The New Battle for Talent: Attracting Candidates in the Downturn

The New Battle for Talent: Attracting Candidates in the Downturn
Energy HR professionals discuss challenges and strategies of talent attraction in a volatile pricing environment.

The uncertainties surrounding the oil and gas industry may be a deterrent for some who are interested in future careers in energy, but companies are hoping to use the downturn to enhance their brand to attract job candidates.

While the industry is in its early stages of recovery, several oil and gas companies are focusing more efforts on talent attraction.

Dora Rodriguez
Dora Rodriguez, Talent Acquisition Manager, Spectra Energy
Talent Acquisition Manager, Spectra Energy

“There’s a little bit of everything in the talent acquisition arena – from branding to talent attraction, technologies and social media,” Dora Rodriguez, Spectra Energy’s talent acquisition manager said during an HR energy conference Oct. 20.

She said it’s imperative that companies are able to adapt to the changing laws of attraction and understand what its message should be as it changes – either due to acquisitions or growth potential.

Leveraging Social Media

In recent years, oil and gas companies across the world have begun to use social media to successfully recruit job candidates.

For example, Spectra Energy has an active presence on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

“We’re also dreaming up other pages; we’re looking at things we can do to continue to expand our presence and visibility in those spaces,” she said. “For us, social media is branding.”   

Christopher Buck, talent acquisition manager for Noble Energy, admitted like some oil and gas companies, Noble has been rather resistant to social media.

Christopher Buck
Christopher Buck, Talent Acquisition Manager, Noble Energy
Talent Acquisition Manager, Noble Energy

The company doesn’t have an official corporate Facebook page, nor any other social media pages. But after coming to Noble last year, Buck pushed for a social media presence for the company. He said the company is finally partnering with a third party to begin to create and oversee its social media. They’re also working to help with Noble’s corporate website.

“We’re going through a full remodel – to include videos, testimonials, and shots of our campus – things that people really want to know about the company,” Buck said during the energy conference. “Let’s face it. When most companies put together marketing material, if you take the name off and plug in the names of five other companies, the material could fit for all of them. We could do a better job of telling people who Noble Energy is.”

For a traditionally conservative industry such as oil and gas, using newer social media platforms such as Snapchat may seem foreign and its benefits may not be an easy sell.   


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Valerie is an experienced writer and editor dedicated to providing useful and relevant career news about the oil and gas industry. Email Valerie at


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Alfredo J Eloy | Nov. 23, 2016
I fully agree with Lynn Vars. Older workers are ostracized and neglected and the knowledge/experience they carry in their brains dies with them. One factor that contributes for the failure to get the correct talent is the reliance on needless certification processes and methodologies that become entry barriers preventing many workers to be able to continue to work.

Lynn Vars | Nov. 23, 2016
As usual the talent acquisition gap fails to account for older workers who have the energy and desire to contribute

Charles Drobny | Nov. 23, 2016
Clearly this is the largest problem to face the industry though just over the near horizon. While social media and other recruitment adjustments will be effective they only help the companies so innovating. It wont increase the overall pool of trained and motivated talent. The manpower pie is shrinking and getting self a larger piece is shortsighted. The industry needs to make the pie larger.

Jean Patrick NICAUD | Nov. 23, 2016
This is true but O&G companies shall also develop or reinforce more the competences of the worldwide potential talents they do already have within their organization integrating the generations together that in order to ensure a proper knowledge transmittal

Ian C. Lai | Nov. 23, 2016
I beg to differ. Before I was released from my previous company, I had worked for them for 8+ years, I thought that This.Was.It! I was going to work, grow and progress and eventually retire with said company. And then the down turn happened, and my rig got laid up and personnel released. Some 18 months on, I still dont see actual recruiting happening (my role is RSTC/HSE Advisor), and whatever drilling contracts are available out there, personnel are being called back to their last companies, if lucky, but not as a direct hire. Most are on agency contracts, and we all know who is really making the money there. So, I guess we still need oil prices to stabilize well over $50 or $60 or whatever the viable margin is to truly see the hiring frenzy. And then it would definitely be National crews first before International/Expat deals come by.


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