Inside POSSIBLE CEE’s unusual shop, full of beautiful objects, where you can pay with your CV
When POSSIBLE CEE were looking to recruit international talent to their Budapest office, they figured that they might have to try something a bit more creative than the usual LinkedIn spree if they were to reach a wider pool of people. They knew that Budapest might not be top of mind for people looking for their next career move – but that the beautiful city has lots to inspire inquiring minds.
So, earlier in the year, they decided to set out their stall… literally. They created the ‘Shop of Possibilities’, an online store that would both sell the virtues of Budapest and entice talent to get in touch. The shop features a range of extremely covetable products that are all inspired by the city. There’s an elaborate Fleischer-esque art print of the famous riverfront, a beautiful box based on the Rubik’s Cube (a Hungarian invention) and some specially brewed craft IPA. The catch? Instead of using money to buy these objects, visitors can pay for them with their CVs.
Since the Shop of Possibilities opened, they’ve attracted inquiries from countries as diverse as India, Israel, Brazil and the United States. And they’re already in the process of hiring someone recruited via the shop.
LBB’s Laura Swinton caught up with POSSIBLE CEE ECD Giovanni Pintaude to get the lowdown.
LBB> What was the conversation that led to you deciding to do something extra special to recruit talent?
GP> From the very beginning we were looking for ways to go beyond the usual type of recruitment campaign. It is not that we don’t believe in the efficacy of posts on Linkedin or Xing, but we were talking about generating interest in our agency as well as recruiting new talent. So, it wasn’t so difficult to realise that we needed something special, something a little different.
LBB> And how did you get from that to deciding to create a shop?
GP> Some of our people kept on saying that it was necessary for us to “sell” Budapest and the experience of working in Hungary as a whole – and that was what triggered the idea of the shop. We simply decided to take that a step further and offer cool stuff from our region on our own website. Also, we realise that applying for jobs isn’t always a positive experience, so this was a way for us to make it one, by giving something back to the job applicant.
LBB> Tell me about the items for sale! I really like the art print of Budapest – who drew that and what were you trying to convey with it?
GP> The items you can buy all relate to our values as a global company – from the ‘interested’ Rubik’s cube, to the beer that is drunk ‘together’ and the mug which provides a ‘relentless’ caffeine hit.
The “Budapesque” print is special though. This is the only item on the shop that was designed in-house. We have a super talented illustrator working with us, his name is Sekond, and he is the guy behind the illustration. Budapest is a beautiful city, full of amazing attractions, so we wanted to show just that to the applicants - but not through tourist pictures or the typical map. That’s why the idea of creating a “surrealistic” version of the city came about.
LBB> The homage to the Rubik’s cube is cool too! Who designed it?
GP> Not everyone knows that the Rubik’s cube is a Hungarian invention. It was created by Ernő Rubik, who worked at the Department of Interior Design at the Academy of Applied Arts and Crafts in Budapest. The mirror cube is a modern version of it. It was not designed by us here, of course. It was created by Hidetoshi Takeji in Osaka, Japan.
LBB> And what’s the response been like so far?
GP> Great, actually. We are now planning on communicating it even further, to draw even more attention to it. We have already received several highly qualified CVs, from different parts of the world.
LBB> What’s been the most popular item in the shop?
GP> The “Budapesque” art print, for sure.
LBB> Who have you recruited as a result of this project?
GP> We have been noticing that the shop is somehow more appealing to designers and project managers - and it hasn’t yet called the attention of developers as much, so that is something we are still working on. So far, we haven’t hired anyone through the shop, but we are currently in the process of doing so… so it won’t be long!
LBB> Have there been any interesting/unexpected consequences of the project?
GP> We think that the fact that people having been talking about the idea on specialised media is an interesting consequence of it. It helps us not only to recruit new employees but also to promote our company in the market. We wanted to go big, to go international, to speak with many different people at the same time. So far, so good.
LBB> Who have you been hoping to reach with the Shop of Possibilities?
GP> We were aiming at developers and project managers first, then possibly designers too.
LBB> And what countries have people applied from?
GP> Hungary, Costa Rica, Brazil, Romania, Estonia, United States, Colombia, Italy, India, Israel and Austria.
LBB> What does Budapest have as a city to offer creatives from a lifestyle point of view?
GP> Budapest is a fun and vibrant place to work and live. You can find everything here, from bars to restaurants to movie theatres to museums. On the other hand, one can live a more relaxed, calm life here as opposed to the big centres of Europe, like London or Paris. The city can be inspiring too, as it has its own characteristics and culture.
LBB> Can you tell me a bit about the agency culture and what makes it unique in Budapest?
GP> We are a technology driven company. We specialise in all things digital, from backend and frontend development to mobile applications. We don’t simply talk about it, we just don’t follow trends, we make digital happen. It’s super inspiring for everyone, not just for developers, but also for creatives. Being so keen to be on the cutting-edge of new technology allows us to come up with innovative ideas and constantly make the difference for our clients.