Recruiting Videos Allow Potential Candidates to Feel the Passion

Everyone in recruiting and employment branding strives to demonstrate to potential candidates the excitement that can be found within their organization. Most rely almost exclusively on “words” in paid advertising, brochures, and websites, but words are “so last year.”

Each month, fewer and fewer people read newspapers and books, and more of us get our information from moving media, including online videos, film, and TV. Why? Because videos require little effort to watch but still provide a powerful message. Written “words” are weak tools for quickly transmitting the energy and the passion that your employees have for their work. A better alternative is pictures, but they too can be limiting.

If a picture is worth a thousand words…then a video must be priceless. Recruiting videos can excite by allowing potential recruits to better “see, feel, and hear” the passion and the excitement at your organization. Videos allow an outsider to “meet” your employees, to see your technology, and even to tour your facilities.

However, for some reason, despite their incredible power, videos are the most underutilized powerful electronic recruiting tool.

Let’s face it, most traditional recruiting tools are waning in power. Brochures are time-consuming to develop, hard to distribute, expensive, and seldom read. Still pictures and narratives posted on corporate websites have value but they seldom stimulate or excite the visitor.


Videos on the Internet are one of the hottest trends in society and especially among the younger generations. With the growth of the Internet and mobile phone technology, videos can be viewed almost anywhere by almost everyone. In fact, 56% of Americans with Internet access have viewed a video or listened to audio online, so it’s important for organizations to get their recruiting message out via recruiting videos.


Benchmark firms like Google have learned how to exploit recruiting videos. For example, Google’s powerful seven minute “an inside look at Google” has been viewed by well over half a million people.


Microsoft has also demonstrated its leadership in leveraging video on its “viewmyworld” site, which portrays the company in a way that many feel is more “honest” than ever before. The U.S. Army has utilized videos in a broader range of applications than any other organization in order to demonstrate that their jobs can be exciting.


Online video has become so pervasive that not to consider it while developing your recruiting strategy would be a serious mistake. Even IBM, long considered a conservative organization, was an early adopter of online video for mobile devices.


Today, more than 200,000 people download IBM podcasts monthly. Octagon Global recruiting showed that videos have a place on TV by placing its recruiting video as an ad in the season finale of the popular TV show Lost.

What is a Recruiting Video?

A recruiting video is a relatively short video that is available for viewing on the Internet. Its primary goal is to excite potential candidates by showing them the compelling features of your firm and jobs.

Recruiting videos can be placed on your corporate careers website, on popular video sites like YouTube, or can be packaged as downloadable podcasts for mobile media devices.

Types of Recruiting and Branding Videos

Most recruiting videos can be categorized into nine basic coverage areas:

  • The traditional overview of the company and its products
  • A “day in the life” of an employee
  • Profiles of individual employees
  • “Why I work here” videos covering critical recruiting factors
  • Facility tours
  • Humorous videos demonstrating that your firm is a “fun place”
  • Videos and highlights of company perks and benefits
  • Videos of company events
  • Videos that demonstrate the firm’s excellent management practices

Ways to Create Recruiting Videos

Hold a contest or competition among employees to create a range of videos. Both Deloitte and Hyatt have utilized contests to encourage their employees to create creative videos. Deloitte called it a “film festival” to give it a little more panache.


The concept is simple. Hold a friendly competition among your employees and between departments on who can produce the most powerful video that depicts the excitement of working at your firm. Having a contest creates a buzz within the firm about your employment brand image, which is exciting by itself. Using employee videos combined with the employee referral program provides every employee with a chance to be involved in recruiting, and because almost every employee has access to an inexpensive video camera, you will likely get high participation rates.


Contests are an effective tool because they allow employees to use their creativity in order to identify and cover exciting factors that those in corporate might never have thought of. In addition, the high number of videos generated gives you more choices of videos and more different approaches to choose from.

Content to Include

When creating recruiting and branding videos, here are some tips on how to make the content of the videos more impactful:

  • Focus on well-managed practices. Many videos focus on benefits, but it’s important to realize that top performers care less about benefits than they do about working at a “well-managed” firm. Although demonstrating excellent management practices can be dry, it’s critical that you highlight them if you want to attract innovators and top performers. Management practices to profile include rapid decision-making, two-way communications, challenging opportunities, and great managers.
  • Show off your technology. Right after being “well-managed,” top performers and innovators expect to be able to use the latest technology. Show what technology you use; make sure the script describes how your technology is superior to competitor firms.
  • Use employee-generated videos. There’s just something about employee-created videos that make the viewer “believe” that the message is coming directly from employees.
  • Show unique perks. Google became famous by highlighting its unique perks like free food and in-house washing machines. Be sure and highlight them by having employees utilize them.
  • Have a tour. A virtual tour of the facility can show not just the building but the level of excitement that you feel when you visit. Make sure that the “sounds” depict the excitement at your firm.
  • Have employee profiles. Everyone wants to work at a place that has “people like me,” so profile a cross-section of your employees. If you’re highly competitive, consider including comments from employees who used to work at competitors highlighting how much better this firm is. Be sure and include their first and last name to show that you’re not afraid of “losing them” to recruiters from other firms that view the video.
  • Think global. Demonstrate that your firm is a global player by including videos created by your teams around the world. They should also consider making your videos available in several languages.
  • Think diversity. Make sure that your video shows a broad range of diversity including race, gender, age, disability, and nationality (other potentially controversial possibilities include sexual orientation and religion).
  • Use college videos. College students are the most frequent viewers of videos, so it’s important that you develop targeted videos for university students.
  • Feature events. Include coverage of company events that might interest an outsider. Avoid the corporate annual meeting, but consider including short coverage of celebrations, parties, and awards ceremonies where the company is recognized as being a top place to work.
  • Show “real” executives. Provide clips of executives directly involved in day-to-day work activities, and demonstrate when possible that executives at your firm have risen from entry-level jobs to the top.
  • Make the industry exciting. If your firm happens to be part of an industry that most consider to be dreary, consider including a separate video that highlights the excitement and the challenge that few outsiders get to see.
  • Highlight the region. If your firm’s facility happens to be in an area that many consider to be less than desirable, highlight the exciting things to do and see in your region.
  • Involve customers. If your product is available to the masses, include customers praising the impact of your products in your recruiting videos.

Tips on Increasing Viewability and Impact

Some additional tips to help increase the number of video views:

  • Paint an “imperfect” picture. Obviously, the goal is to highlight the best features of the firm but you must be careful that your video doesn’t include a 100% perfect message. If you want the company to come across as “real,” acknowledge at least a few things about the firm that are not perfect. You might have to fight with PR on this issue, but any video that looks like an “ad” or political speech won’t get very much traction. Incidentally, if you over-brag, expect ex-employees to comment or even to create counter “mocking” videos.
  • Increase its viewing potential. Keep videos short and compelling. The best are between two and three minutes, and seven minutes is about the limit that most will watch. Don’t forget to “pre-test” your videos among your target audience to assess their impact. The very best videos are “passed on” to others because they’re so funny, exciting, or compelling.
  • Periodically change your videos. All but the most compelling videos will eventually need to be replaced by newer videos. Either offer the visitor a choice of videos or periodically rotate them to give the visitor reasons to return in the future.
  • Track their effectiveness. When possible, provide a “number viewed” calculator so that you can track the number of people who view your videos. You can also add a feature that allows viewers to “rate” your videos. Finally, because the very best videos are powerful enough so that viewers will want to send them to their friends, provide a feature to track the number of links that were forwarded to others.
  • Use blogs to support videos. Employee blogs are another powerful tool to make your firm appear “real” to outsiders. Work with bloggers to get them to talk about your videos.
  • Share with product videos. Work with product advertising to convince them to include a few short “it’s a great place to work” scenes in their product videos and commercials.
  • Search for negative videos. Because employees and others can post videos in a variety of places “on their own” and without permission, periodically search for videos that might hurt your firm’s image. If an employee posted it, you can ask them to revise it or take it down. However, if it’s posted by a non-employee, you need to offer either a counter video or request that the site remove the video.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve ever watched a compelling TV show, documentary, or film, you already realize how powerful videos can be in sending a memorable message. Now that most mobile phones have Internet access and video recording capability, potential recruits have increased opportunities to view compelling videos.


Rather than making video a “one-time” event, develop it as on ongoing powerful channel to communicate with a massive audience that has already adopted video as its preferred channel. Conceiving, producing, editing, and publishing video needs to become a permanent process and a primary strategy in 21st-century recruiting.

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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