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.

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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.

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website and on He lives in Pacifica, California.



21 Comments on “Recruiting Videos Allow Potential Candidates to Feel the Passion

  1. Hi –

    This is a terrific article. I started using video in my recruitment advertisement in October of last year. The results have been great. I’ve been able to work with Careerbuilder to integrate our videos into our job advertisements. It puts our message front and center. Search Sony Ericsson on Careerbuilder to see an example. The vendor I used, Magnet Video, helped create, host and distribute the videos. They added a lot of extra value at a very competitive price point. Feel free to send me a message via ERE if you want to know more.

    Best Regards,
    Bill Opal
    Head of Recruitment
    Sony Ericsson

  2. Hi Dr. Sullivan!

    We always seem to say the same things at the same time! (Check out the eerily similar topics between your articles and my blog posts.)

    Just Friday, I posted a page on my blog, that highlights recruitment videos, titled Recruitment Video Showcase.

    Glad to see it’s not just me who thinks this tool is often overlooked. Great advice.

  3. Hi –

    I love the article and agree with you that companies should develop video as an ongoing channel of communication because it can be a tremendously powerful way to communicate. Also, I checked out Sony Ericsson’s videos on CareerBuilder by Bill Opal’s suggestion and really liked them (definitely more attention grabbing than a text job description).

    I have two questions/thoughts I’d love to hear your feedback on:

    1. The types of recruitment videos you are suggesting, though not all professionally produced, are more generic in fashion than targeted to specific individuals. What are your thoughts on companies creating more individually targeted recruitment videos? For example, either a hiring manager creating a video to discuss what working for him/her will be like or a hiring manager sending a video to a high demand candidate to re-emphasize how excited they are to interview them. Do you think 1) it would be valuable for both employer and candidate to add that additional personalized touch and 2) that a personalized video is another viable category of recruitment videos?

    2. Along similar lines to sending out videos for recruitment, do you think it would be valuable for companies to create and send out videos at a later stage in the process – for example at the on-boarding stage? Might it benefit an organization to continue “recruiting” candidates until they actually begin working (and potentially reduce the number of candidates who accept offers from other companies)?

    I am genuinely interested in a discussion and would highly value your thoughts.


  4. Hey!
    We just completed the recruiting video process and it has been such an amazing project! We worked with Pete Altieri at RecruiTV ( and they have an amazing and very talented team. Our videos are in the final editing stages and we are very anxious to get them on our site (, YouTube and our job postings.

    Please let me know if you would like contact info for the team at RecruiTV – they were top notch!My email address is

    Susan Shanklin
    Sr. Recruiter
    Red Ventures

  5. We have had great success with video as well in our recruiting efforts. We find that we have to change the angle that we take on the video dependant upon the audience we are targeting. One of our clients is constantly looking for young college age kids so we target the message to those sort of people and try and get the video to go viral. The results have been worth all the effort to produce video.


    Other video we have used are more direct and to the point.

    Ryann Reddy

  6. I am in process of setting up a niche jobs board in UK and can see that multimedia is the way to make it successful. The article says all the things I want to hear in a very useful way. It is my belief that this will be the way for the future of online recruiting.

  7. You want to make sure your player has what we call “call to action” features. These action features impower the viewer (candidate) to take the next steps. This could be “Apply Now”, “Chat Now”, any action that you feel can help streamline the onboarding process.

    You also want to make sure the one streaming (Delivering) the video(s) has a large enough network to support the traffic to the video.

    James Dee

  8. Excellent post – thanks Dr. Sullivan!

    I applaud the efforts of guys like Bill Opal who are way ahead of the curve when it comes to using video in their recruitment efforts.

    I think we’ll look back and laugh one day when we realize how long it took some folks to get on board.

    Thanks again!

  9. Jason,

    Overall the idea I think is great.

    I would just watch out for using the YouTube’s of the world as your main source for video delivery.

    In future just video is not going to work. It is how it is presented.

    Here is an example. Let’s take tradisional print marketing. You can have the best content in the world but if it’s not packaged right, no one will read it.

    Hope this helps?


  10. I think the site looks great and would love to know more about the way you sell it and make the videos.

  11. This article was titled: “Recruiting Videos Allow Potential Candidates to Feel the Passion,” in addition to passion, i.e. videos provide an authentic glimpse into the company, b/c they are very valuable in helping to set the expectation. With the growth of sites like YouTube and others video sites (Hulu, metacafe, revver, rootv, etc) the opportunity is there to draw candidates in from the search engines and video sites. Leverage your video beyond your site and youtube…

    There is a “Video 2.0 for Recruitment” blog at with best practices, how-to’s, examples and also sorts of video ideas…


  12. Terrific post!

    It is wonderful to see people embracing the use of video for recruitment – already many organizations and job seekers are receiving substantial benefits from its use.

    The use of video clearly improves the recruitment process for both job seekers and employers/recruiters and video will soon be the norm for both employer branding and candidate screening.

    We believed in this so strongly that we developed (and recently launched) a video interview solution to address many of the pain points inherent in the current recruitment process.

    Check us out – we would love to hear your feedback!

    Rachel Evans, MBA, BSc.

  13. I want to include videos on my jobsite, but I am having problems because Broadbean cannot handle multimedia. How do you get around this?

  14. I want to include videos on my jobsite, but I am having problems because Broadbean cannot handle multimedia. How do you get around this? All companies use multi posting services so I must find a way to make it possible to add video to the job posting process.

  15. John Sadler, Sounds like you just need to add a link in the job posting. Something like [Watch video about this company/job, goto:, just replace the sample link there with your own link. Even nicer would be to embed the video on the listing (video would play right on the page and no pop-up). The video will need to be hosted somewhere on your server/CDN (or use a video sharing service like Revver, Youtube, MetaCafe, etc…). If you need more insight, send me a ERE email via


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