The beneﬁts of integrating video into the talent acquisition process continue to expand through new capabilities.
By Christa Elliott
The ﬁrst webcam was developed in 1991 at Cambridge University; it was used to monitor how much coffee was left in the coffee pot in the Cambridge computer science department break room. Fast-forward 25 years and the use of video technology is now leveraged in many different ways by today’s organizations. Video interviewing has been a key recruiting function for several years, but now employers are discovering other new uses for video in the talent acquisition process. Today’s tools help facilitate onboarding, bring candidate cover letters to life, and enhance employer branding efforts.
It may sound ironic, but video technology can actually bring a personal element to the hiring process: Organizations can reach more candidates on a more personal level through face-to-face interactions, no matter where they are. “Video, by its very nature removes two critical barriers in our everyday lives: not having to be at a speciﬁc location and not having to be available at a speciﬁc time,” says Christopher Young, founder of Async Interview and vice president of marketing for RIVS Digital Interviews. “Video technology allows the talent acquisition process to be streamlined by allowing candidates, recruiters, and managers to play their key roles with added ﬂexibility (i.e. location or time ﬂexibility).”
Research from ICiMS’ white paper Video Technology and the Modern Recruiting Process suggests that this medium can deliver an important message: “We want to get to know you better, and if you work for us, we will continue to care about your needs.” This approach can directly lead to more efﬁcient recruiting. According to the study, organizations were two or three times more likely to improve recruiting (time to ﬁll, cost per hire, hiring manager satisfaction) and business metrics (customer retention and customer satisfaction) after implementing video.
But convenience isn’t the only thing that makes video an excellent hiring resource. Video also creates continuity within the talent acquisition process and ensures
that all pre-hire and new-hire information carries same message about the companies values, goals, and expectations for its employees.
“There are a lot of intangibles that we’re used to picking up visually,” Young explains. “Videos create a way to personalize the experience and give candidates insight into some of the people that work at the company, the company environment, and overall culture.” Projecting a positive employer brand is especially critical when recruiting younger employees. According to the LinkedIn whitepaper Why Your Employer Brand Matters, employees under 40 years old are 61 percent more likely to associate employer brand with job consideration.
“Companies are only just starting to use video for employer branding,” adds PrismHR’s vice president of marketing Jonathan Wall. “Video adds great value to the brand identity of the company by letting candidates see inside their potential future employer before they even decide to apply and also shows open and transparent communication.”
Employer-branded video can take a variety of forms, but a few examples include videos that show leadership discussing company values; Q&As with employees about why they enjoy working for the company; and footage of employees participating in corporate retreats or group service projects.
Video job descriptions, which can stand in place of or as a supplement to a written job posting, are another example of branded video content. Research from the Talent Board found that “job descriptions are the most important job-related content that candidates look for when researching a job.” In fact, the 2015 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research Report found that 74 percent of candidates find the job description valuable while less than half of candidates find salary information, benefits information, and the candidate profile valuable.
With this in mind, imagine being a job applicant and clicking on an intriguing job title in hopes of learning more about the vacancy. Which would be more appealing to find on the job’s description page: a wall of text outlining responsibilities and qualifications, or a set of three short video clips from the hiring manager and two co-workers who highlight aspects of the job? Probably the latter.
“There are multiple advantages to including video, if you do it right. Generic videos about the corporation are not particularly interesting to candidates, but if you show them the actual people they will be working with and the actual work environment where they will be working, it is powerful,” says Maury Hanigan, president of SparcStart, a job marketing tool with video-enhanced job profiles. “The video clips put a human face on the job and bring them to life. They give you a sense of the culture and tell you what your potential boss and co-workers think are the important aspects of the job.”
All of these things will better enable candidates to gauge whether their values align with those of a company and whether or not they can imagine themselves working there.
Hanigan goes on to explain that when creating video job descriptions, the more informal the video the better. He recommends shooting the video on a phone or webcam, skipping fancy titles and graphics, and making it look less produced. As soon as sleek production features come into play, videos start to lose their authenticity and credibility.
Once candidates have familiarized themselves with an open position and determined that they want to apply, the focus on creating compelling content shifts from the employer to the applicant, and a new type of video functionality emerges. Keeping a job application at the top of the pile, so to speak, once meant writing an inspired cover letter describing one’s passion, experience, and personality in just one page—a challenging task made more difficult by the sea of competitive applications that now come in online.
But now, more and more applicants are offered another option: to record a “video cover letter” and put a face to their application.
“Candidates who submit video cover letters can have a leg up on job seekers who opt not to create a video cover letter because they can make a much more impactful and authentic impression on recruiters and hiring managers quickly, before even stepping foot inside of the office for an interview,” Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer for ICiMS explains. “Candidates can showcase their personality and presentation skills….[and] video cover letters can be extremely useful for our customers who are looking to fi ll customer-facing roles, like sales or retail, for example, where personal skills matter.”
Vitale also says that video cover letters can speed up the hiring process and sometimes eliminate the need for multiple on-site interviews—a valuable perk that makes filling entry-level roles and internships easier.
Kevin Stakelum, talent acquisition director for health insurance provider Humana, believes that using video cover letters will only help HR improve the talent acquisition process. The company is interested in learning more about applying this technology to the healthcare sector but currently focuses on leveraging video in their interview process.
Interviewing was one of the first—and remains the primary—application of video technology in today’s job market, but even the face of video interviewing is changing. The benefit of live video interviewing— processing more candidates faster and more flexibly without having to burn travel time and meeting expenses—is still very relevant, but on-demand or “asynchronous” video interviewing is now a growing trend because it offers even more flexibility.
“It’s the on-demand aspects of video interviewing that I believe are really driving talent acquisition to leverage video,” says Thomas Boyle, vice president of product for Montage, a provider of video and voice interviewing solutions for enterprises. “That’s the ability for you to establish questions in advance, send those video questions to your candidates, and allow those candidates to respond via a mobile device, anywhere and anytime. Then you get to review, rate, and share those video responses [with others involved in the hiring decision.]”
This functionality is especially helpful when hiring people with irregular work schedules, odd hours, or who are currently overseas. Stakelum, for example, uses Montage’s on-demand video technology to bolster Humana’s award-winning veteran hiring initiatives. The decision came after conversations with people in the military revealed that scheduling was a huge obstacle to their job search.
“When I thought about this tool, I realized we could allow that population the flexibility to record within their schedule, not ours. After we did that, we ended up applying video more broadly,” Stakelum explains.
Traditional approaches would dictate that video engagement ends here in the talent acquisition process— not so in today’s market. Video technology can also come in handy during the onboarding process; after all, every minute counts when it comes to bringing a new hire up to speed. Instead of having a manager educate a new employee on every task or saddling them with a hefty handbook, many employers now let videos do the job for them in certain areas. This approach is most common in the food service and retail industries, particularly for large corporations (global retailers, fast food chains, etc.), but can easily be applied on any scale.
According to the ICiMS’ white paper, Video Technology and the Modern Recruiting Process, “These embedded [onboarding] videos help the new hire hit the ground running, allowing them to get to know their new company and team prior to their official start date in their new role. Clients can even personalize the new hire experience, displaying videos specific to the new hire’s role or department alongside more general company educational materials.”
All of this is to say that while onboarding videos should never fully replace face-to-face training sessions, they can serve as a valuable supplement and a way to deliver simple training concepts faster and with more consistency.
What’s next? When it comes to talent acquisition, video has come a long way. From facilitating the interview process to revamping a dull job description or streamlining onboarding, there are numerous ways that organizations can—and should—be utilizing video to recruit and secure new hires. After all, video not only creates a more flexible experience for candidates, but it also can mean immense cost and time savings for employers.