The Recruiting Video vs. The Real Job Preview Video

Picture 3The proliferation of recruiting videos since the advent of Web 2.0 has been staggering. Candidates can review an abundance of organizational information in videos that previous generations of job candidates did not have the opportunity to view. A job candidate needs only to peruse career pages on organizational websites or go to Career TV, Social Networks, and YouTube to find information in this format.

There is no question that in many instances a video for job candidates can convey a message to potential employees. What I do question is how effective the message is conveyed. Is the right message in the right video? The answer to this question is often unclear when viewing a real job preview video. Unfortunately, quite often the real job preview video will miss the mark in delivering a real job or position preview and instead incorporate the goals of the recruiting video.

Two Videos Two Audiences

The best way to think about the differences in these videos is to consider the analysis most consumers process when they are looking for a new car. On any given night, there is no shortage of car and truck commercials on network television. These commercials focus on selling the most attractive features of their model and attributes related to their brand to reach a very wide demographic of potential consumers. The most striking aspects are highlighted to a target demographic. A typical commercial contains messages on saving energy, safety, reliability, GPS and satellite radio, and warranties. The viewer is provided several features with few details, given the focus and time constraints. A recruiting video is not all that different. The organizational brand is showcased along with values, community involvement, and the mission of the organization, to attract potential candidates who will have an affinity to the messages being presented.

When a consumer is interested in researching specific features of a car model, a manufacturer’s site will often provide several brief videos that address those options in more detail. You can find out how the components operate alone and as part of the vehicle. A real job preview video should follow the same format. An ideal preview video should break down several of the key aspects of the job that is being discussed. The discussion should present a candid discussion an idea of what the day in the life of the position is like. Focus on a specific aspect of the job; talk to someone in the field actually doing the job. There should also be some discussion on how the job fits into the mission of the organization.

Wrong Message, Wrong Audience

A real job preview video will lose its utility when it is diluted with too much branding. There are certainly elements of branding that can coexist within an real job preview video, but the focus must be on giving the viewer a clear understanding of the job being displayed. You should communicate what the employee will be accountable for in the job. This is often done in a “day in the life” format for the position being discussed.

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A recruiting video also runs the risk of delivering the wrong message to the wrong audience. Some videos fail to take advantage of their brand, and assume that viewers will make the connection. Other videos fail to discuss their culture and mission and how employees play a vital role in their organization. Some videos communicate the culture and mission well but focus on just one business unit to the detriment of others.

Two Goals of Two Videos

Keep in mind the goals of each video. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the goal of a recruiting video is to recruit employees. This is usually achieved by selling the brand, communicating the culture and values of the organization, as well as the mission. The goal of the preview is to match the right people with the right jobs as well as increase retention and lower turnover. The preview should be performed in a style that generates interest while discussing the realities of the position being discussed. Genuine real job preview videos discuss both positive and some challenges of the position. Giving a realistic glimpse of the culture and the mission of the organization will go a long way in retaining talent.

David D'Angelo, J.D., SPHR, has worked in human resources for seven years, primarily in HRIS as an analyst. He is a member of the International Association for Human Resources Information Management. His blog “Recruiting in Second Life” blog can be read on the ERE blog network and was referenced by Governing online in its September 2008 article “The Reality of Virtual Reality” which appeared in The Managing Technology Letter.

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3 Comments on “The Recruiting Video vs. The Real Job Preview Video

  1. This almost sounds like the difference between a departmental recruiting video (or company wide) and a job specific recruiting video.

    Let’s say you have an IT department needing a lot of Java developers…

    A company recruiting video would cover the brand, culture, mission, community involvement, and whatever about the company at large. The overall personality and environment. The direction the company is head and the overall goals that are important over the next year or so. Basically, the first kind of video mentioned here.

    A departmental video would cover the brand, culture, mission, etc. of the IT department. What cool technologies are they working with. What direction are they heading. What are their goals. This will attract IT people with an affinity for the department to look into opportunities further.

    A Java developer video would cover a day in the life type stuff. The realities of the position. Ideally, using some Performance-based criteria…not listing requirements (which could be read in the job description). This is where I use my recruiting experience and Performance-based Hiring Certification when I produce videos for employers.

    ~ Eric Putkonen
    Peek Productions (serving MN)

  2. Some interesting points here David. At Working Films (UK) we feel that authenticity is absolute key and as part of an employer brand the smart approach is that a suite of short films will have a place at various touch points through the employee lifecycle. For one of our clients we have a ‘trailer’ style video that gives a sense of working for the organisation along with several other videos that candidates are introduced to from initial interest to actually joining the organisation. In other words, ensuring there’s not too much dilution, as you mention, but retaining the balance between the values and the practical questions that candidates – and new recruits – will look for.

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