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QR Codes – The Future of Recruitment Technology?


You’ve almost certainly seen them around – on print cartridges, food packets or even a sticker on the bus, stuck there by a guerrilla marketer.

QR (Quick Response) codes, first used in manufacturing, are gaining popularity in other sectors.

So do QR codes have a place in the recruitment industry?


Bridging the gap between the real world and the online world, if you scan a QR code with your smart phone you may receive someone’s contact details, a text message; it could take you to a web page or prompt you to write an e-mail.

As more job seekers turn to the internet to find a job, if used effectively QR codes could become a great recruitment tool.

Here are five ways you could use a QR code in recruitment:

1. CVs – Some tech savvy job seekers incorporate a QR code in their CV, taking you to their website, LinkedIn profile or even a video resume. If scanning the code takes you to a well though-out site optimised for mobile browsing, you’ll know you have a candidate who is keeping up-to-date with technology.

2. Graduate Recruitment: 53% of people scanning QR codes  are aged 18 to 34, making them ideal for recruiting graduates. Using a QR code in your recruitment process will show that your company is moving with the times and isn’t afraid to try new ideas – something many talented graduates will appreciate.

3. Networking – If networking is key to recruitment, quick response codes could be invaluable in making contact with talented candidates. Think business cards are out of date? Put a QR code embedded with your contact details on your card.

4. Career fairs & Conferences: If you’re recruiting, a QR code on your marketing materials could take job seekers to the ‘apply online’ section of your website.

5. Analysis: QR codes are trackable, giving you access to new set of data and ability to gauge the response to your recruitment campaign.


Do you think QR codes have a place in recruitment technology? Or are they just a passing fad? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so why not leave a comment below?

5 thoughts on “QR Codes – The Future of Recruitment Technology?

  1. Web Recruit on Reply

    I agree, it’s going to be really interesting to see how the technology is used.

    @ Filip
    You make lots of great points – when I was researching this article, I came across examples of QR codes used in subways where there was no signal and codes on billboards that were far too high for people to scan. Like any new technology, if it’s not used in the right way, it’s not going to work.

    You’re right that having a clear focus is key – it’s very easy to be swept away with the hype and try to do too many things at once. The strategy involving QR codes and free coffee cups sounds like it struck just the right note – definitely an example of how to use QR codes effectively!

    Augmented reality is definitely an exciting prospect. I don’t think it will be long before we’re seeing more of this.

  2. Paul Lewis on Reply

    Good article and some useful comments too.

    I’ve been working with a new technology (augmented reality [AR]) that can provide higher levels of engagement, social media tie-ins and an activity that has longer dwell times than QR codes.

    It still has to overcome the biggest hurdle, the number of smartphone users who can engage, but the potential for use in recruitment is there. Far more so than QR codes.

    We’re using it to show competitions, videos, buttons for social sharing and links to selected web pages (mobile enabled of course).

    It’s still in the early stages and I’d love to hear views and comments in relation to QR.

    I wrote an article recently on how we’re using AR for exhibitions and events, so there may be some cross-over with recruitment fairs.

    I’ll follow this conversation with interest.

  3. Filip Coertjens on Reply

    Hi Elle,

    Nice article!

    From my experience, I would add two rules of thumb when using QR codes for recruitment: think mobile, think conversion.

    1) Think mobile. Too obvious, but however one of the most common challenges. As QR codes are nothing more than a shortcut to a website URL, most marketeers seem to forget the website should be optimized for mobile. How often did I scan a code and was redirected to the web interface of the basic homepage! When using a QR code, you should always make sure it points to a mobile ready page.

    Also, print the QR codes at eye level. People should be able to approach the QR code very closely (approx. 1m max). Why? Because the distance changes the lighting conditions. Our smartphone camera will have more difficulties to scan the code.

    2) Think conversion.
    Because it’s relatively new, people are mostly attracted to scan the code by curiosity. But this curiosity will fade away as QR codes become more common.

    Two tips:

    – Always Mention The Carrot. What will the user get when (s)he scans the code? Why should he scan? If there is no direct reward, there is no reason to spend time on it. “Apply for a job” holds the promise of a reward, of course, but sometimes you need to give an extra (can be rewarding info, can be a giveaway).

    – What do you want to achieve? Do you want to enrich your candidates database? Or do you want to create employer brand awareness by showing your latest commercial? It’s all possible, but it should be clear from the start. Stay focused on one objective.

    It’s all about converting mobile users.

    Recently, we did a concrete case with QR codes for a company that was looking for Java profiles. At a specialized job fair we decorated our booth with POS materials containing one simple message with QR code: “We’re looking for Java developers. Are you looking for a cup of hot coffee? — Scan the code and get your free USB heated coffee cup”.

    Interested Java developers could leave their skillset and e-mail address in exchange for a coffee cup.
    On day one all coffee cups were sold out and approximately 100 quality contacts were witheld. A true success story, but only because we learned to take the following things into account:

    – The message was clear and referred to a reward.
    – The message was directed to the right target audience.
    – The QR code pointed towards a mobile optimized and custom branded website, containing a simple form that could be completed in 30 seconds.
    – Without the giveaway, we wouldn’t have got the same response rate. However, the costs of the giveaways were way below the cost of an advertisement in a recruitment magazine. Very cost effective.

    Like you, I really believe QR codes can be very valuable to the recruitment industry, on the condition they are used accordingly. And that’s were there is still a lot to learn and discover…

  4. James Lord on Reply

    I think so, despite QR codes being about a while they have become more common within the past year. Recruiters (as do marketers) have an opportunity here to get candidates and clients exactly where they want them to go, unlike just giving your homepage URL. It will be interesting to see how quickly recruitment companies latch on to QR’s going forwards.

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