Is your business looking for innovative and talented new employees? By using non-traditional recruiting methods like social media, you may see a new side to potential employees.

Recently, CGA Alberta’s Next Top Accountant contest, run by the Certified General Accountants’ Association of Alberta, helped recent Alberta graduates take a less traditional approach to the dreaded job search. Instead of crafting resumes and donning business suits, 14 students across Alberta submitted online videos in an effort to win a paid summer internship with Husky Energy Inc., the sponsor of the contest.

The five contestants explained why they deserved the internship, as well as showcased their unique and creative talents in their videos. The creators of the top five videos with the most “Likes” via Facebook would then earn the chance to compete in a business case competition, with the winner walking away with the title of Alberta’s Next Top Accountant, the internship and a $3,000 cash prize.

“This was a creative way for students to demonstrate their talent and expertise,” said John Carpenter, CEO of CGA Alberta. “The competition highlighted the students’ creativity, and the business case showcased their ability to analyze a case and think clearly under pressure; skills that may not be apparent on a resume or in a job interview.”

The contest also gave CGA and Husky the chance to actively observe the drive and talents of the upcoming generation of accountants. In addition, the submitted videos went viral in only a month, with CGA Alberta’s YouTube channel receiving more than 17,000 visitors, 88,000 pageviews, and nearly 8,500 votes.

Some contestants made music videos, wrote their own songs or produced an animated feature; one student even solved two Rubik cubes at the same time. Overall, each student strived to showcase his or her creativity, teamwork skills, dedication and interest in order to gain the most “likes” from the public and from CGA professionals.

The top five contestants then presented a business case on North Okanagan Winery to a panel of judges, including Carpenter, Manjit Minhas, CEO of Minhas Creek Craft Brewing Co., and Husky Energy’s Kristal Kaye.

Karla Gourdeau, a third-year Bachelor of Business Administration student at Mount Royal University, beat out the four other contestants with a presentation that impressed both Carpenter and the judges with its level of professionalism and innovation.

Gourdeau says the title of Next Top Accountant will look amazing on her resume and “will set [her] apart from other job candidates”, potentially helping her earn a job in her chosen field despite the challenges of the current post-2008 job market.

“This contest was an innovative approach intended to attract the interest of post-secondary students as well as the general public, educating them on what it takes to become a CGA,” added Carpenter. “It generated healthy competition among emerging talent.”

CGA Alberta is responsible for the education, regulation and promotion of Certified General Accountants in Alberta. There are more than 75,000 members and students working across the country and around the world, at every level and in every sector.

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