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Can a job seeker read your ad in 77 seconds or less? That's how long, on average, an interested potential applicant will spend reading a job posting before deciding whether it's a good fit, according to a 2013 study by job-search firm TheLadders. With such short time to sell yourself to a potential employee, you need to find creative ways to get their attention. That's why recruitment videos should be critical to your company's hiring strategy. 

The power of video 

Despite the fact that Facebook users watch a staggering 100 million hours of videos daily, a recent HubSpot survey revealed that 45 percent of Americans still want to see more video content. Organizations have recognized this appetite for video and, as a result, recruitment videos are becoming increasingly popular. As Forbes reports, while hiring videos were a rarity just five years ago, today they are fairly common — and effective. While candidates spend an average of 55 seconds viewing a text-only ad, according to a study by Ongig, they spend 2 minutes and 54 seconds watching a video ad. That's triple the time.

 

However, the medium itself is not enough to engage top talent. Recruitment videos need to tell a compelling story about your company and inspire candidates to click "Apply." As you work closely with your HR colleagues on recruitment initiatives, you bring a valuable perspective to the table: your ability to tell a great story. Outstanding stories are ones that entertain, surprise or give candidates a good laugh. You also need to leave viewers with a clear sense of what your company is all about, its mission and values — all without leaning on corporate jargon.

 

If you're ready to start developing a powerful recruitment video, consider these tips first: 

Think carefully about your goals — and your budget 

What kinds of candidates are you trying to attract? Good recruitment videos don't try to win everyone over; they have a specific type of applicant in mind. It's often helpful to write up a profile of your ideal job applicant before you plan your video.

 

While your budget will certainly inform many of your creative decisions, the good news is that a strong story doesn't necessarily need special effects or flashy editing. Take Deluxe, for example. The check printing company hosts a number of simple, yet powerful, videos. Each shines a spotlight on an employee who explains (in his or her own authentic voice) what it's like to work at Deluxe while highlighting the organization's CSR initiatives and commitment to work-life balance. 

Be strategic about length 

If your video is too short, you won't be able to include all the relevant information; if it's too long, you'll lose your audience. Find that sweet spot. One technique is to create two videos using the same footage — one 1–2-minute video and one 15–30 second video — then test both and see which most effectively drives clicks and shares. 

Start strong 

It's important to capture viewers' attention from the second the video starts. You want to paint a vivid picture of what it's like to work at your company day-to-day. Who would the job seeker's coworkers be? How does the team work together? Where does the team work? Give your applicants enough information so they can answer the question: "Will I fit in?"

 

Adidas has done this very well in a video featured front and center on the company's German headquarters main page. In the video, employees from around the world who work in the German office, many dressed in Adidas gear, welcome potential employees in their native languages — a sign that all are welcome at Adidas. 

Let your employees talk 

Include interviews with current employees talking — in their own words — about why they love working for your company and the opportunities they've had to grow and develop in their roles. Seeing a potential peer succeed can be inspiring for a prospective employee. Showcase your company culture and working environment by including footage of your office space, meetings and employees interacting and socializing with each other so your applicants can get a real taste and feel for what it would be like to work there.

 

Bloomberg is a great example of a company that has done this successfully. The company displays an auto-play video on its careers main page that shows excited, engaged employees in a sleek office space, and builds excitement even before potential employees delve into the careers section of the site. 

Finish with a clear CTA 

Job seekers should feel motivated to take action after watching your video. Be sure to leave them with all the contact information they need to do so, including where to go to explore job postings and how to apply to a specific job.

Deborah Lynn Blumberg has a decade of experience writing business and finance topics for The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, The Christian Science Monitor and Newsday. She was a Knight Center fellow and a Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism fellow and is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

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