How To Use Video to Recruit Candidates Online

Using Video to Recruit Candidates Online

This reprinted blog post is courtesy of Austin Hill over at Billions With Zero Knowledge. It was written on his blog way back in March 2007, but I thnk the recruiting lessons learned from this is timeless. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Kudos to you Austin! Thanks for letting me post it here.

Using Video to Recruit Candidates Online

So it seems we may be part of a trend.  Roberto Rocha wrote an article in yesterday’s Montreal Gazette about companies using video’s to recruit that mentioned our video advertisement for a Python Wrangler.

He also has a follow-up about others jumping into the video job business on the Montreal Gazette’s new local technology blog.  It is good to see the Gazette covering the local technology community and searching out good stories about what is occurring in our community.  Welcome to the blogging world Roberto.


We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from the video.  We also got some constructive feedback from people pointing out we could use video to show more about our team, the environment and what we are working on. This is coming in upcoming videos for future positions.

Here are some quick facts and information on how the video was produced and our early experience with it.

About the Filming & Shooting

  • The  video was shot in about 3hrs. with a 2 page script that was written by David Eberts (seen above with camera) who is a very successful documentary filmmaker.  He is also Alex’s brother and he and Jack (seen with the microphone) were incredible in helping us setup and shoot quickly.   Dave also did the editing in a couple of days with our feedback.  We couldn’t have done this without him and he made the entire process easy & fun.
  • We have gotten tons of questions about who played Mary our recruiter.  This was played by Lindsay Eberts, Alex and Dave’s sister.  Lindsay was hilarious and the only reason our little attempt at humor worked.   Lindsay has done some acting and has to be one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.  So far a lot of the best feedback has been on her funny acting.  Thanks Lindsay :)

If you are interested in talking with the team that helped us do this contact me and I’ll introduce you.  I know they are helping a few other companies prepare their own video recruiting.

How we used the Video

  • Uploading it to YouTube in a format that looked good took a couple of days of experimentation on different formats and codecs.  Once we had it up, it went live through this blog.
  • We also posted job descriptions on job boards like Crunchboard, 37 Signals Job board, and on Craigslist. The job boards where not able to accommodate us and embed the video job ad, but we did include the link.  Only 37 Signals allowed us an active  hyperlink so we don’t have good tracking on how many candidates found us through these postings yet.
  • We listed the link in various mailing lists, and forums where our Python developers and Django developers hang out (Where we felt it appropriate, no spamming)
  • We posted the job on LinkedIn and sent it to our network of contacts.
  • My good friend Ben Yoskovitz wrote a great article about what is wrong with the online job market where he included our video job.  Ben is a top 2,000 ranked blogger with an incredible ability to write popular posts which resulted in the video being seen to thousands because of the number of people who voted on it in Digg.

Results so far

  • We became the 48th most linked to video this week on Youtube with 1942 links which led to us getting a YouTube honor. (I think these are internal links since I can’t find them in Google)
  • It’s been viewed more then 3,100 times.
  • We have seen more friends and members of our LinkedIn networking taking time and effort to forward it to friends and help us find someone.  This has been a great surprise and we are finding some promising prospects this way. I think people are more inclined to put effort into helping us when they feel the posting is funny & they see that we are putting effort into standing out. We tried to make it interesting for them to forward to friends.
  • The CVs are beginning to come in but we are still actively searching for more candidates as we begin to do first interviews.  You can still apply.  We are hoping there are some candidates putting effort into their applications to match some of the interesting applications we’ve gotten so far (Sample code is a great attachment to your CV).

We are continuing both traditional and non-traditional (online) recruiting techniques and will keep you updated on how effective the video was in our recruiting. Despite the joke on the video we are using every available resource to find good people and believe that the video is complimentary to our other efforts.

In the meantime, we are also hiring a Javascript Ninja.

Would anyone like us to do another recruiting video for this?

Any ideas or things you would like us to include?

We already are planning to introduce more members of the team but would be interested in hearing from you (especially if you know Javascript) on what we could include in the video to interest you in this or other future positions with our team.

Want more? Be sure to check out: Billions with Zero Knowledge


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, a digital resource that reaches more than a half million HR and workplace leaders each month and host of the Workology Podcast. Jessica lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, daughter, and an assortment of furry family members.


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