Why Recruiting Has to Go Video

We live in a world of pictures, movies, and sound. The printed word is being replaced and expanded by cheap, easy access to video websites like YouTube as well as sites such as Hulu.com and Veoh.com.

According to Gartner, Inc., the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, more than 25 percent of the content that workers view each day will be dominated by pictures, video or audio by 2013.

As of this past February, emarketer.com ranked YouTube as the fifth-most popular website in the United States, eclipsed only by the likes of Google (who owns YouTube), Yahoo, and Microsoft.

Video, combined with the Internet, is a game-changer for recruiting. Used together they create a better candidate experience and raise the likelihood of a better hire. They also enrich recruiters by giving them a much deeper perspective on a candidate, in less time, than has ever been possible.

Video is particularly attractive to Gen Y — those young people between 20 and 29 who total about 70 million people. They are avid users of video and expect to be marketed to, taught, entertained, and recruited by video. Go to an Apple store and watch what young folks are doing: watching videos or movies or looking at pictures using the Internet. I rarely see any of them reading an article or an online newspaper.

They have been raised on television and those in the 25 to 34 age group watch more than 140 hours of it each quarter. The percentage of people watching videos and movies on the Internet has nearly doubled since 2006 and is now over 60% of all Internet users.

Some organizations are already leveraging the Internet and video to give them a competitive edge in reaching the millions of people who regularly use such sites as YouTube and Hulu.

Here is how they are doing it:

To showcase their company
They are creating career sites that are heavy with short videos featuring tours of the company, interviews with executives, candid chats with employees, and day-in-the-life scenarios of what people in particular positions do all day. They may include videos about the local area or videos that have been made by news agencies about the company. Examples of excellent career sites that contain video include those of KPMG, Deloitte, and Whirlpool. These have all won awards for excellence based on the success they have had in recruiting the talent they need using their career site. Companies such as RecruitTV and Thinktalk provide the expertise and service to help you produce these kinds of videos.

An interactive, video-based website is the core requirement for employment branding and may be the single best thing you can do to improve your success in attracting and hiring the people you want.

To post or distribute jobs
It is now possible to make a short video specifically describing a particular position, and then use that video instead of the usual written description. In London, three career magazines now provide this as an alternative to the written word. A Twitter-like application called 12Seconds allows you to make, yep, you got it, a 12-second video about a job and distribute it to a group of followers.

Monster Canada allows you to insert a streaming video into any job posting. And climber.com posts your video job description focused on Gen Y candidates to 45 different video sharing sites.

Article Continues Below

To hold career fairs
Virtual career fairs have been around for a while, mostly focused on college recruiting. CollegeGrad.com offers this type of virtual careers fair. For a broader audience CareerBuilder, Unisfair, and InXpo. A virtual career fair has much greater reach than a physical one and allows candidates to learn more about the positions you have and your organization. They are cost-effective ways to reach out to a broad geographical slice of people, quickly.

To do targeted marketing
Advanced and emerging uses of video include, for example, having your job video display when a person goes to a particular website or webpage. All clicks on your job display are tracked so that you can see who and how many show interest. This information will allow you to narrow down the sites where you display the ads, improve the content of the videos, and control costs.

Product marketers have used similar technology for a while and are now making it available for recruiting. As this technology matures, it will be possible to greatly reduce the number of unqualified applicants by limiting who actually sees a job ad.

To interview candidates
Interviewing candidates by streaming video is becoming more popular now that more than 60% of Americans have broadband access from their homes. With a simple webcam and a decent Internet connection using Skype, a recruiter or hiring manager or both together can interview a candidate from anywhere. This lowers costs and time to offer and provides a candidate and the hiring authorities an experience that is often as good as if not better than a face-to-face appearance.

Many companies offer video interviewing including Greenjobinterview.com, Clooks.com, and Hirevue.com.

For assessment and screening
A final way that video is being used is in candidate assessment. By creating scenarios and games that stimulate real-world experiences, recruiters can gain insight into how people would potentially react to them. These job simulations have been used by the U.S. Army and by retail stores intent on seeing how potential sales associates might respond to different customer problems. The U.S. State Department has recently started using a game to assess potential Foreign Service officers. It is called American Diplomat and recreates many of the scenes and issues a diplomat may encounter.

Another aspect of assessment is the self-assessment that candidates make when they actually see what it is like to do a particular job. Shaker Consulting does a good job of creating validated job previews that help candidates self-assess, as well as help recruiters and hiring managers.

Video is rapidly becoming core to recruiting success. Organizations that do not start to build video into every aspect of talent acquisition will find that they are at a competitive disadvantage, especially with college students and younger experienced hires. This is the age of video and we all need to learn to use it better.

Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for ERE.net, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at kwheeler@futureoftalent.org.


38 Comments on “Why Recruiting Has to Go Video

  1. You tube is really the web’s 2nd biggest search engine so if you have no presence on it, you are missing a huge opportunity. I’d also say that audio podcasts have a place in recruiting since they are more flexible than video and can be listened to in more places/devices like the car, walking, etc


  2. When I was leading the recruiting department at HEB we had good success posting on youtube. I was surprised the number of 50+ senior executives that had seen our videos and commented in a positive way when visiting for interviews.
    One of my new endeavors http://www.bigdoghub.com allows members and companies to post videos and pics on their respective profiles. The videos and pics posted on the company profile also post automaticly on company job postings.

  3. Kevin,
    I agree 100% with most of your comments on the possible applications of video in the recruitment process although I’m inclined to agree with Chris’s comments on the use of audio files. I see this as being the next step due to accessibility (all you need is a phone.)
    I have explored the use of http://www.verbalsummary.com for this reason and recommend this to the recruitment businesses i work with.
    At the recent Social Media In Recruitment Conference in London, the speaker from You Tube stated that she did not see the use of video resumes as being something that would take off and that corporate promotion was a much better use of you tube. I agree with them on this. Video is a great application for promotion of my business and my message but there are too many concerns reguarding video CV to make me believe this is the right route to recommend it to job seekers. My 4 key concerns with Video C.V.’s are:
    1: Legality – when taking names off c.v.’s to avoid discrimination is being considered in the UK parliament (and it is a real possibility), then video or even pictures run even more of a risk.
    2: video C.V. – great if your photogenic or look like Jennifer Aniston, but how many people freeze on camera and come across badly compared to how they are in person?
    3: video CV’s can be located but are not searchable. From a recruiters point of view, would you click and wait in the hope of hearing/seeing the right keywords? These also won’t come up in Boolean searches favoured by recruiters.
    4: Accesibility. not everyone has the technology or accessibility to record video or the bandwidth to play back fully. for sound, all you need is a phone or speakers, but only use as an embedded object in a traditional C.V. and keep to maximum 2 minutes.

    I get irritated by those that are repeatedly championing video c.v. as the panacea, anything may help but it probably won’t. This needs to be communicated to vulnerable job seekers.

    Thats off my chest, otherwise great points on using video. The webcam interview still represents less than 1% of first interviews conducted whilst telephone interviews are closer to 20%. I see this trend continuing.

    Video for promotion however, or for testing or making jobs stand out through use of social media is a whole different matter.

    Thanks for provoking debate


  4. Great points, Bill. I agree w/most as well.

    I don’t think that video CVs will take off as quickly as employer-driven videos, due to poor quality and uncontrolled content, which leads to misperceptions of the candidate. Video interviews, when guided by a recruiter or hiring manager, allow a better portrayal of a candidate’s ability to meet the job requirements.

    Video employment branding (and job branding for that matter) has become the norm on top-performing career sites. This will continue to increase expectations among the candidate community around desirable companies and their published content. (Don’t keep making the world’s best buggy whips 😉

    We have an audio product as well, which functions as a stepping stone to video – but I don’t think it will ever eclipse the resonating power of sight and sound combined.

    Thanks, Kevin.


  5. This article is music to my ears! Particularly agree with the screening potential of video. We created a library of independent industry and job profiles to really help bring careers to life. By retaining editorial control we avoided the corporate sell to give an honest perspective on careers – turning on the right candidates and turning off the wrong ones. Take a look http://www.careerplayer.com Love the quote we got from an Investment Banker “If don’t like the thought of getting up at 5am every morning for the next 30 years you might want to think about another career!”

    Really good (and slightly extreme) example of screening was an old Royal Marines ad ‘99.99% need not apply’. It actually drove down applications but the quality of candidate went sky high and resulted in many more trainees making it through the training and actually becoming Marines. http://tinyurl.com/mfkqqm

    I think the challenge for companies is to move beyond the slightly cliched corporate video into something more portable, engaging and where appropriate, fun. There are some good examples out there which i’ve linked to below but most companies are still slightly behind on this. For those that get it right though it can be really powerful for the employer brand.






  6. Thanks, Kevin. I believe video will revolutionize recruiting, but not in the way discussed. For a number of years, I have been advocating that recruiters move away from emphasizing low-touch, low-value add skills which can be eliminated, automated, or outsourced (the “EAO Triple Play”) toward high-touch, high-value add activities which can’t be EAO’d.

    I’ve also been curious as to what the effect of cheap, reliable, real-time broadband video will be on the concept of “high touch”. In other words, when we have this type of video access, why will we need to have onsite recruiters AT ALL? (I believe there must be some functions that require actual physical proximity, but darned if I can think of what they’d be.) If they can be anywhere, they can be where it costs a lot less for them.

    My other question (besides what recruiting areas require actual physical proximity) is what areas of recruiting are immune to downward price-pressure due to EAO and other factors, and why are they immune? Let me know, and I can organize the conference…


    Keith keithsrj@sbcglobal.net (Old School…)

  7. Great article Kevin –

    I have used video as a supplement in our job advertisements for over a year now. The results have been great. Search Sony Ericsson on Careerbuilder to see them. Cost was the initial deterrent. Once we found a company that would re-purpose the video’s from our marketing team the cost dropped significantly and fit into our budget. Careerbuilder made the video integration easy.

    Your article is a great road map for other uses.


  8. Video will rule recruitment eventually. There is no denying it. Every other industry has moved towards video, however the recruitment industry is stuck with text. Why? Why would you want to advertise your company or yourself with black and white words on a screen. How can anyone’s interest level be peaked with that?

    We have all read and heard of the same job titles, job ads and the like for to many years. A video job from the hiring manager can give a candidate a better feel for the manager they would be working for and likewise for the manager when the candidate applies. Video speeds up the process and ensures smarter hiring decisions are made.

    Here at Talent on View we are providing companies the ability to incorporate video into their process’s and to also extend this into a full multi-media platform with additional services and social media platforms.

    The recruitment world is changing, it needs to change and for those who jump on now will see the greater rewards while everyone else is trying to play catch-up.

  9. Once again, Kevin you are at the leading edge of the curve. At SmartSearch, we definitely see video as an emerging trend among users of our ATS.

    Recently, we’ve responded to client suggestions to add functionality to better support video resumes (right now you can store it as a file with a candidate record – but it’s not searchable). We have a number of suggestions in development, including video job posting.

    We also just added video-interview integration with GreenJobInterviews.com to save time and travel expenses with a simple, reliable online video interview system.

    I expect many ATS will be adding functionality & support for video.

  10. Another advantageous way to leverage recruiting video is for career education purposes. VirtualJobShadow.com (http:www.virtualjobshadow.com) is our award winning career education product that is used in thousands of schools nationwide and now distributed by Junior Achievement to reach over 9 million students worldwide. Our comprehensive career profiles (job branding profiles) inform Gen Y about the skills and education they need to reach their careers of choice. At the same time, students get an inside look at your company and corporate culture. VirtualJobShadow.com is an excellent way to reach your future workforce early in the career decision-making process- while students are in school.

    The video portion of our career profiles are repurposed onto the career pages of your own website too; an example from Gap Inc:

    For more, please check our ERE Recruitment Video 2.0 blog at http://community.ere.net/blogs/video-20-for-recruitment/

  11. Thanks Kevin – good follow up to your last article on video claiming, “Video is About to Become King — Are you Ready?”

    We would like to offer all ERE readers and users something special:

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  12. Video is powerful and the most impressionable medium in our world.

    Being on the phone, answering emails and reviewing resumes with hundreds of people we don’t want to talk to…how much time do you think we will waste with videos to consume us.

    Video rocks but we will need to learn to guard our time and evolve with the changing media

  13. Darrin made a valuable point: since there are only so many hours in a day to work- how should we use them? I believe we should eliminate, automate, or outsource any low-level activities we can and concentrate on what is most valuable, i.e., what we do best, enjoy most, or makes us the most money.


    Keith H

  14. Employer branding videos in combination with effective web dissemination technology is definitely the killer app for employers and their talent markets – on all platforms.

    The mega trend here is that companies are becoming more decentralized, transparent and authentic with their shareholder markets. It’s a global force that is sweeping through every industry, driven by technology, younger generational values and survival.

    Streaming video is a fantastic tool to even further tear down the wall between employers and talent. A great streaming video speaks to the right talent markets about what matters to them in making their career choice. It can show the company as a fantastic place to work for the right talent and make the whole experience visual. It’s more authentic storytelling than selling the dream.

    But creating a killer employer branding and recruiting video is not enough. The video needs to become part of the Internet ecosystem, find the right audience across social media platforms and search engines. It needs to exist in the right context where talent is researching and planning their careers.

    I think YouTube is great place for a company to get their feet wet and learn about social media. But YouTube is more about discovery and entertainment than about research and intent. We have several cases of where our employer videos at CareerTV.com have outperformed YouTube’s video views for a particular employer by 10 times.

    To effectively help employers with streaming videos for Gen Y there are three crucial components: real knowledge about the audience, a great technology platform for effective web dissemination and experience in made-for-web video programming.

    Best / Per Håkansson
    CEO CareerTV Worldwide

  15. I strongly believe that web video clips on the corporate side will be the trend for talent attraction and all this feeds into the talent communities or talent hubs that Lou Adler et al talk about.

    I’m not talking about the corporate-speak, glossy 7-minute video of the CEO, but exposing the real guts of the job from the hiring manager and making it real interesting in 90 seconds. But talent attraction is only one component. Also, right now recruiting video creation, collaboration and asset management is too expensive to get mass adoption from corporate recruiting budgets.

    By getting the hiring manager to talk about the details of the job, put it on tape job seekers are naturally interested in seeing this. But it needs to be created and edited professionally to have impact.

    Also, Recruiting directors can use it to educate cross functional sourcing teams. Aon is looking at video platforms like http://www.studionow.com and others to help in our RPO and RJP solutions.

    Great article Kevin, thanks

    Jason Krumwiede
    Aon Consulting RPO

  16. Using videos for assessment is a very stimulating idea especially for young and fresh job hunters. One problem is that sometimes videos face difficulty in being loaded. I would suggest that the video and simulation can never phase out the importance of initial screening after which the tasks of simulation and videos in recruitment become more meaningful.

  17. I agree that video will not replace in person interviews, but face-to-face live video allows an employer to prescreen a larger number of candidates at a low cost before flying in people from out of town, or for that matter making appointments with people across town. The time savings to the candidate is also a plus. Check out what Walmart has to say about video interviews http://www.greenjobinterview.com/walmartvideo

  18. You’re invited: Transforming Talent Acquisition with Live Virtual Interviews – April 8 webcast

    SmartSearch & GreenJobInterview.com invite you to see how face-to-face virtual interviews improves the candidate’s experience & reduces hiring costs

    Wednesday, April 8, 9am PDT
    Reserve your Webcast seat now:

    In this informative presentation, GreenJobInterview.com president Greg Rokos explains how face-to-face online interviews are transforming the talent acquisition process while offering significant cost savings, convenience, flexibility, and an entirely new level of candidate experience.

    Greg Rokos is an 18-year veteran of the recruiting industry. His extensive experience was the inspiration for the creation of GreenJobInterview.com, the leader in live virtual interviews as a way to cut costs & maximize time savings for both candidates & employers alike. Greg has been interviewed by NBC, CBS, Fast Company, HR Executive, HR Magazine and has made presentations at national industry conferences including ERE and HERC, as well as many Fortune 500 companies on how “going green” is revolutioning the talent acquisition process.

    PS: WE PROMISE this is not a glorified sales pitch; the presentation features real life examples of how employers are using video interviewing, and creating positive experiences for job candidates and hiring organizations.

  19. If having a photo on your resume is against the law because of potential discriminatory practices, how illegal is video? Unfortunately technology has advanced at a much faster pace than law. When the laws of the land catch up to technology, video may have a place. I still believe that major problem in hiring is a lack of a definitive, effect process in most companies who do not want to invest in, educate themselves as to how to do things better, invest in their employees career growth and educational upgrading. Technology is helpful in the recruiting process, but not the panacea everyone thinks it is. You still need the face-to-face contact. 80% of any hire is based on chemistry rather than qualifications. If people do not know the questions to ask in a face to face interview, what type of information is being transmitted via video?

  20. Completely agree with this post. One interesting tool that I have found is the Visual CV, which allows you to embed video as well as photos and a lot more. Seems like a lot of companies are signing up for it, and it is free to build your own CV. http://www.visualcv.com

  21. In the UK, we are just about to launch a video interview website called http://www.myvideoprofile.co.uk.

    MyVideoProfile.co.uk cuts the cost of hiring staff by allowing job seekers to record a video interview using their webcam. As recruiters set the questions, they can be sure that job seekers will give them the answers they’re looking for!

    For further information please email info @ myvideoprofile.co.uk

  22. Video,when legalized for interviewing purposes may be the way recruiting is headed, but before we get too excited let us look at some facts:

    1. At this time video, or any images that can be construed as potentially discriminatory, is illegal. The laws of the land will have to change in order for this to happen.

    2. Statiscally, American companies spent over $1 Trilion on turnover costs in 2009, emphasizing the need to focus on better hiring and retention issues utilizing existing acceptable practices.

    3. Statistically,75% of new hires did not meet the goals and expectations that were laid out in the interviewing process. Obviously, when you have these kinds of negative numbers, the current program needs to be improved before you incorporate technology into interviewing. If you don’t have a functional program now, video is not going to improve your hit ratio.

    4. Not everyone has broadband access, or a video cam.

    5. Video interviewing might be fine if you are attached to an ethernet cable, but, if you are mobile, all mobile operators are trying to find some way of limiting video flow and data, as both consume a lot of bandwidth. Unless massive infrastructure spending and implementation occur, the price of excess mobile data and video will rise, making it cost prohibitive. When you factor in the increasing demands through initiatives such as offline storage, web driven programs,VOIP,etc., the bandwidth just isn’t there.

    Other than implementing a more succesful hiring process within most corporations, there are probably many other technical and legal aspects that need to be addressed before I see video technology as being adopted by companies as a component in hiring.

  23. Edward, what are the sources/bases for these statistics?



    2. Statiscally, American companies spent over $1 Trilion on turnover costs in 2009, emphasizing the need to focus on better hiring and retention issues utilizing existing acceptable practices.

    3. Statistically,75% of new hires did not meet the goals and expectations that were laid out in the interviewing process.

  24. Keith,

    In response to your questions for #2 and #3,I do approximately 2 hours/day of reading each day, in additon to reseach. The figures quoted above come from a variety of sources: Saratoga Resource Financial Report; SHRM; American Management Association; Workforce Magazine; Harris Interactive Pools to name a few. As for the turnover costs,depending upon the salary the individual was making, the loss of business, employee replacement costs etc. and extrapolating the number of people corporations turned over in 2009, it is not too difficult to get to the $1 Trillion figure.

    Hope this answers your questions.

  25. Thank you, Edward. The $1T seems plausible; it’s the: “Statistically,75% of new hires did not meet the goals and expectations that were laid out in the interviewing process.” that I am skeptical about. I couldn’t find a quote that began “75% of new hires fail…”I was able to find this:


    September 11, 2009

    Forty-six percent of newly-hired employees will fail within 18 months, according to a new study by Leadership IQ. (Failure is being defined as: being terminated, leaving under pressure, receiving disciplinary action, or having significantly negative performance reviews.)

    But it’s not because they don’t have the right skills to do the job. Instead, the study found that 26% of new hires fail because they can’t accept feedback, 23% because they’re unable to understand and manage emotions, 17% because they lack the necessary motivation to excel, 15% because they have the wrong temperament for the job, and only 11% because they lack the necessary technical skills.?

    More telling? 82% of managers reported that in hindsight, there were red flags during the interview that they ignored.



  26. Keith,

    Thanks for the figures from Leadership IQ. I have seen the study but have not examined it. Some questions come to mind when I look at a study that heavily favors the employers point of view. How much overlap occured in this study? Other issues need to be examined. This study only involves 50% of the equation, how about the reasons the candidates feel they failed? What about unrealistic expectation, lack of support from the company, lack of training, personality conflcts with the boss,lack of management skills by the supervisor etc.? All these ingredients form the total picture. Even in the Leadership IQ study, a figure that approaches a 50% failure rate indicates that companies don’t really know what they are looking for, have a flawed process, don’t possess the interviewing skills to really delve into whether or not they know what they are looking for. I saw a recent article that an individual who attended the recent CTIA show in Las Vegas, where the writer stopped at 111 or so booths and asked the company what their value add proposition was? – only 6 people could tell him. The Leadership IQ survey is only one study, from one perspective, but it still illustrates the same problem and video is not going to solve it.

  27. We’ve been developing VideoRecruit.com for the last couple of years and are starting to see a real appetite for online recruitment profiles including video.

    Interestingly, on average users spend 45 minutes on our video upload page using our video recording software. Even more interestingly, only 12% go on to post their video online!

    We asked our users their reasons for not uploading their videos online…

    “I didn’t like the way I looked on camera”

    “I kept umm..ing all the time and didn’t like the sound of my voice”

    “I kept messing it up”

    “I just did it off the cuff as I only just found your website. I will practice before doing it for real”

    “The lighting wasn’t right, it looked very yellow”

    “I hate the sound of my voice”

    “I looked fat and my hair was a mess!”

    “The first minute was ok but them I started waffling and going off track”

    “I put it online then took it off when I saw how good some of the other ones are on there.”

    “I tried to record it about 20 times and in the end I just gave up as it wasn’t right.”

    So what have we learned? Well we learned that in order for someone to create a video CV they have to really want one. The reason is it takes time to get it right and for you to feel confident in putting it online. We learnt that people are very concerned about who can see their video CV, so we’ve given them the following options:

    1) Allow everybody to see my video
    2) Allow only registered companies and recruitment agents to view my video
    3) Allow only people I approve to view my video

    With respect to company recruitment videos again it takes time to get it right.

    1) You need the office space to look immaculate, some offices just don’t!
    2) You need all personnel to be prepped and ready, this can be a battle as some people don’t like being in front of camera!
    3) You need to distract everyone from working whilst you create the video
    4) The employee testimonials can quickly go out of date, especially if employees leave
    5) Company visions and values can change so it needs to be regularly kept updated

    Feel free to contact me simon_at_videorecruit.com, I’d love to hear your experiences/views…


  28. Great article Kevin, you’ve hit the nail on the head although as one of those Gen-Y’ers I’d like to point out that we do still read! There is however, a lot more access and more readily available viewing material today and it makes sense for companies to align their recruitment practices.

    Video interviewing for example, is clearly more budget friendly than paying for transport fees. It’s also time effective, since both parties can essentially do the interview in their own time (one-way interview). Plus worldwide interviews have never been easier. Read more about it here:

    I’d also hazard a guess and say that it’s not just Gen-Y that appreciate recruitment videos, there simply isn’t a more effective way to represent a company and it’s people than in a film. True an article can make you laugh, or not, depending on your employer brand, but a video, as it were, speaks a thousand (plus) words!

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