Corporate recruiting videos are recognizable at a glance. Invariably sleek, cheerful, and sharply edited, these multimedia ads are meant to showcase a company’s brand and convince potential hires that their dream job is just a short trip to HR away. They’re expensive, of course; a commercial production team’s skills and time don’t come cheap. A professionally produced video could run a company anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a clip.
Today, even large employers are struggling to capture high-quality employees from the increasingly competitive talent pool, so an investment in sleek recruiting videos seems to make sense. In fall 2018, unemployment in the United States reached a 49-year low of 3.9 percentand has continued to trend within a few tenths of that mark.
Qualified candidates have their pick of positions, while businesses are in a battle to convince potential employees to pick their offer over a competitor’s. The problem? Conventional corporate recruiting videos don’t work.
Modern Candidates Can’t Be Fooled
They may look sleek, but the “employees” these videos feature have actors’ polished smiles. Their scripts rely on slogans and soundbite-friendly lines rather than testimonials. In a society that increasingly prizes the real-time authenticity and personal flair of social media, traditional ads seem uninteresting at best and disingenuous at worst. Expensive and attractive as they might be, these videos don’t have the impact employers need.
Employee-generated content, however, may be a different story. According to statistics provided by LinkedIn, job candidates trust a company’s employees three times more than they do the company itselfto provide an honest depiction of the working environment.
Researchers further found that while only 2 percent of employees share a company’s social content, they’re responsible for a full 20 percent of its overall social engagement. Unique employee voices can define a brand far more than a generic ad ever could. Given that a full 86 percent of millennials believe that user-generated content indicates a brand’s quality, it’s fair to assume that content will continue to be important.
Alykhan Rehmatullah, co-founder and CEO of content engine Altru Labs, helps businesses highlight real employers and empower them to make video-based content. “Team perspectives are the most effective method of storytelling,” Rehmatullah explains. “Employees collectively put out a veritable goldmine of positive, company-forward content on their social media channels every day. Right now, that content is an underutilized resource, but it doesn’t have to be.”
Capitalizing on Authentic Viewpoints
Rehmatullah believes that if businesses want a hiring edge over their competition, they need to take advantage of in-house resources. Rather than rely on actors and scripted lines, they should put real employees in front of the camera and encourage them to share their firsthand experiences.
Since the company’s founding in 2017, Altru has developed partnerships with several high-profile companies, including L’Oréal, Dell, and Unilever. At the close of 2018, it raised $1.3 million in funding. Rehmatullah says that Altru Labs is providing an optimized, business-friendly vehicle for what employees are already doing. “People have these selfless conversations all the time,” he says. “How often have you taken a few minutes out of your day to help a friend or sibling prepare for an interview?”
Utilizing a video framework allows businesses to formalize and expand the advising process, cultivating interest in people who may not otherwise have felt comfortable moving forward. And those videos can cover a variety of topics, from what the full hiring timeline looks like to what types of opportunities await employees in a specific department. The goal is to capitalize on employees’ knowledge and speak directly to candidates’ hopes, concerns, and fears.
Video can humanize a company and make it feel real. And the more familiar a company feels, the more likely it is that a candidate will feel it’s a fit. “Don’t slick it up and make it look like a packaged mythological version of your organization,” says Meghan M. Biro, the founder of TalentCulture. “Show the real office, try to show aspects of the real culture, and truly convey what your organization feels like, looks like, and works like.”
Extending a Video’s Reach
Externally, employee stories provide potential hires with unique insights into a company’s culture and provide the foundation they need to establish a personal connection with the brand. Internally, giving employees the opportunity to take part in the recruitment process will empower them to be better mentors and more engaged team members.
As Rehmatullah points out, the videos’ employees become virtual mentors. The Millennial Leadership Survey, conducted by Virtuali and WorkplaceTrends.com, found that 91 percent of millennials are interested in holding leadership roles. With leadership roles not always accessible at the level or on the timeline employees hope for, mentorship roles give employers an additional retention tool. Not only can videos bring in new hires, but they can also help keep high performers already on the company roster by providing leadership opportunities — a valid concern in a job seeker’s marketplace.
And getting employees involved in producing these videos brings the whole process full circle. “When you ask employees to get involved in the creation of your content, it gives them ownership and a sense of pride over the finished product,” employee engagement content hub Smarp’s Danielle Antosz explains. “This, in turn, makes them more likely to share the final product.”
While employee-made videos might not be as polished, pretty, or sharply edited as commercially produced ads, the positive impact they have on recruiting and company culture is far greater. In an era of authenticity, company branding should rely on the very assets that make the company great: employees.