Spymasters’ cracking campaign to attract hackers

We love an innovative recruitment campaign, and today we’ve seen one of the best in a while.

GCHQ, the government intelligence service, has launched its latest recruitment drive, targeted at computer hackers. It has been reported that GCHQ is looking to recruit the best self-taught hackers and codebreakers the UK has to offer, and has taken a step away from its usual recruitment practices in order to achieve this.

The campaign takes the form of a dedicated microsite, consisting of what looks like a totally impenetrable code (impenetrable to the likes of me, anyway). The premise is simple – anybody good enough to crack the code gets a job interview.


Interestingly, from an employer brand perspective, the microsite doesn’t feature any reference to GCHQ. The organisation said the anonymity was: “in order that applying for a career in the department is not the primary reason for the participant to engage”.

A GCHQ spokesman said: “The digital arena is fast moving, and from a recruitment perspective we acknowledge the need to engage with prospective candidates in new and innovative ways. With this marketing initiative we hope to reach out to a broader audience, who may not be attracted to traditional advertising methods.”

Another interesting aspect of the campaign is its intentionally short shelf life. The site has a countdown to the end of the campaign, which currently stands at just under ten and a half days.

The campaign has been put together in conjunction with TMP Worldwide, and we think it’s an example of a clever bit of recruitment marketing that, as well as being eye-catching and fun, is also incredibly relevant and sets out to engage directly with the audience it is targeting.

Impressive stuff. Now, just give us a couple of months to solve the code…

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