13 Pieces of Advice for Creating Recruitment Videos

Recruiting and employer branding videos are an important part of a talent acquisition strategy. Here’s some advice for what to include.
Recruiting video advice

Video dominates social media feeds; soon, it may also dominate recruiting.

“The war for talent has not been this bad in many, many years,” said Jeff Hyman, adjunct lecturer of management and organizations Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and chief talent officer at Chicago-based executive recruiting firm Strong Suit Executive Search. “Using every possible, conceivable angle and tool has become a necessity for recruiting.”

Video is especially effective at storytelling, which is why it’s so valuable in advertising. The same goes for recruitment, Hyman said, as video brings elements to life better than a written job description.

Specifics of video creation, content and promotion can be daunting, though. Here are 13 pieces of advice for using videos in recruiting:

1. Share the basic information. Viewers will want to see the physical environment and the company’s people in action, but they will also want to hear why the company is unique and a great place to work, Hyman said. It’s also important to have a person’s job title appear on screen with them. Providing context of what the person does will help viewers.

2. Include the right people. “Candidates do not want to see a video of just the CEO,” said Will Staney, founder and principal consultant of Proactive Talent Strategies, a recruitment consulting firm based in Austin, Texas. “That is not going to give them an idea of the actual experience for them.” Instead, have a mix of various levels at the organization. Include the same people with whom the candidate would interview. Briefly feature the company’s leadership, having them talk about values and mission of the company, but also show a direct peer and someone in a cross-functional role.

3. Highlight questions candidates tend to have. “The more you can answer their questions pre phone screen or pre interview, the more you can get down to just assessing the mutual fit rather than the typical FAQs [during the interview],” Staney said. People tend to want to know what it’s like to work at the company and what kind of people do well at the organization.

4. Keep the videos short. “It doesn’t have to be an epic movie,” Hyman said. Keep videos between two and five minutes long.

5. Make multiple videos. Because different people can have dramatically different experiences in their day-to-day work, it would be beneficial to have videos targeting different audiences, Hyman said. For example, software developers could talk about products built and tools used, and sales could talk about customers and travel. Hyman suggested producing videos all at once to save money, and then releasing them in stages to keep content flowing.

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6. Keep it genuine and fun. “I want to see the video and say, ‘This is a place that sounds interesting, and these people sound interesting, and I’d have an interest in learning more,’ ” Hyman said. And although people should consider what they’ll say in advance, scripts should not be part of the video. “It’s got to demonstrate authenticity,” he said.

7. Include a call to action. It would be a missed opportunity to have a viewer sit through a video, be interested in the company and then have nowhere directing them to learn more or apply for a job, Hyman said. Make sure there’s a next step that sends the viewer to a landing page on the company’s career site. The video should also appear there with a description of the company and potentially with bios and images of individuals featured in the video, he said.

8. Promote extensively. “You want to share it far and wide, high and low,” Hyman said. Videos should appear on various social media channels, particularly Facebook, which has targeted ads he has found to be very effective.

Hyman also advised leaders to include a link to videos in every job description, which will help the posting come to life. Additionally, sharing videos to Glassdoor and LinkedIn pages for the company can help to address any negative reviews.

Before promoting, however, it’s important to first think about the target audience of the video, said Robin Dagostino, director of employer branding and creative media at SAP, an enterprise resource planning software company headquartered in Germany. Based on where the intended viewer spends their time online, that’s where SAP places the video, including LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, Monster, Wayvo, university websites, WeChat, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. SAP also encourages employees to share videos to their personal social media channels.

9. Include the right people in production of videos. If wanting to get employees involved, the company can make it a contest, Hyman said. Employees can shoot their videos and then email them to human resources. “You can actually make it a unifying event for your company,” he said.

While internal talent can be valuable in creating video content, companies typically use their marketing department or hire specialized firms externally, Staney said.

10. Watch out for copyright issues. People in the video shouldn’t wear clothes with branding on them. This is a commercial video, so be careful of potential copyright infringement, Staney said.

Additionally, don’t use copyrighted music without owning the license or without paying a royalty for it, Staney advised. Algorithms will catch that on YouTube or mute them. Get royalty-free music, purchase licensing rights or record your own.

11. Match music to the tone. If it’s more of a serious, documentary-style video, use softer music. If it’s a fun, goofy video of an office party, choose an upbeat tune. “Just try to match the music to the true feel and tone of the video,” Staney said. In the end, music shouldn’t be a distraction from the content and things that people are saying.

12. Update videos every couple of years. Even if an employee leaves, it’s typically not necessary to redo the video, Staney said. As long as the main elements and cultural items shared are still true, it’s just fine. “You’re capturing a moment in time,” he said. It doesn’t make what’s in that video any less true a few months later, unless the company has dramatically transformed. However, if the company name changes, moves location or is acquired, then an update is in order.

13. Explore live video with caution. The recruiting world will see more live video, Staney said, which is typically unfiltered and unedited. There will be employers doing live question-and-answer sessions with hiring managers and leaders, in which candidates can join and ask questions to have it be more interactive.

SAP has found success in its live video content, which includes Q&As between department heads and outside audiences, Dagostino said. The company also takes live video of speeches its managers make at conferences. Employees in videos should be prepped on content to discuss, without it feeling too staged or scripted. One of the biggest challenges is with audio, so it’s important to be sure connections are good.

“There’s always challenges that you face,” Dagostino said, but if one does their due diligence, they should see success.

Not everyone thinks live video is a good idea, so leaders should be cautious. “Live video makes me really nervous,” Strong Suit’s Hyman said. “A lot of things can go wrong.”

Lauren Dixon is an associate editor at Talent Economy. To comment, email editor@talenteconomy.io.