Positioning a
services firm as
an employer of
choice for

Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton is Ireland’s fastest-growing professional services firm, offering audit, tax and advisory services to privately-held businesses, public companies and public sector entities in all industries. With over 1,350 employees nationwide, the firm recently increased its graduate hires to address both business growth and the evolving needs of its client base.

The Challenge

As Ireland nears full employment, the war for talent has intensified and the new generation entering the workforce — Gen Z — is looking for more than just a job: they want purpose, engagement and opportunities for career development. When Grant Thornton set a goal to hire 170 grads in 2018, the firm needed a recruitment campaign that would not only help it stand out but also align with its target audience’s values.

The Approach

After qualitative research that included stakeholder interviews, graduate focus groups and surveys, we uncovered four key themes that separated Grant Thornton from its competitors:

+ A rapidly growing business where employees are not just a number
+ A flat open structure where everyone is respected as an individual
+ A level of autonomy that allows graduates to grow and reach their full potential
+ A supportive environment where hard work is recognised and appreciated

Given that most graduate campaigns were taking the ‘We’re different’ angle, there was an opportunity for Grant Thornton to connect with students in a way that its competitors could not.


Creating a compelling graduate message

We knew from our research that graduates appreciated the fun, friendly vibe at Grant Thornton. We developed the proposition ‘Less that, More this’ to differentiate the firm from its competitors and appeal to students seeking more than just a stepping stone on their career path. Instead of saying Grant Thornton was different, we used the ‘More this’ element of the messaging to highlight all the ways that the firm’s values aligned with what Gen Z was looking for.


Pulling in top talent

We crafted a communications plan that was edgy, approachable, authentic and shareable. Hand-drawn elements, playful photography and bright colours were used everywhere from the firm’s website and social channels to its grad brochure and video campaign, accompanied by a friendly tone-of-voice that reflected the Grant Thornton personality.

Knowing that bite-size, visual content was more likely to attract Gen Z, we developed GIFs, memes and short grad-centric videos that would prompt a visit to the Grant Thornton website to learn more. These GIFs and memes were also used for backdrops, pull-ups and other displays at campus events and recruitment fairs.

Additionally, current grads featured heavily in both online and offline activities, appearing in brochures, videos, photography and blog posts, as well as at off-site events, adding to the human look and feel of the campaign. They also pushed out content on their own social channels, which helped drive traffic to the website.


By developing an edgy yet relatable campaign that resonated with its target audience, Grant Thornton smashed every one of its initial goals. Not only did the firm successfully fill 170 open graduate roles, but it also received a whopping 82% more applications in 2018 versus the previous year. The icing on the cake, however, was Grant Thornton’s bronze win for Best Student Marketing Campaign at the 2019 gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards.

If you need help bringing your graduate recruitment campaign to life, get in touch with us today.

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