Stand Out From the Recruiting Noise by Sharing Compelling Content

message overload.jpgThe online recruiting world is a noisy place. One search on Indeed for “developer” yields more than 145,000 job postings — all of which look remarkably similar. On the flip side, great people are being constantly bombarded with messages, thanks to LinkedIn Recruiter.

How does a company stand out from the sea of bullet points and template messages? By creating and sharing remarkable content.

Here are three ways that companies are using creative content to attract top talent.

Sharing Employee Stories on Instagram

instagram.jpgOver 40 million photos per day are uploaded to Instagram, the social photo sharing social network. Corporations like Starbucks, Marriott, and Yelp are actively sharing their employee stories to engage with passive candidates on Instagram.

What are the most effective photos to share?

  • A look inside your company office
  • Photos of your employees
  • Pictures of team events and celebrations
  • Puppy pictures. Obviously.

Above all, have fun! The goal of social media is to be authentic, and using a tool like Instagram is a powerful way to humanize your employer brand.

Going Viral on YouTube

People upload over 48 hours of video to YouTube every minute. That’s a lot of cat videos. Companies are joining the fun by making their own recruiting videos that range from the informative to the absurd.

Recruiting videos are becoming a rite of passage for fast growing companies, and necessarily so. It is a powerful way to bring your recruiting efforts to life. Here are three of the world’s most popular recruiting videos (in order of absurdity).

Google is still ruler of all things recruiting, with over 2,300,00 views of its Inside Look at Google video.

Twitter’s cheesy  “ The Future is You” video boasts over 1 million views on YouTube in less than 4 months.

Kixeye’s NSFW recruiting video went viral with a foul-mouthed tirade to the tune of 544,000 views.

And its not just fun and games. According to CareerBuilder, job postings with video receive 12 percent more views, and a 34 percent increase in applications. What if you don’t have the time nor budget to make a highly polished recruiting video? That’s fine.

You don’t need to go viral on YouTube to utilize video as an effective way to recruit talent. Consider a video job description as utilized by Deloitte for its Analytics Insight Director role. Over 3,000 views without any special effects (or cats).

Educating With Engineering Blogs

Smart people want to work with smart people. And smart people love to learn new things. The best way to communicate learning is through detailed blog posts.

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This has led to the advent of the “engineering blog” which many technology companies are embracing. Not your standard blog, engineering blogs are focused on topics that nerds will love. They live separately from the company blog as they are focused on very niche subjects for a very niche audience.

AirBnB shares engineering employee stories, open source code, and how they solve complicated problems on their engineering blog.

code as craftEtsy, the cute online marketplace for homemade and vintage goods, shares interesting statistics and engineering challenges on the Code as Craft Blog.

Engineering blogs aren’t just about the code. Companies are sharing more than just words on a website — contributing open source code to the developer community that truly adds value.

The advantage? Good Karma, and attracting great engineers.

Is It Worth It? 

Creating remarkable content is not easy. It takes time, money, and creativity.

Though you can quantify page views, the real question is whether an effective content strategy leads to happy new hires. As with all things branding, it’s a long term game that may take months (or years) to pay off. It is also very hard to fake.

But in a world of constant messages and a sea of soulless job ads, companies need to do all they can to stand out from the noise and engage with top talent.

James Clift is the CEO of KarmaHire, a company driven to revolutionize the job ad. When he's not recruiting, speaking, selling, or tweeting you can find him climbing mountains in Vancouver, Canada.


15 Comments on “Stand Out From the Recruiting Noise by Sharing Compelling Content

  1. Hi James,
    great article. “The online recruiting world is a noisy place” is to the point. The solutions that you have presented all lead to one thing: Personalization. The more we will be able to individually tailor our sourcing strategy, the more successful we will hire high quality talent. Being personal, authentic and empathetic is what will separate the wheat from the chaff!


  2. James: Good post. Thanks for sharing the recruiting videos, none of which I’d seen. I think the Twitter one is very effective. The one from Deloitte got closed within the first minute. Too dry.

    More importantly, however, is what do the recruiting processes actually look like once a candidate decides to submit a resume? And let’s not forget, when you’re a bit name in the industry it’s ever simpler to attract talent when you’re using the “post and pray” technique.

  3. Hi James, great post. Short and to the point. Some good ideas about how to stand out from the crowd which is becoming increasingly more important in today’s ‘noisy’ world. Also loved all the embedded videos. The Twitter one was by far my favourite. It actually made me laugh out loud.

  4. @ James. Thank you.
    ISTM that instead of spending time and money (either internally or externally) on creating and sending an expensive video flag up the flagpole and seeing who salutes, you could spend a fraction of the money and begin almost immediately directly going after (sourcing) people who are right for your positions. This method is much more proactive and within your control.



    “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” – John Wanamaker, considered by some to be the father of modern advertising and a “pioneer in marketing.”

  5. @Mona Thanks! Personalization is essential. I think the next step is automating some of that personalization (which seems counter-intuitive, but the technology is getting there). Having that personal connection is an amazing way to stand out.

    @Carol thank you! The next steps are to of course have the internal processes align with the external message. Candidate experience reigns supreme.

    @Keith Fair point. Direct sourcing is definitely more…direct? But I do think a combination of both can be extremely effective. When sourcing, you still need to convince great candidates of the opportunity. Having content (whether its videos, blogs, or photos) that backs up the story you’re telling could be what makes them respond to you out of the dozens of messages they get every day. You’re still competing with hundreds of recruiters with the same tools. I’m of the opinion that if everyone is doing the same thing, being different does pay off.

    And sharing great content doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming – Instagram and blogging are both free. If you have people who use these tools effectively, it’s not pricey. If you’re paying an agency, that’s another story.

    Thanks for the great comments!


  6. @ James. Thanks again. If you have lots of resources (time, money, people), a multiply-focused approach could be very effective. However, how many companies have lots of resources available, particularly now?

    “You still need to convince great candidates of the opportunity.”
    That’s the point, James. Most companies CAN’T GET great candidates because they are neither great companies nor have great positions to offer them. PERIOD.
    An effective campaign (again if you have lots of time, money, people to devote to it) might help a 70th percentile company more easily get mid-upper 70s percentile people, but it won’t get get them the “Fab 5%” (95th percentile) people. if you REALLY want to differentiate yourself from hundreds of recruiters with the same tools chasing the same “Fab 5%”, use the Corporate Desirability Score (CDS, and go after the people you CAN reasonably hire- that shouldn’t be too hard….


    Keith “Let’s Be Realistic” Halperin

  7. @Keith thanks for the article, very compelling read. I agree that if you’re neither a great company nor have a great position, recruiting the best is not possible (or necessary). I do think that many companies can punch above their weight class by putting more resources behind a campaign and really courting those top folks. Hopefully the 70’s can at least land an 80 if they put in the work!



  8. James, good article, One of the best examples of how to engage with IT developers I have seen (and actually applicable for almost any other industry as well) is guide made by StackOverflow.
    @Keith, totally agree that if you have an unattractive company that no one wants to work for, then however much banging the drum and pushing content will do little.
    On subject of cost and that being a hindrance. Look at the by James quoted Inside look at Google. It is highly likely that it was professionally made, but it could in fact have been made with a flipcam, a mobile or other low cost device. If we focus on the subject of being authentic, being what appeal to most and what comes across as most trust worthy, then the big expensive and constructed campaigns are not the way to go. Look again at the Twitter video, again totally simple and likely made for little money. Fact is that little and simple can do it and often works best. For me I am mostly in awe of those places (and there are actually many of them) that manage to do a huge amount with little or next to nothing budget, and as is shown that is what works, what appeal and create ROE. Content is probably the simplest thing to create once you know how, but you do not need big fancy agencies, budgets or the like, all that is required is sitting down, thinking it through and then doing it.

    ‘Simple does it, and simple does it best’

  9. Just to follow up illustrating what written about earlier about simplicity
    This by now a classic in the UK and when created in 2005 received more hits that a n y corporately produced PWC video.
    Watch it as well as the by now well known Dollarshavedotcom and have your toes cringe, and/or marvel in what can be done with not much else than fantasy and will:

  10. @Jacob. Thanks for the reminder of the Stack Overflow guide, definitely a go-to!

    Agreed that if you have the personality and the talent, its not hard to make great videos inexpensively. The Twitter video was made by a few employees on a day off I believe, and it was extremely successful.

    Thanks for the video links… that PWC video is hilarious!

  11. Great post James. It reiterates the fact that it’s just as important in the recruiting industry as any other to generate compelling content & differentiate your brand from competition.

  12. @ Mark: As James wisely said, good content, etc. may help a company do a bit better than it otherwise would, but fundamentally, “you have to be great to get great”. It’s important to HAVE something that differentiates you from the competition, and not just pretend to the world that you do. Most companies DON’T and their hiring managers continue wonder why the “Fab 5%” aren’t beating a path to their door.


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