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The Recruitment Marketer's Guide to YouTube

SmartDreamers Team
3 min. read

Employer branding comes in all shapes and sizes. Often, when businesses attempt to spread their employer brand and educate potential applicants about their EVP they’ll make use of traditional advertisements comprised of text and images. These types of ads are often fairly easily transferred from one platform to another, and while they certainly reward effort, skill, and dedication, they needn’t be especially complicated or resource intensive to produce.


When it comes to videos, things are rather different. As a medium for transmitting your employer brand messaging, video content requires a high degree of commitment and a willingness to devote real time and resources. This turns many businesses off from using YouTube as a recruitment marketing platform—which is a real shame, because YouTube can actually be a powerful tool for attracting qualified job candidates who gel with your corporate values and EVP. The question, from a recruitment marketing standpoint, is: why might that be the case?

Why YouTube?


YouTube ads generally play before someone’s selected video, and users typically (unless the video ad is relatively short) have the opportunity to skip the ad after a few second and get straight to their content. This might seem like a downside, but in point of fact it presents marketers with really interesting possibilities. Because you only pay by the click on skippable ads, someone refusing to watch the entirety of your video is not the end of the world. And until the option to skip becomes available, you have a unique chance to grab the attention of your audience and make a real impression with your messaging. Banner ads and sponsored content on platforms like Facebook and Twitter can certainly be useful, but nothing else quite offers the immediacy of a narrative unfolding front and center before your target persona’s eyes in the form of a well-constructed video.


Not only does YouTube’s ad infrastructure (which is run on Google AdWords, by the way) give you a chance to really grab the attention of potential applicants, it also, by virtue of being the world’s platform of choice for video content, gives you the chance to present something honest and authentic with the potential to really resonate with your audience. Videos give you a unique opportunity to showcase your existing team and let others know what it is that makes them tick, motivates them, and inspires them to put in their best effort for your company. When it comes to content like this, your people are your biggest asset; and by showcasing a diverse and engaged team, you can help potential new recruits to envision their own possible lives and careers at your company.


Not only does a recruitment video focused on your team and your company culture and values give you the chance to communicate clearly and engagingly with your candidate personas, it also lets you define that culture in an eye-catching, dynamic, and memorable way. By using a strong, distinctive visual language, appropriate music, and a well-defined aesthetic that meaningfully reflects your company’s EVP, you can create a much more lasting and memorable impression than even the most artfully constructed banner ad.

Common Hurdles


YouTube gives you the chance to tell the story of your brand and let potential applicants know what value they would get from working with you in a way that’s exciting and new. With that lofty potential for making an impact, however, comes a few challenges that you’ll need to overcome in order to succeed. Like we said above, you’ll need to be committed to creating professional quality visuals: this can be done on a budget, but it can’t be done without a high level of attention to detail and a knowledge of best practices. You can find our guidelines for crafting a video here, but the upshot is that the video shouldn’t be too long, it should focus on your employees and their stories, and it should be optimized for conversions.


That last point is the one that sometimes presents the biggest stumbling block for people. Too often, businesses craft smart, compelling ads that establish their business as an employer of choice for their field, but fail to include a call-to-action or any direct links to their online applications. YouTube makes it fairly easy to embed links and CTAs within a video, and this is an absolute must if you want to turn impressions and engagement into actual applications. Without a clear action for your viewers to take at the end of the video, they’re much less likely to engage further and enter your recruitment funnel. While old-school recruitment wisdom might suggest that a candidate not committed enough to type in a URL doesn’t really want a job with your company, in the modern era of talent acquisition you really want to make it as easy as possible for people to apply. Not only does this help you keep pace with businesses that are already doing so, it demonstrates to your candidates that you respect their time—a fact for which they’ll thank you with further engagement.


At the end of the day, YouTube, even as an ads platform, is all about providing value for users. If you look at your ad as a way to do just that (value provided in the form of helpful information about what your company does, what kinds of candidates you're looking for, how you help your employees advance in their careers and meet their goals, and how potential applicants can apply), then you can begin to win over passive candidates who might not be actively job searching. Some members of your target audience will still skip your ad as soon as they possibly can, but others will see the information and education you’re providing for what it is: a harbinger of more value to come.

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