New Hampshire Department of Corrections

2019 Hermes Creative Gold Award winner


New Hampshire Department of Corrections

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections (NH DOC) faced a critical shortage of Corrections Officers to staff its three state prisons. While the job offers excellent benefits, a combination of factors including public perception of the job and the state’s historically low unemployment rate made recruitment very difficult. The opening of a new prison and the additional staff required there further complicated the situation.


After interviewing dozens of NH DOC employees from recent recruits to senior management, we realized that success hinged on shifting the perception of the job among people who may be interested in this type of career and educating them on what the job actually entails. We had to present being a Corrections Officer not as a job, but as a path to a stable, rewarding career.


It wasn’t enough to simply increase the number of applications. We had to increase the number of qualified applicants. So it was critical that we develop profiles of the people who are most likely to become successful Corrections Officers. Messaging and multi-channel advertising was developed to specifically speak to the needs and desires of these audiences.


A campaign was developed that incorporated digital, media outreach and a new recruiting website. Using actual NH Corrections Officers, we created a series of videos that emphasized the job’s respect and career opportunities. Through the first 3 months of the campaign, NH DOC received almost twice as many applicants than the entire previous year and more than 100 applicants were involved in the hiring process.