It’s a common tale. You want to use sites like YouTube to bolster your recruiting efforts, but you don’t know where to start. Or, your recruiting efforts aren’t getting the traction you had hoped for, and you’re not sure what steps you can take to turn your efforts around. In point of fact, YouTube can be a particularly challenging venue for recruiters, not because it doesn’t offer the reach and the tools to help you succeed, but because it is in many ways unlike any other social media platform of its size. Creating video content and managing campaigns through AdWords will be new experiences for many, and some of you may find yourselves a bit daunted. Luckily, though there may be many potential hurdles that recruiters on YouTube will have to overcome, none are insurmountable!
1. Getting the Viewer’s Attention
YouTube’s pay-per-click infrastructure is set up such that for pre-roll ads (i.e. ads that play before the viewer’s selected video), users are actually able to skip your ad before it’s over. Of course, you don’t pay for these skipped videos, but getting your audience to watch through to the end of your message is still the most crucial building block for drumming up qualified applicants on this platform. Recruiters need to grab the viewers’ attention right off the bat, and they need to hold on to it long enough to convince them to submit an application. Difficult. But not impossible. There’s certainly an entire blog post’s worth of material on getting your video just right, but for the sake of efficiency we’ll just say that professional quality lighting and editing are important, but not as important as highlighting your team and what makes it unique.
2. Defining Your EVP
To an extent, this hurdle and the one above are interchangeable. Businesses often fail to engage the viewer meaningfully precisely because they’re not doing a good job of laying out the specifics of their EVP. That is, they’re failing to answer the question, “What’s in it for me? How will a job with your company benefit me?” As it happens, the workaround for this hurdle is much the same as it is above: focus on your people. If your company offers new hires exciting educational opportunities, what better way to highlight that than to shine the spotlight on someone who has directly benefited from them? Likewise, if you pride yourself on your collaborative environment and closely-knit teams, show them at work, discussing the things that are important to them and the role that collaboration plays in their daily lives. In this way, you give potential new recruits not just a sales pitch, but a real inside look into your company and the unique benefits that it can provide.
3. Optimizing for Conversions
Let’s say that you’re following all of the advice we’ve doled out above, but you’re still not seeing the kind of results you’re hoping for. What might be happening? Possibly, your videos (whether they’re ads or not) aren’t optimized to drive conversions. Picture a scenario: a passive job seekers sees your video; she feels a connection with the employees that she sees discussing the work they’re passionate about, but then the video ends without prompting her to take further action. There’s no call-to-action, no link to a landing page, no exhortation to apply. What’s she likely to do next? Sure, she might search for your company on Google and try to find the job she’s interested, but it’s just as likely (probably more likely, in fact) that she won’t be motivated to take the next step, and she’ll fail to enter your recruitment funnel in any meaningful way. Luckily, this scenario is easy enough to avoid. YouTube gives you the option to place calls-to-action and links at various points and at various locations throughout your video, and there’s no reason not to do so. A link in your description is nice too, but you should make a point of ensuring that there’s little to no unused real-estate (short of inserting so many pop-up links in your video that the viewer gets annoyed) when it comes to directing viewers to the appropriate landing page.
4. Segmenting Candidates
Speaking of appropriate landing pages. Because most recruiters will be using YouTube to target passive job seekers, who may fall under the auspices of multiple different candidate personas, it’s crucial to make sure that you’re properly segmenting your audience and ensuring that the right content goes to the right users. Of course, the first step to accomplishing this is reaching a point where the right content exists. It might seem like more trouble than its worth to craft separate messaging for each candidate persona, but if you have the resources it can be a good way to maximize the effectiveness of your employer branding efforts. Once you have segmented messaging, you can begin to build your content strategy around it, targeting users based on these segments and using different links and CTAs for each different segment. If you’re trying to drive up applications to particular positions, be sure that your videos link to landing pages specific to those positions.
5. Optimizing Bid Strategy
Because YouTube advertising is run on AdWords, it’s often saddled with a complaint that’s common to Google advertising formats: it’s too expensive. Depending on how you manage your campaign, this can certainly be the case. This is why it’s so important for recruiters to optimize their bid strategies when they’re rolling out video ad campaigns. Start by developing expectations for how many impressions and/or clicks should lead to a hire, and then divide your expected ROI for each hire by the relevant number. This should give you a rough idea of what you can afford to spend per click—but you’ll have to keep updating these estimates as you go. If your budget is constraining you to a bid that doesn’t yield results, it may be time to try a new set of targeting options or a new YouTube employer branding strategy entirely.