Every year, the Rally Awards celebrate excellence in Recruitment Marketing and employer branding practices that attract and recruit talent through social and digital channels, as well as practitioners who have demonstrated how they’ve moved the needle to make a difference in their organization.
Ugo Nwankwo, Marketing Manager – Employer Brand at Amazon Web Services (AWS), was recognized this year as a Recruitment Marketing Rising Star for her pivotal role as the first-ever Employer Branding and Content Marketing Program Manager at her previous employer, Texas Instruments (TI).
Despite no longer being at TI, the Recruitment Marketing and employer branding framework that Ugo helped to stand up, and the processes that she put in place to drive and measure progress, will have a lasting impact on the company’s Recruitment Marketing function.
Before we get to our Q&A with Ugo, let’s learn a little more about her achievements.
Meet Ugo Nwankwo, 2022 Rally Awards Recruitment Marketing Rising Star
In her first full-time role at TI after graduating from Rutgers University with a double major in Marketing and Human Resources, Ugo quickly found her passion for employer branding and content marketing. This passion led Ugo to become TI’s first employer branding and content marketing program manager in October 2020.
At the end of 2021, she launched TI’s first integrated Recruitment Marketing campaign targeted toward university students, which resulted in over 1200 applicants and 700 new contacts in the first 45 days. She also led the first-ever global social media campaign to recruit interns in 2021, in which she launched a global student-focused page on TI’s career site that generated 3,000 visitors in 30 days.
We could dedicate an entire post to all of the ways Ugo impacted TI’s employer branding and recruitment. Beyond playing a pivotal role in building the company’s first-ever Recruitment Marketing program, she also advanced and advocated for employer branding amongst her colleagues in DEI, communications and talent acquisition, while collaborating with these groups to create and amplify content to attract top talent.
To celebrate her win, and hopefully impart some of her wisdom to our community, we sat down with Ugo to learn more about her career, her approach to Recruitment Marketing and what’s next.
Rally: So Ugo, how did you get started in Recruitment Marketing?
Ugo: I had an interest in both marketing and HR, and studied both in school. After graduation, I entered the Marketing Associate Rotation Program at TI, where I rotated through different functions within marketing and communications. One of the roles I rotated through was Recruitment Marketing, and everything just clicked! I’ve been loving this space ever since.
Rally: What do you enjoy most about working in this space?
Ugo: I enjoy being able to apply my marketing skills and knowledge in a way that is people-focused. I also enjoy being able to use my HR degree.
Rally: What’s changed the most about Recruitment Marketing since you started your career?
Ugo: The recognition and respect for Recruitment Marketing has changed the most since I started my career. With the help of the Great Resignation, Recruitment Marketing has gone from a “nice to have” to a “must do”.
Rally: What skills do you think are important for other recruitment marketers who are looking to forge their path in this space?
Ugo: For other recruitment marketers who are looking to forge their path in this space, I think the two most important skills are data analysis and perseverance. In this space, we continually have to show the value of the work we do and get buy-in from leaders. By being able to understand the metrics and results that come from your efforts, and show them in a meaningful way, you can better demonstrate why more budget and resources are needed for Recruitment Marketing.
I’m not sure if perseverance is considered a skill but it’s so important in this space. Many times, practitioners are working on teams of 2 or 3 people, or are even the only ones at their company doing this important work. Oftentimes, the resources just aren’t there. We may try something new and fail. It can get really difficult and really frustrating, but we keep going because we’re passionate about this work and this space.
Rally: How about you? What do you think has helped you to be a successful recruitment marketer?
Ugo: I think my curiosity around why people make the decisions that they do, and my love for authentic stories have helped make me a successful recruitment marketer.
By understanding what different types of people are looking for in an employer, I’m able to develop campaigns that align with those needs. Being able to share the stories of employees helps humanize a company and also lets candidates be able to see themselves there.
Rally: What project are you most proud of to date?
Ugo: One of the projects I’m most proud of to date is launching the Students and New Graduates page of the TI’s careers site. I put together the page on a super short timeline with minimal background information and resources.
With help from the web project manager, I was working with at the time, I was able to launch the page ahead of fall campus recruiting season and drive a lot of good traffic. From start to finish, it took about two months.
Rally: Can you describe an experience with failure in Recruitment Marketing and how you handled it, and if you learned anything from it?
Ugo: A failure I had was in updating an important piece of collateral that was used in campus recruiting. I didn’t pay close enough attention to the changes that were needed and ran into version control issues.
I worked with the university recruiting team and creative team to get the brochure updated and completed. It wasn’t ready before fall recruiting season, but was done within a few weeks of it starting. I learned the importance of dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s in everything that I do.
Rally: Is there anything you’d do differently leading up to where you are now?
Ugo: Honestly, there isn’t anything I’d do differently leading up to where I am. I am sooooo grateful and lucky to have found Recruitment Marketing so early in my career and to now be at a company (AWS) that understands the importance of Recruitment Marketing and employer branding.
I’m also happy that I’ve been able to find communities like Rally, who educate, celebrate and bring together practitioners.
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Rally: In your opinion, what is the area that deserves the most focus from recruitment marketers right now?
Ugo: The area of Recruitment Marketing that deserves the most focus right now is data. Being able to track and analyze Recruitment Marketing tactics will help practitioners best understand the value of their work.
When recruitment marketers can track applicants and hires that came from Recruitment Marketing, cost per applicant and even retention rate of hires gained from Recruitment Marketing, people won’t be able to question the value of this work.
Rally: What about the future of Recruitment Marketing? Where do you see it going?
Ugo: The future of Recruitment Marketing looks like unity between Recruitment Marketing and corporate communications, talent acquisition and marketing organizations at companies. I see Recruitment Marketing having a seat at the table in all these spaces because they’re all intertwined and contribute to a company’s employer brand. I’m excited!
Rally: What’s next for you in your career?
Ugo: I’ve started a new role at AWS as a Marketing Manager for early career talent. I’m excited to grow as a Recruitment Marketing generalist over the next few years, and then specialize in one specific area (such as social media, long-form copywriting or analytics).
Rally: Any final thoughts you want to pass on to the Rally community, especially those just starting out or looking to take their career to the next level?
Ugo: Keep going! The work that you’re doing is necessary!
Interested in reading more about the Rally Awards? You can see all of the 2022 award winners on the Rally Awards website.
Be sure to also stay tuned for more lessons from our award winners in the weeks to come!