As part of our Talent Blazers series we spoke with Emily Haire, Talent Acquisition Leader at Leidos, to find out how some clever candidate experience innovations helped plan a successful video roadmap for a highly secure, conservative organization.
Emily Haire can’t tell you precisely what Leidos does. It’s not that she doesn’t know – it’s just that, when your work involves bespoke software development for clients such as the Australian Federal Government and Defence Force, there’s not much you can tell people about it.
That sort of highly regulated, conservative environment creates some challenges when it comes to using video in your recruitment lifecycle. Luckily, innovation and creative problem-solving are Leidos’s bread and butter.
Navigating unique challenges in a talent video roadmap
It was always going to be a tough sell. From ”nervous” hiring managers to serious privacy concerns, the Leidos talent team’s proposed video strategy would have to be carefully considered – from literally every angle.
“Quite often, we see cool videos from other providers where they’re walking around an open-plan office and engaging with different people,” Emily says. “Straight off the bat, we realized we couldn’t do that because of what you might be able to see on a computer screen or on the floor – perhaps a presentation might be taking place – those types of things.”
So the Leidos talent team got pragmatic, looking for quick wins and safe ways to embed video in their everyday work life and processes.
“We focused on developing video content that was going to tie in with things like candidate experience and onboarding experience,” Emily says.
It’s a savvy approach. As the State of Video in Talent (SOVT) 2021 report shows, video is a powerful and increasingly popular recruitment tool, with 75% of respondents saying its value has increased since the pandemic began.
Clever examples of candidate experience innovation
Emily’s team knew their candidate experience could be a bit rocky so, like 50% of SOVT respondents, it became one of their primary business drivers in the pivot to video. Thanks to some ingenious integrations, they were able to turn things around, boosting engagement and comfort right from the get-go.
For instance, “When we invite candidates to come in and interview with us, they receive an email response, but in that email an embedded video tells them exactly what to expect in the interview process,” Emily says.
“It lets them know the types of questions we are going to ask, who’s going to be involved in the interview, what the next steps look like after that, and the time frames that you should expect to hear from us.”
Videos showing interviewees how to navigate the Leidos corporate headquarters in Melbourne was another clever example of candidate experience innovation.
Their strategy is all about finding ways to add that personal touch, Emily explains.
“We’re looking at embedding video into our whole onboarding experience. From the time that you sign a contract, you’ll start to receive regular content from us after that point. It could be a personalized welcome from the CEO, or it might be a video talking about our values.
“We looked at what are our parameters: what’s our problem statement and what are the quick, easy wins that we can implement tomorrow that will start to have a significant impact on humanizing Leidos, who we are and what we do, and what it’s like to work here.”
Types of videos that positively influence resistant employees
If you’re facing internal video resistance in your organization, Emily recommends starting with videos that aren’t going to create a burden for your hiring managers.
“If you’re getting that resistance early, show them the ways that you’re implementing video that requires no input from them initially. It can help them get comfortable with the concept,” she says.
Her other top tip is to “let the experience do the influencing for you”. For example, Leidos’s “first-day” video, sent as a text message to new starters a few days before their commencement date, has been a big hit.
“We can’t wait to have you start!” the video tells newcomers, giving them a warm welcome before explaining everything they need to know for their first day on the job.
This innovative talent strategy soothes first-day jitters, vastly improving the onboarding experience for new team members, who have been singing its praises.
“I think having positive feedback and experiences from candidates or from the business from the people who are on the receiving end of the video ends up doing a lot of that influence work for you,” Emily says.
“And you gain momentum in that excitement, and it makes it easier to go, ‘Great, how about we get you involved next time and you do the welcome video with us?’ So, I think those little wins start to pave the way for progress.”
Want to hear the full story? Watch the interview with Leidos’s Emily Haire.