf& Awards.

The 14-member expert jury had a tough job again this year, in multiple sessions – both physically and digitally. Because this year again, there was a lot of quality among the submissions. Each submission is something a recruiter can learn from. Plus: a particularly great diversity. And how do you compare all these cases well with each other? Which ones are really innovative, inspiring, a role model for the profession? And how do you weigh the available budget in this? Eventually, they came to the following 10 nominees, in 2 categories, where voting can take place until and including April 25 (jury day):

Vote now

In the ‘Labor Market Communication’ category

In the ‘Labor Market Communication’ category, the 5 nominations are (in alphabetical order):

Alliander – The energy transition is impossible

The energy transition impossible? Quite a bold message for a network operator. But it’s precisely that unexpected twist that forms the basis of Alliander’s successful labor market campaign, which certainly did not go unnoticed. Because, according to them, the energy transition is only impossible if it happens without you. Look, and then you immediately have proof for your message.

Alliander rolled out a big campaign for this. Starting with a full-page manifesto in the national press, followed by (online) radio, highway masts, social video, and retargeting to convert website visits to applications. With results including 115% more visitors, and 71% more applicants. Plus: an improved image on all fronts. After the campaign, Alliander is not only considered technically strong but also more as involved, people-oriented, future-oriented, socially relevant, and innovative. You might almost say: what more do you want? Yes, an Award of course…

Bol – Value your Perspective

More tech professionals are needed, but on a slightly different note: at Bol, they are looking for good developers and other tech talent. And for that, they decided to focus on women now. By showing role models from within their own organization, they discussed, for example, how AI creates bias, and they asked AI how it would deal with recognizable life stages for women in the workplace, such as menopause, speaking up, and pregnant applying. Then, real projects are also discussed on the site.

This turned out to have quite an impact: recognition of the employer brand rose among the female target group by no less than 52 index points, the statement ‘Bol helps women grow in tech’ rose by 44 index points. ‘Influencing the consideration to work somewhere is the hardest to affect and even that statistically significantly increased by 10 index points, a beautiful result for an awareness campaign,’ according to the submitters of the case. And even at the bottom of the funnel, a clear result can be seen: the share of women in tech hires at bol has since increased by as much as 7 percentage points.

Etos: An out-of and in-the-box campaign

Imagine: you are a retailer known for cosmetics and care products. And imagine: you need many new employees. How nice is it then to connect those two things with each other? That’s exactly what Etos did last year, with a recruitment campaign consisting of a care line specifically for new employees. From Laugh Wrinkle Cream to Career Tiger Balm and from Your True Face Lotion to Heart Air Freshener. ‘This way, we let everyone discover and experience how good a job at Etos feels, and we also made that directly tangible, smearable, and sprayable!’, according to the submitters. And all under the motto ‘Working at Etos. That feels good.’

Working at Etos feels good. Experience working at Etos through Etos' spray and spreadable recruitment campaign. Read the entire Etos case that was submitted in the Labor Market Communication category for the Werf& Awards 2024.

In all stores, the products (and thus the EVP of Etos) could be tested. Supported with print, PR, social, and sampling. It led to a significant boost in brand awareness, but especially in brand preference: that increased among part-timers by no less than 83%. The cost-per-hire thereby decreased by 41%, while both the number of applicants and hires increased by between 10 and 20%. Yes, that naturally gives the recruiters at Etos a laugh wrinkle or two, you can imagine. And maybe also an Award soon?

Leger des Heils – This job is not for you

Undoubtedly the most intense campaign among this year’s submissions comes from … the Salvation Army. The organization wanted to shed its ‘nice’ image, and show the raw reality of the 7,000 paid care professionals. With the goal of attracting the right candidates who can handle the intensity of the work and are willing to take on the challenge. Thus, an online campaign was developed that centers on the intense client group and where you look over the shoulder of the employee in difficult situations, with the tagline: not for you?

The campaign delivers one that really hits home but also generates results. In 8 months, 10 million impressions were realized on socials, and the number of applicants increased by 30%. Also, the quality of the applicants went up, according to Ruud de Groot (submitter of the case). And at the same time, the image of the Salvation Army changed: instead of being recognized as a ‘nice volunteer organization’, it became increasingly recognized as a ‘professional care organization’. A bold, yet strong approach all in all. Something for you to vote for?

NS – Train your Skills

The pun ‘Train your skills’ is of course gold for the train company, and too good to pass up. But that’s not the only reason why the NS campaign to recruit more (vocational) mechanics is worth a nomination. Because it’s about one of the scarcest target groups in the Netherlands, which moreover does not always have NS as a potential employer in mind. But with the ‘Train your skills‘ campaign, the organization still managed to get their attention, and at the same time load the term ‘train technology’.

The campaign, which ran until February 2024, via META, Snapchat, YouTube, and Reddit, ultimately delivered 38.5 million impressions, with a view percentage of the videos well above the benchmark. The visit to the landing page increased by no less than 1,458% compared to an average month, and the visit to the mechanics vacancies by 133%. The number of applications was even 150% above the monthly average in January this year. ‘With this campaign, we introduce and load the term ‘Train Technology’ and thereby lay a foundation for structural recruitment in the coming years,’ according to Claudia Zwitser, on behalf of NS submitter of the case.

In the category ‘Recruitment’

In the ‘Recruitment’ category, the 5 nominations are for (in alphabetical order):

Municipality of Amsterdam – apply for traineeship

How do you, as a large municipality, select 14 MBO students for your very first MBO traineeship? The municipality of Amsterdam turned to IVY Works for this purpose , and together they developed a number of game-based assessments that measure various personal characteristics, with which you can then make a prediction about the likelihood that someone has a certain competency. This led to a selection process, without a CV and motivation letter, but with a focus on cognition, emotion recognition and personality, among other things.

The trainees with the mayor of the municipality of Amsterdam; Femke Halsema.

The result? 185 applications, no reading long CVs but targeted matches on the profiles, one effective interview round and ultimately 14 enthusiastic trainees who started in September. “By looking at what someone can and wants, and not at what a candidate has already done, the most striking combinations have emerged,” according to the applicants of the case. ‘For example, a graduated chef is working at ICT, someone with a sports training is working as an administrative assistant and a trainee with a diploma in aviation services is working at the ICT service point.’

Maasstad Hospital – Sites by walking

This year there is one nominee from healthcare in the ‘Labor Market Communication’ category and two in the ‘Recruitment’ category. The first of these comes from Rotterdam’s Maasstad Hospital, known for example for how they use AI for their recruitment, but nominated here for their approach, where they let candidates walk through the hospital with a recruiter without obligation. This so-called ‘Full Nurse’ route takes them past the contemplative, cutting, and specialist departments, and afterwards results in an appointment card (attached to cool Maasstad socks).

How do you recruit experienced nurses in a tight labor market and with a limited budget? By letting them walk through the hospital. Read the entire case of Maasstad Hospital, submitted in the Recruitment category for the Werf& Awards 2024.

It is an accessible approach, which also creates a lot of success. ‘We ended up hiring 3 nurses in different departments. In addition, we have also made people enthusiastic about starting a training course. The campaign was well received by the target group and colleagues,” according to the initiators. And that for a budget of only 900 euros. ‘It is precisely by making time as an entire organization to attract new colleagues that you create a strong recruitment foundation. In combination with creative communication, more is achievable than you might think in advance.’

Praxis – Putting the saw in traditional recruitment

Originally submitted in the category ‘Labour market communication’, but placed in the ‘Recruitment’ section by the jury. And there is something to be said for that. Because this case is clearly at the intersection of a campaign and a daring new approach behind the scenes. The well-known DIY company only employs one recruiter, but he has managed to create a very data-driven approach, resulting in an always-on campaign that makes channel and budget choices based on returns.

‘ Predictive recruitment’ in combination with local recruitment, that’s what they call it. ‘For example, if a branch was faced with understaffing, all mechanisms came into effect: the campaign was launched through various channels, where the degree of understaffing determined the media budget. If a branch had a stable staffing level, we actively did ‘nothing’, despite open vacancies. We fulfilled this with organic resources (non-paid). Result: significant budget savings and deployment of resources only where the business needs them most.’

‘With 50% less budget, achieve better results than ever before. Do we need to say more?’

The largely automated and integrated process led to a 37% increase in applicants in stores and a 7% increase in hires. And that is for 47.4% less budget. The match rate also rose considerably, from the previous 14% to 65% for applications and even 60% for hires. Why should this case win a Werf& Award? According to the submitter, Employer Brand and Recruitment Manager Niels van Lindenberg, that is simple. ‘With 50% less budget, achieve better results than ever before. Do we need to say more? And this in an era when the labor market is very dynamic and competitive.’

Radboudumc – Continuous recruitment of nurses

On to the next healthcare case, and we find it at Radboudumc in Nijmegen, which is competing for prizes with no fewer than two entries . It is the recruitment case that most appealed to the jury in advance, and it shows remarkable parallels with the aforementioned Maasstad case. Here too, potential colleagues can shadow the nursing wards, so that they get a realistic picture of the working environment. But there’s more here. For example, they regularly organize Meet & Greet events where potential new colleagues can talk to nurses from different departments.


In addition, the hospital also offers interested parties the opportunity to request an online exploratory meeting. An accessible form of personal advice that has a remarkably high conversion rate of no less than 90%. And also special: colleagues are actively involved in every selection process so that they have a say in who is hired and a personal and careful approach is guaranteed. The current nurses assess CVs, invite candidates for orientation days, guide them, and also conduct selection interviews. A fairly integrated approach that justifies an award?

Randstad & Equalture – Finding forgotten talents

Another case that underlines the power of game-based assessments. And from probably the best-known party in the Dutch labor market. Randstad faced 2 major challenges: on the one hand, finding enough suitable candidates for Customer Contact positions and, on the other hand, reducing the high turnover among this target group, due to difficulties they often experienced when completing mandatory training.

Randstad shifted the focus from traditional CV requirements to potential based on cognition and behavior.

In collaboration with Equalture, a game-based assessment platform, Randstad shifted the focus from traditional CV requirements to potential based on cognition and behavior. By analyzing the performance of current Customer Contact professionals in the games, they identified the key competencies of high-performance professionals in an unbiased manner. And they were also able to adjust their selection process based on this.

That led to remarkable results. For example, 70% of employees hired in this way ( 33 in total), based on their CV, would normally not even have been invited for an interview. In addition, the dropout rate decreased from 32% to 18% during the course . “This new approach not only led to more placements, but also a better and fairer match, and is therefore still used,” the authors of the case said. Or, as Randstad’s Operational Manager puts it: ‘Precisely because these are many people who have experienced labor market discrimination, intrinsic motivation seems to be a lot higher, which leads to an extremely pleasant working atmosphere.’

You can vote now

What do you think is the best case? From today until April 25, 2024, you as the public can vote for the 2 x 5 nominated cases for the Werf& Awards. The voting works as follows:

  • Someone who votes must leave their email address. You can vote a maximum of once from each email address;
  • You can vote for a maximum of 3 cases per category;
  • Voting closes on April 25, 2024 at 5:00 PM.
  • The case that receives the most votes in each category will win the audience award of the Werf& Awards 2024.

Vote now

This year the presentation of the Werf& Awards will take place on May 28 during the large-scale Werf& Live in the Rijtuigenloods in Amersfoort. 

  • Not among the 10 nominees? We still enjoyed you all! Thanks for participating! Take a look at all this year’s entries here.
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For more information, see Werf& Awards.

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Peter Boerman

Peter Boerman

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