'This is a message from Edelman' - agency opens UK grad scheme to non-graduates and sends applicants on 'spy mission'

The world's biggest PR firm has opened its UK graduate scheme to anyone over the age of 16 in order to attract a "more diverse set of applicants" - with prospective joiners being asked to complete an online "hunt" in order to apply.

Edelman UK took on eight individuals through its graduate scheme last year, and intends to take on 10 people through this year's revamped Edelman Beta programme.

The main change in the scheme for 2017 is that it is now open to anyone aged over 16, meaning school leavers and people changing career or returning to work can now apply.

It also has an eye-catching new application process, with applicants directed to a specially created website, where they are greeted with a message from UK CEO Ed Williams.

A deliberately glitchy video, reminiscent of a spy briefing tape from a Hollywood film, jumps between Williams and a variety of other faces and voices, who tell applicants that Edelman is "changing fast" and wants to "rip up the rulebook" of PR.

The video then tells applicants they are "about to begin a hunt" and must "follow the clues we have left you", thinking "laterally" and "critically", in order to obtain a code which they must present in order to file an application. The hunt will take candidates across multiple platforms, apps and websites. The process was created and produced entirely in-house.

The firm says its new application process embodies its three values of curiosity, the courage to do the right thing and the relentless pursuit of excellence.

Williams said: "In today’s interconnected world, businesses simply cannot afford to simply follow the status-quo, and that includes how they attract the best talent. We are therefore bringing the job hunt to life by calling on our newest applicants to find the job – literally."

Of the scheme's new, broader eligibility criteria, he said: "Brands and businesses recognise the multiformity of their customer base, and as a communications agency, we need to reflect this. We want to attract a more diverse set of applicants who will help us think differently and originally, and ensure we’re even better equipped to solve our clients’ business challenges.

"We called the scheme Beta for a reason. It's a label usually given to software in testing, and just as Edelman is testing the candidates, they’ll also be testing and challenging us."

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