How to Use Online Video to Attract Better Job Candidates

By September 6, 2016videography

Here is one of the big questions hiring managers at companies are asking these days.  Do videos about company culture and mission help attract more (and better) candidates?

When a company’s human resources department is seeking applications for an open position, they often post the job on the company website, on relevant job boards, in local or industry publications, and anywhere else they can think of in order to attract a wide variety of skilled candidates.  We’ve all done this and it generates the typical response.

Unfortunately, this isn’t very effective when attracting great team members. Sometimes there are very few applications for a position, and other times there may be a large number of applications but very few of them have the skills or experience needed. This leaves recruiters scratching their heads as to what they can do better. One option some have tried is to create workplace videos highlighting the company mission, what its like to work there and how they are trying to make the world a better place. But do these videos actually help attract more and better candidates?

These Videos Take Work and Money

The reason many HR departments and recruiters are wondering if these videos are at all effective is because they can take a lot of work and money to create. While it’s true that a quick and cheap company video can be done with a smart phone, it will most likely not be very high quality. For that, you need someone that knows how to tell a story, at least a semi-professional camera, a microphone, and good lighting. Video editing software can help fine-tune the video, but the cheaper software usually doesn’t have a lot of options.

That’s why many companies, especially large corporations, spend the money to hire a professional to create their workplace videos. These experts know how to tell a story that is compelling.  They have the equipment, experience, and skill needed to create a video that looks great and shows potential candidates that you are willing to invest people. A cheap, low-quality video sends the message that you like to cut corners, and that’s not what potential employees want to see.  They want to see the heart of the company, what makes it beat and why everyone is passionate about its mission and success.

But it also means you’re investing a lot in this video, and if it’s not effective, that’s money that could have been used for something better. One of the problems is that it can be hard to tell if the video is doing its job or not.

Why Videos?

Some HR departments wonder why they should spend this money in the first place. Is it really worth it? Some information gathered by TheLadders and OnGig show that it is. A 2013 study done by TheLadders website shows that the participants spent 76.7 seconds reading a text-only job posting that they ultimately decided was a good fit for them, while they spent an average of 49.7 seconds on a posting that they ultimately decided was not a good fit.

Job postings that were either the entirety of the job post or were included to provide insight into the company and its culture, however, have a much different story. OnGig, another website for job seekers, did a survey that involved job postings with videos. In their study, participants spent an average of 55 seconds reading a job posting that was text only. However, if a video was included on the page, they were on that page for almost 3 minutes—the average was 2 minutes 54 seconds. That’s just with the video ad on the page. When the ad is played, they remained on that job posting for 5 minutes 23 seconds—over 5 times the amount of time they spent on a text-only ad.

Job postings with videos, then, get much more attention than text-only videos. If you want your open positions to get more attention, adding a video is certainly a way of doing that. The Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2014-2019 White Paper predicts that by 2019, 80 percent of all traffic on the internet will consist of videos. People will be watching billions of videos every day, and companies that want to get ahead of the competition are rolling out company videos and video job postings now.

Videos also help with search-engine optimization (SEO). While search engines cannot actually see the content of a video, they can see the video’s title, description, and any keywords it has been tagged with. This helps give the search engine a better idea of what the page is about, which can move it up in the search results.

Savings

In addition to keeping potential employees on your job description for a much longer period of time, a company video can actually pay for itself very quickly. A study by NACE Research done for 2010-2011 shows that the average cost of recruiting for one position was $5,054. It took HR departments on average 45 days to find the best candidate for the job. During that month and a half, the company was down at least one employee. On the whole, the cost of finding that one employee may be much more than the position’s monthly pay.

Even though a company video may potentially carry with it a large up-front cost, it can shorten the time it takes to find a strong candidate to fill the position. In the long run, that cuts down on overall recruitment costs and brings the company up to full strength more quickly.

What do Candidates Want from Your Job Site?

Most people would say that a potential candidate who visits a company job site want to know what openings the company has and the relevant details about those openings—educational/skill requirements, pay, benefits, job duties, etc. But most are actually looking for more than that. They’re looking to know more about the business as a whole. What is it like to work there? What are the company’s values, and do those values mesh well with the person’s own? Are current employees happy?

While having quotes from current employees, a mission statement, and other text that answer these questions is a start, as the studies above show, people are still very likely to spend less than a minute on the posting. With a video, however, the potential candidate is likely to spend several minutes learning about your company culture, what it’s like to work there on a day-to-day basis, hear employee testimonials, and see what your offices look like. They get a much better idea of where they will work and who they will be working with.

Many companies that have already incorporated videos into the hiring process have created the “day in a life” style video that walks a potential employee through what a typical day would be. They see what their responsibilities would be, view the area they will be working in, and get to meet a few potential co-workers. This gives the candidate a much better idea of what it’s like to work for your company, allowing them to make a more informed decision.

Videos also make your company more personal and give it something that stands out. Many people looking for a job read over dozens of different openings, and they most likely start to see the same phrases and terms used to describe a number of companies. Videos, however, tell a different and unique story about a company. Job seekers get a much better idea of what it’s like to work for you.

Videos Can Backfire

However, it’s important to note that videos can backfire, too. This goes back to the point made earlier: cheap videos look cheap. Companies that don’t invest at least a little bit of money in making these videos about the company may find that they actually get fewer qualified candidates because of it. Creating videos that seem to have no direction or seemed aimed at a wide audience instead of potential candidates may also be a turn-off. Long videos or videos where employees are obviously reading from a script can also push potential candidates away.

Quality Company Videos Work

However, a quality video about the company does help attract more and better candidates. Job seekers will remain on the page longer, and many are more attracted to the posting in the first place. Social Talent discussed a study done by SoftwareAdvice.com that showed 51 percent of job seekers are more attracted to businesses if they have a visual element (image or video) on their job postings. This study was done in 2014, so it’s likely that this percentage has increased even more. With videos becoming such a major part of the online experience, company videos are likely to become the rule rather than the exception. By creating a video now, you can get ahead of the curve and start bringing more top-tier candidates.

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