Come and share the passion

CERN's Recruitment Unit has set itself the ambitious goal of enhancing the visibility of employment opportunities across the broad spectrum of the Organization's activities in all the Member States. CERN is now present on all the main social media sites. 


CERN is the world's largest physics laboratory, operating machines that are among the most complex ever built by mankind. Particle physics is a highly competitive field, and CERN's facilities attract physicists from all over the world. This is not without its problems, however, as it tends to deflect attention from the other professions and skills. "Studying the number of applications, we realised that some sectors were not sufficiently visible on the employment market, with the result that supply did not always meet demand", explains James Purvis, head of the Recruitment Programmes and Monitoring (HR-RPM) group. "What's more, CERN is finding that some Member State employment markets are harder to penetrate than others." These findings led the Recruitment Unit to set up a new communications strategy.

To get the ball rolling, Leila El Baradei, a member of the RPM group, commissioned a Swedish company to benchmark our recruitment website with the best in Europe. "The study enabled us to identify our weak points", says Leila. The problem stems not from the e-recruitment and application management system (ERT) but from the fact that CERN's job opportunities are not sufficiently visible and do not highlight the essential messages such as the exciting nature of our work, our rich cultural diversity, etc.

In today's world, a simple job description is no longer enough to get young people interested. The Recruitment Unit is working on nothing less than a communication plan that aims to enhance CERN's image as an employer. "What's missing today is an answer to the first question on any job-seeker's lips: why should I choose CERN in preference to another employer?", says James. "Our goal now is to present job offers as opportunities for the candidates, rather than in terms of CERN's own requirements". A study carried out by a British company specialising in communication has highlighted six factors that define CERN as a unique employer: purpose, challenge, integrity, collaboration, imagination and quality of life.

The Recruitment Unit's new approach also involves placing emphasis on the wide range of professional opportunities CERN has to offer new employees, whatever their level of studies, skills or number of years of experience. "All skills and professions are needed for the Organization to function", says Anna Cook, a member of the RPM group. "Our role is to make sure that new job vacancies convey the right message, based on the six factors identified in the study".

Having established the new messages, the Recruitment Unit is turning its attention to communicating them through various media, including videos, brochures and postcards. "As well as publishing vacancies on CERN's web site, we are organising our recruitment campaigns on four different fronts: multi-posting of our vacancies targeted towards specific professions and trades and specific Member States; creation of CERN job profiles on the most popular professional and social networking sites to improve our visibility and enhance our image as an employer; pinpointing of and active participation in events such as recruitment fairs, company presentation days, etc.; and creation of a key skills pool allowing candidates to submit spontaneous applications", Leila concludes. 

Look up the Recruitment Unit on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Xing, Plaxo, Linkedin, CGN, Viadeo and Myspace. Don't hesitate to contact the Unit directly if you need any further information.

Did you know?

A recent world-wide study of 130,000 people has shown that Google is the world's Number 1 most desirable employer and this is largely attributable to its employer branding, training opportunities and working environment (e.g. look up 'Working at Google' on YouTube).

by Laëtitia Pedroso