Great Recruitment Videos Don’t Magically Happen

It’s nearly the New Year. Chances are you have a line item on your 2015 employment brand (or talent acquisition) budget that reads something like this: Produce amazing recruitment video that goes viral and magically attracts only qualified applicants.

Great recruitment videos do not just happen as if by magic. There is a vision, a plan, and a purpose — there are people who bring it these together. Here are a few tips to guide you and your team down the path toward producing a video worth sharing.

Plan Your Work.

Why Video?
What is the problem that you are hoping to solve? How does video help solve this problem? How will you know if you have been successful? Is video the best way to get your message across?

Determine Stakeholders
Who needs to be involved in the project? Are all of the right people talking? Who will need to have the final sign off before publishing externally?

Find Resources
What is the budget? Who is the budget owner(s)? Will you use internal staff or a third party production team? Will you need to rent equipment?

Define Your Audience
Who is your audience? What motivates them? What’s important to them? Where do they live? Are there people currently inside your organization who match your ideal audience? Have you talked to them?

Select Key Messages
What do you want to say? What’s the point, story or hook? What are your top two or three key messages?What action do you want someone to take after viewing your video?

Engage and Activate Your Staff.

Choose Talent Wisely
Picking talent is not as easy as it seems, particularly if you do not work in the department that you want to highlight or location in which you plan to film. Talk to line partners who have a vested interest in the video project and ask for recommendations. I suggest running those names by HR to ensure there are no known performance issues.

Screen Messengers
Sometimes turning a camera on makes rock star employees simply freeze. In the past, I have found it helpful to have pre-interviews with selected employee to gauge their interest and comfort levels. Sometimes, employees are picked by management and feel as if they have to participate. Choose messengers who are fans of your brand, and can turn on the magic, in front of the camera.

Ask Meaningful Questions
It’s smart to draft questions to ask and share them with key stakeholders for feedback. Then, send the final question set to your interviewees ahead of time; this will allow them to gather their thoughts, feel more prepared, and appear more confident on screen.

Pay Attention to the Details.

Keep it Short
Attention spans seem short these days. Ideally, I recommend keeping recruitment-related videos to approximately three minutes and definitely strive for less than four. (Ironically, the first video that I worked on in 2008 was nearly eight minutes long! That was then, and recruitment videos have certainly changed.)

Avoid Logos
Try to avoid showing other companies’ logos, as these are often copyrighted property. A good rule of thumb is to just keep them out of your shot so you don’t have to cut or blur them during post-production.

Dress like Monday
Ask your video stars to dress as they would on a normal work day. This will give viewers a sense of  the company culture and environment. Often, I’ll ask on-camera talent to wear mid-tone colors, and not to wear bold patterns or noisy jewelry.

Add a Hashtag
Does your organization have an employment brand hashtag, such as #LifeatXXXX or #InsideXXX?  If so, consider including it in the intro, outro, or throughout the entire video in the footer area.

Select Good Music
Fast, mid-tempo, instrumental or pop. Choosing the perfect soundtrack is fun, yet daunting. The most important thing to remember is not to use copyrighted music without expressed permission. There are plenty of online resources by which you can purchase and download tracks that are suitable for recruiting videos.

One Last Video Tip

If you follow all (or at least most) of these tips, you will be well on your way to creating a video that your entire team will want to share. And that leads to one final tip: once you upload your video to Vimeo or YouTube … promote it! Don’t be shy and assume that it will magically go viral (unless you have a burrito eating hamster or some seriously cute puppy footage). Put together a promotional plan that includes social media, internal communications, and templates for your team to easily copy, paste, and post.

Are you an video wizard? Do you have other tips for making video magic? Share them below!

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Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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