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Recruiting Videos – a Peek into Culture & Brand

Posted by Eric Putkonen on 09/10/2015 in Recruiting articles |
Thank you to GotCredit (CC BY 2.0)

Thank you to GotCredit
(CC BY 2.0)

One of the things I am passionate about is recruiting videos.  Videos have an amazing potential for connecting with our ideal candidates and increase the quality of hire.

In the recession years from about 2008 to 2010, I and nearly all the recruiters I knew where out of work.  Few companies were hiring recruiters and so I started a video production business in early 2009.  I produced mostly “about us” videos and customer testimonial videos.

With testimonial videos, you don’t want to have it look like short film produced by a marketing agency (i.e. a commercial).  People don’t like or believe commercials.

I learned a lot about making those kinds of short films from working with various companies.  For example, people are not generally actors and are uncomfortable in front of a camera (perhaps a new experience even) and so it is best to make people feel comfortable by just having a conversation with you (in their own words…i.e. un-scripted).

When I returned to recruiting in early 2010, I had a contract at Deluxe in Shoreview, MN and was hired partially because of my video production background.  I was a float recruiter who also worked on talent engagement (talent community building on social media and looking into video).  Time did not allow me to do much video really, but I still dream of producing recruiting videos.

I believe in inexpensive, but semi-professional video.

Zi12How do you do this…you might ask?

  1. Do not use a Flip Cam!  I recommend a Kodak Zi12 (PlayFull Dual) or similar.  It has an external microphone jack.
  2. Get an external lavalier microphone – basically this means you can clip it onto the person’s chest.  This produces superior sound.  Nothing makes people stop watching videos faster than poor sound.
  3. Get a tripod – do not hand hold the camera!  Camera shake is annoying and the first sign of a total novice.
  4. Maybe get a photo light on a tripod (some offices or cubes are dark).  The Kodak Zi12 does pretty well in darkness though.
  5. Video editing software to edit out the content or empty space you don’t want and create nice transitions between pieces.

OR alternatively (if you have an iPhone or iPad):

  1. Get a wireless (bluetooth) lavalier microphone
  2. Get a tripod with the ability to hold the device or a handheld video stabilizing device (like a Steadycam Smoothee – which lets you walk around for more interesting shots)
  3. Maybe get a photo lamp on a tripod or if you went the Steadycam route a portable external light source
  4. Download a good video recording app (maybe FiLMiC Pro) and a good video editing app (depending on the features you want)

What kind of videos do I recommend?  “About us/the job” and employee testimonial videos.

For employee testimonial videos, I like asking current employees “why did you come here” and “why do you stay”.  Or asking them what makes their job cool or fun (technologies, opportunities, etc.)  You don’t have to worry about what they say, because you can edit out what you don’t like.  Don’t use a script…just let them speak in their own words about what excites them.  The honesty/candor, spontaneity, and passion will inspire potential candidates to apply.

For “About us” or “About the job” type videos, I like interviewing the hiring managers.  Potential candidates love to “meet”  and learn about their prospective hiring managers.  You can ask hiring managers to describe their management style…their ideal candidate…what makes the job difficult to fill…what makes the job cool or a great opportunity…etc.  Again, no scripts.  Anything that shouldn’t have been said can easily be removed in editing.

Thank you to Liren Chen (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Thank you to Liren Chen
(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

You can record stories as well, like a video about ‘My Career Path’ by people who have been there a long time and moved around the company.  Or if you have cubical decorating contests, that would be something to show on video.  That’s right, you can just show life at the company.  Think of these videos as mini-documentaries.

Also, you can have a video that allows potential applicants to meet the recruiters, talk about the do’s and don’t of applying (how to rank better as an applicant), about the recruiting process (it’s steps and length of time), and more.

Other advice that I would give if you are thinking about making some recruiting videos:

  • Again, do not use scripts.  Your employees are not actors and it will feel artificial, contrived, and fake.
  • Tell a cohesive story. Stories are more interesting and they sell your opportunities better. Don’t make illogical jumps.
  • Keep the videos short.  The drop off rate is a steep curve, so keep it to less than 3 minutes (2 minutes or less is ideal).  Make multiple short videos instead of a long one.  Edit out what is not essential.  Can you cut down 3 minutes to 2 minutes and still have the best parts and coherent/fluid story?  Brevity is key.
  • Try to work in B-roll.  Having someone just talk can be somewhat boring, but if you work in shots of them going to the lunch/break room, interacting with other people, and doing their normal daily things…then the viewer also gets to see more of the company.  Of course, some of the videos could be just people talking…but it is good to mix it up.
  • Remember, it is not about you!  The videos should be about getting the information that a potential candidate is trying to find out.  We don’t need to hear that you are a leader in the industry or you are in the Fortune 500.  This is not a commercial.
  • Do not list features…keep it all about benefits to the person if he or she gets hired.  Guide employees and hiring managers to talk about the benefits of working here…not about facts like your are the area’s largest employer, Fortune whatever, well-funded, etc.  Facts don’t sell.
  • Be transparent.  Don’t try to be what you are not.  Do not try to fake or stage anything.  I once saw a recruiting video by Google where they had someone walk up and start asking questions  – as if they did not know a video was being shot (with the camera, microphone, lighting, etc. behind the person).  It felt fake and contrived and greatly damaged the authenticity and honesty of the rest of the video.
  • Be different.  Try to capture what makes your company different (or more specifically, what makes working for your company different).  Stay away from things that everyone can say or does say.
  • Have a call to action – tell them how they can apply or find out more information.

If you are interested in the topic of recruiting videos, I invite you to check out our LinkedIn group  – Recruiting Videos.  I would love to have more active members and get some conversations going (and sharing our experiences).

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