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Heineken’s new HR Campaign is as cool as any consumer ads it’s done

Oh, the places you'll go!

Heineken’s new recruitment drive, “Go Places” is led by a musical video featuring actual Heineken employees, inviting potential candidates to respond to 12 questions, which must be answered in three to five seconds. Based on the Enneagram model, the results give you a personal profile, which must be sent along with your CV when applying for your Heineken dream role on LinkedIn.

The “Go Places” site, created by Wefilm, Cloudfactory and Superhero Cheesecake (which managed the tech and interactivity), makes the interview process feel thorough, quick and surprisingly fun.

“Heineken revolves around the personality of their employees, and they want these personalities to thrive. That’s the main message that had to come across in a way that stands out from all other HR campaigns,” explains Wefilm director Lennart Verstegen. “This has to be the first time HR has released a really cool campaign, reflecting values in a way only Heineken can: Ever witty and smart.”

The “interview” is also a tribute to Heineken’s attention to detail.  Everything from the Interviewer’s clock, which shows your local time, to the beers and food he flashes before you.

“You see empanadas when watching in Mexico, and a noodle soup when viewing in Vietnam. The same thing occurs when presented a local beer—you see one that is actually local in your market: Amstel beer in the Netherlands (a Heineken company beer!) and Star Beer in Nigeria (also a Heineken beer),” says Verstegen.

“This way we can make the process highly relevant to different cultures, without it really sticking out like some crazy trick. It’s something I think is highly classy and intelligent.”

As soon as your results are generated you’re directed to Heineken’s LinkedIn page where you can search open jobs and select one that suits you

The story behind the ‘Go Places’ campaign is highly influenced by its employees.

“They wanted it to be a manifesto internally, for new employees and for new breweries, so they would feel what Heineken Company was about,” says Cloudfactory creative Jessica Kersten.

“The first day we started to work on the big idea, we stumbled upon an article in a Dutch magazine lying in our studio about Freddy Heineken,” Kersten continues, “The subject was how Freddy recruited his top talents. He had an interesting final interview that is quite different from what we know in the corporate world today. He used to invite the candidate and his wife—not too many female candidates at that time!—for dinner.”

As the candidate seated himself, Freddy would get a staged call from the HR department, requesting critical documentation. As Freddy’s chauffeur drove the candidate away, Freddy would grill his wife to find out who this guy truly was.

“Freddy knew that even though someone had all the right skills and experience, the personality mattered as much,” says Kersten. “He wanted managers that could handle difficult situations in different countries around the world. It would be romanticizing the creative process to say that ‘Go Places’ was born that day, but we kept that inspiring story at the centre of our idea.”

“It was like Freddy’s ghost gave us the key!” Cloudfactory creative Sandrine Huijgen exclaims.

Huijgen adds: “We spent a lot of time interviewing employees. As during Freddy’s time, employees are being sent around the world on difficult missions and need their personality as much as their skills to be successful.”

Other stories include the following:

“A few of the employees we cast in the film have a seriously crazy career behind them,” says Huijgen. “Dolf van den Brink was a long-time commercial director in Congo, and faced life-threatening situations during his tenure—he literally saved people by hiding them in the brewery during riots, and hid under his car … to avoid being shot at. Talking to him at a party is like having a beer with Indiana Jones!”

As far as Verstegen is concerned, “‘Go Places’ is game-changing, delivering a punchy message in a dry, corporate environment. We took Heineken’s wish to come with something that exceeds all expectations within that very serious ‘corporate world,’ and it is hopefully regarded as a place where people can be better off than before.”

“If you take the Interview, you feel the Heineken Company is unlike any other,” Kersten adds. “When you go through the questions and feel the humour, the energy and vibrancy of the employees, you want to join them! Finally, an interview is in reality a moment when a company and a potential employee evaluate if they are going to be a match.

“This is exactly what our interview is doing,” she concludes. “After you’re done, you will either think, I love this company or this is not for me. Heineken will use the results to talk about your personality in a real interview, and assess it to fit the company culture.”

The Heineken campaign is now live on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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