A Video, A Video Game, And Vault

Today brings news of the U.S. Army’s $38 million recruiting video games, a recruiting marketing video that is surprisingly fresh and entertaining and should be required watching for anyone considering an HR career as a recruiter, and a change at Vault.

America’s Army

America's ArmyWhen you’re recruiting for an organization where the expression “taking potshots” is no mere idiom, you have to be innovative in your approach, not to mention cutting edge to reach the 17-25 year olds who are your (pardon the expression) target.

No wonder, therefore, that the U.S. Army has been using video games as a recruiting tool for years.

Now comes a report from GameSpot, a site for news about the digital games industry, that puts the 10-year-cost cost of developing and managing the Army’s free PC games called America’s Army at $32.8 million. The original cost to develop the first version of the games was budgeted at $7 million.

An entirely new version — America’s Army 3 — was released in June, and almost immediately the Army cut ties with the game’s developer. GameSpot reported earlier the Army will take over future development and game management.That will be handled by an Army unit formed in 2005 specifically to oversee development of the game.


This Canadian RPO and headhunter has a new video out that will make no friends with newspapers or job boards. Who cares, though. It’s a lot of fun and, ironically perhaps, it may be the most honest career video ever made.

“Stop putting in print ads. Stop posting on job boards. You may as well set fire to your money,” says an aggressive, sharply dressed gent who at first look might be an arms dealer or a central casting FBI agent.

That’s the opening scene of “What Can 60 Hours Do For You?” For the next 4 1/2 minutes you’re treated to snapshots of a 60-hour recruiting marathon to fill a req for a client where “failure is not an option.”

The credits claim that Head2Head staff wrote and produced the video. The parts were also played by staff members who should all get Oscars for their acting. (Or was it acting?)

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Take the 4 minutes and 53 seconds to watch and enjoy. And then you tell me if it doesn’t nail headhunting. Still want to be a recruiter?


Vault betaVault, the venerable career information site that was an early leader in providing job seekers help in researching a company and building a personal network, has been struggling this year.

Erik Sorenson called it “stiff headwinds” driven by the faltering U.S. economy. In a memo earlier this month to the remaining staff at Vault, he described 2009 as a “period of right-sizing the company.”

Sorenson, the former president of MSNBC who became CEO in 2007 when Vault was acquired by Veronis Suhler Stevenson, has now stepped aside. His replacement is Claude Sheer.

In looking toward 2010, Sorenson said in the memo, “We need to beef up our senior management and strengthen our strategic efforts by bringing on someone with different knowledge, skills, and interests whose experience and passion is in growth platforms, strategic partnerships, and Internet deal-making.”

The change was effective on Dec. 7th. Sorenson is now Vault chairman and a consultant.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


3 Comments on “A Video, A Video Game, And Vault

  1. head2head is doing a great job of positioning themselves at the top of the list for recruiting Burger King staff. a great show of creativity but I’d suggest a better title for the video: “why you wouldn’t want to hire us”.

    in my experience, when headhunters fail it’s not because they took too long, were too meek or lacked the ability to get noticed with viral video engineering…

  2. Thanks, John –

    I’m sorry I hadn’t noticed this til now – thanks for the shoutout (and for the incremental views)!

    (And I will confirm that yes, the whole thing was written, produced and acted by Head2Head people – I wrote the script, but most of our ‘actors’ then did some inspired ad-libbing. And we filmed it all in the Head2Head office, though we got a guy who’d just graduated from film school to film and edit.)

    I know Eric doesn’t care for the video from a messaging perspective. However, here in Canada (and I don’t think it’s totally different in the US), C-suite execs/hiring managers/VPs of recruiting say that ‘time-to-hire’ is one of their top 3 hot-button issues, so the notion that a recruiting company can find someone for them in 60 hours or less is quite appealing.

    Since the video has already driven some new business for us, we’re quite pleased with the results!

    Anyway, I’m sorry it took me 2+ weeks to see this – thanks again!

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