Why Recruiting Has to Go Video

Aug 14, 2009
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

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 and

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, 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 posts your video job description focused on Gen Y candidates to 45 different video sharing sites.

To hold career fairs
Virtual career fairs have been around for a while, mostly focused on college recruiting. 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,, and

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.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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