A few months ago, the trainees were asked to promote Howard Kennedy’s training contract on social media. The deadline was looming and the trainee recruitment team wanted to make sure that we reached a wide range of candidates.

So there I was, sitting on the tube, thinking #millennial thoughts (how do I become more like Beyoncé, how can I make my #goals a reality, must make my brows more on fleek, hashtag hashtag hashtag etc.) and it hit me. Firms are always trying to provide a picture of what trainee life is like (in fact, that is the provenance of this blog), but it can be difficult to accurately and honestly portray the realities of our day-to-day responsibilities. What we needed was a way for potential applicants to have direct access to the trainees and for us to be able to communicate in a “live-action” context what we are up to. What better way than via Twitter?

And thus, the #traineetakeover was born.

I suggested that the Howard Kennedy twitter account was handed over to us trainees for a day, to host regular updates of our activities and to respond to any questions from applicants about our training contracts and applications generally.

Suitably briefed on dealing with the dreaded trolls, we went about preparing for the event. In advance of the big day we got in touch with our contacts in the graduate recruitment world, asking them to keep an eye on #traineetakeover and to retweet where they could, and I asked the trainees to start thinking about responses to questions which we expected to receive and to be prepped and ready to answer queries as they arrived. Then the day came, and I was handed the firm iPad, to the considerable concern of the Comms team…

The questions started rolling in pretty quickly, ranging from concerns about making a CV with strong academics stand out from the crowd, to etiquette for video interviews.

I think I spent most of that day trying to cram helpful career advice into 140 characters. In the end, responses dissolved into a patchwork of emojis: 

We also posted updates from trainees in different department all day.

In the interests of client confidentiality, I was forced to download a “blur tool” app (who knew such things existed?!). And then, as quickly as it began, it was over.

Analysis of the data from #traineetakeover shows we had quite an impact on our reach on social media during the day.

  • Tweets on the day resulted in approximately 15.5k Twitter impressions which is a 675% increase on our average rate.
  • A conversation about our art experts, in which Mark Stephens was mentioned, had an 8.9% engagement rate, a 742% increase on our average rate.

But the best result is that the campaign had a real effect on the traffic to our trainee recruitment page, with a significant spike in unique page views on the day, only beaten by the our graduate recruitment deadline day on 22 April:

I’m delighted with how well the campaign went and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from this it’s that if you think you have a good idea, run with it. It rarely hurts to increase your profile within the firm, and you could gain invaluable training in areas in which perhaps you were not so skilled before. Like selfies for example.