Job Seekers Find Job Postings with Video More Compelling

Fidelity offers tips on creating your own videos for job ads

By Roy Maurer Nov 29, 2016
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AUSTIN, Texas—Embedding short, authentic videos—featuring hiring managers and co-workers—within job postings will increase job seeker engagement, according to Trish Davis, director of talent acquisition, recruitment products and vendor relations at Fidelity Investments in Ithaca, N.Y.

Fidelity began using this strategy in talent acquisition a few years back when it started producing videos to promote its brand on social media. In 2014, Davis led a digital interviewing pilot project that has since scaled up to cover much of the organization.

"We started doing more video conferencing for one-on-ones and meetings," Davis told attendees at the Human Resource Executive Talent Acquisition Tech Conference. "As a culture we were getting used to being on video."

A next logical step was using video to enhance engagement with job postings. "Our job posting was typical HR lingo," she said. "It told all about us and what the job was about. But it missed character. It was missing the 'what's in it for the candidate.' And at a time when so much is personalized to the consumer, we recognized that we had an opportunity."

Focus on the Candidate

Fidelity took on an overhaul of its staid job ads with the goal of moving the focus from the company and the job to the candidate. Davis and her team reformatted the language used in the ads and trained recruiters to get on the same page. At the same time, she started to experiment with embedding videos of the hiring manager talking about what kind of person would best fit the open role. "We lifted the curtain so that the candidate could hear directly from the hiring team," Davis said.

People will spend at least twice as long looking at a job post with video, said Maury Hanigan, founder and CEO of Sparc, a recruitment marketing and engagement firm based in New York City, who also spoke at the conference. "If it's short and to the point, people will watch it. And you have more of a chance to pique their interest or get them excited about the job. Ideally, if they are the right fit, the more interested they will become. And if they are not the right fit, they will opt out."

Hanigan shared research from Sparc that showed that people will share job ads at least four times as often if they contain video. "We all want our employee referral programs to bring us more candidates, but your employees are bored by your job posts and will not share them," she said. "When you give them interesting video, particularly if they are in the video, they will tweet it out. It's live and dynamic. It's clickbait. It really is dramatically different than sending somebody paragraphs of text."

Talk to the candidates directly, Hanigan said. Tell them what kind of training they will get, what kind of impact they will have on the organization, who they will be working with, and what the job could lead to.

It's a good idea to provide a sense of the work environment, she added. "Don't over sanitize it. Let's hear the cacophony at a call center or in a restaurant kitchen. Someone that doesn't want that environment can opt out. Those that hear that energy and get excited may take the next step."

Fidelity's ads sometimes pair a video from the hiring manager with up to two additional clips introducing potential co-workers. The videos are about 30 seconds in length, and are shot on a smart phone or tablet by the hiring manager or recruiter. "If you want an almost guaranteed 90-percent click rate, the videos must fall between 20-30 seconds, and no longer," Hanigan said. "You just want the video to pique interest. You want it to engage with the candidate, so they will click and consider applying for the job. You're providing them with that spark to take the next action."

[SHRM members-only how-to guide: How to Target Passive Job Seekers]

It's OK to Be Uncomfortable

Don't underestimate the discomfort factor. "Not everyone is going to want to be on video," Davis said. "That is a huge thing to work with people on. We invested in training and tools for our recruiting staff and hiring managers. Not everyone was comfortable with it."

Hanigan said that the problem is that people often think the video has to be perfect. "They think they have to replicate a highly produced video. What they don't understand is that most candidates—the Millennials—are used to seeing their friends on unproduced video. It's authentic and candidates value that. As soon as [current employees] get over the idea that it has to be perfect, they get much more comfortable."

She stressed that companies should not use actors, or rigidly scripted employees. "Let your people talk. Because they are not trained actors, they can't pull off a script. They'll sound stiff and you will lose credibility instantly and won't truly engage people."

Davis said Fidelity provides best practices, talking points and suggested durations in lieu of scripts to anyone appearing on video in the ads. "We don't want all the videos sounding alike. We don't want it to be staged, but we have an approval process in place and approve all videos before they go live," she said.

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