Ah, the recruitment video. For some people, this concept might evoke grainy VHS corporate marketing materials that seem contractually obligated to trot out as many clichés as they can think of—and, to be sure, there’s more than enough videos like that to go around. But as recruiting and recruitment marketing increasingly embrace the world of smartphones and social media, the recruitment ad can be a more vital piece of the talent acquisition puzzle than ever before. The rise of YouTube as a platform for video content in the last decade means that companies who are willing to put in the time, effort, and work to create a high quality piece of video content have more options than ever for finding an audience and attracting new recruits.
The hard part is creating a video ad that will showcase your employer brand and drive up applications. With a little bit of information under your built, however, the hard part doesn’t really have to be that hard after all.
Okay, let’s start with the absolute basics. In order to craft a high-quality recruitment video, you need to address all the elements that make up a high quality video, period. Obviously this means that you should concentrate on professional lighting, smooth editing and transitions, and music that fits with the message you’re trying to convey. If your employer brand is supposed to be inspiring, you might be better off with Bach than with Black Sabbath.
Just as important as nailing the basics of film technique (which is made increasingly easy by apps like iMovie), is getting the basic structure of a promotional YouTube video right. If your video is going to be deployed as a skippable ad, you need to be sure that it’s long enough that users who aren’t going to watch the whole thing will have time to skip it (so that Google AdWords doesn’t charge you). Likewise, you should make sure that the video has links and calls-to-action embedded within it. Don’t make your prospective applicants type a URL into their browser in order to submit an application or sign up for a newsletter—make sure they can do so simply by clicking on a link within the video. This way there will be no confusion about what steps your potential applicants should take next, and they’ll be more likely to enter your recruitment funnel.
Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s talk a little about how you should go about crafting the actual content of your video. How should you you decide on the right messaging and turn that messaging into a compelling video? Let’s tackle the first part of that question first: messaging. To begin with, you’ll want to think back to your employee personas. Which of your ideal candidate profiles are you planning to target with this ad, and which segments of your EVP are the most important to those candidates? If you’re targeting recent PhD grads to try and fill research positions at your company, for instance, you might want to focus on the caliber of your existing team, the important contributions it has made in its field, and the exciting resources that will be made available to your new recruits as they carry out their research. By contrast, if you’re targeting candidates who value the chance to make a difference in the world, you should highlight the positive impact that your products have had in the past, and the work that still remains to be done in furthering your mission.
Of course, what you say isn’t the only thing that matters. How you say it can be just as important. When it comes to recruitment ads, you need to convey your message in a way that seems authentic and believable. Though there is often a temptation to put your CEO or founder front and center in these types of videos, especially if that person is established as a thought leader within your field, you’re actually better off highlighting your employees and putting the focus on them. Your message will seem much more believable and relatable coming from the mouths of the people who work for your company, and it will be much easier for a future applicant to envision herself working with you if she's gotten a glimpse of your existing team. For our hypothetical research position, you might consider letting your other researchers talk about their work, the things that inspire them, and the resources that they otherwise might not have had access to. Be sure to showcase the diversity of your team if possible, so that no candidates will have to worry about feeling out of place or unwelcome.
By following the general outline that we’ve given above, you’re already well positioned to create a video that stands above the competition. But what steps can you take to ensure that your recruitment ad is not just good but great? From our perspective, the final check for your video should be whether or not it clearly and directly answers a few important questions for your audience: Why should I work here? What value will I get from working with your company? What kinds of candidates are you looking for? How do I apply?
Look over the content of your video. Does it answer these questions? If so, then you’ve got something with the potential to be effective at driving up applications and bolstering your talent pipeline. If not, you may need to rethink your strategy. No matter how slick, flashy, or otherwise impressive your video might be, it’s crucial to remember that without clear answers to the above questions it will be hard for your ad to convert impressions into clicks or clicks into applications.