There are 11 million job postings on LinkedIn. The average job posting is around 700 words, so seven billion seven hundred million words are deployed, right now, to garner attention and engagement from an audience who are usually already employed. That’s a great deal of effort and a lot of noise.
I’ve always been puzzled why there isn’t more innovation in the field of recruitment advertising. No one is zigging, everyone is zagging. With exceptions, like Applied or Textio, too few are attempting to break the cycle and do something different.
It’s obvious to most of us that the HR profession (in general) doesn’t excel in persuasion, marketing, or communication.
What this means is that most of these 11 million job postings contain very formal language, are not reader focused, are highly self-referential and are usually riddled with corporate cliches.
If you don’t believe me, just pick a random job post out and see for yourself.
In addition the impersonal, bulleted, wish-list approach, the writing in typical job ads seems purposefully built to disqualify everyone and actively discourage applications.
It’s no wonder that jobseekers tend to employ a scattergun approach to making applications. This in turn results in a high volume of hopefuls with a low volume of relevant and qualified candidates. Everywhere I’ve worked the percentage of relevant applicants is about 15%.
Frustration, wasted time and busywork for both sides of the hiring equation. Obviously there’s more to this than poor recruitment ads, but some blame lies there.
I’m betting on video to be the game changer for recruitment advertising. After all, video has replaced text in almost every other form of advertising.
I remember at a conference in Singapore back in 2012, one of my recruiting heroes, Dr John Sullivan laughed and winked as he told me that video advertising will be the biggest breakthrough in hiring. “Whoever gets that right…” he mused. I thought to myself… of course — but how?
LinkedIn and Facebook have already taught us that video updates are more engaging overall, globally, than image or text. Because in-feed video gets more engagement, posts are far more likely to reach passive candidates than a written ad. In addition to being more shareable, video job ads give jobseekers the chance to:
- Learn about your company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
- Meet the hiring manager
- See your company’s environment
- Gain an insight into the workplace culture and showcase diversity
- See where they’ll be working.
In addition, if all your job postings were hosted for free on YouTube, instead of in expensive paid job slots on LinkedIn, Glassdoor or Monster, you’d save a considerable amount of money, which you could invest in the paid promotion of video job ads.
So why hasn’t video become the predominant format for recruitment advertising yet? Let’s consider the barriers.
Camera equipment, audio equipment, lighting, gimbals, teleprompters. Expensive, complicated and cumbersome.
Whilst audiences demand authentic content, BigCo inc wants to shroud all of their external communications in a corporate veneer which requires a thousand approvers before publishing.
Most of us are comfortable with the occasional selfie and with being in public still shots, but many of us feel we lack the talent to be credible in a video.
There’s a company who have solved for this. They are a bunch of wily, endearing, customer success obsessed characters based out of Australia and they have a platform which is aptly called VideoMyJob.
VideoMyJob makes it simple for every hiring manager, HR or recruitment consultant to create an engaging, well-branded video job ad. Their video platform enables anyone to easily create compelling video content, to engage and attract better quality candidates and ultimately fill jobs faster. At least, that’s the promise.
Using a smartphone with a selfie-stick which has onboard lighting [solving the gear issue], and a teleprompter [solving the talent issue] VideoMyJob enables users to create, edit and share videos to social media and job boards, within minutes. Videos are easily customised with your brand’s logo, fonts and colours [solving the fear issue].
We’ve started using VideoMyJob, tentatively and experimentally. It’s been a lot of fun. Plenty of bloopers and definitely good traction. A lower volume of better qualified applicants.
To achieve scale with VideoMyJob will take time. Considering the place I work has more than 500 job vacancies in the US alone, at any given time, that’s a lot of text job ads to repurpose to video.
Here’s one of our videos, a job advertisement for a job in our own team, a recruitment coordinator.
Here’s another, this is a job post for a group director, a seriously senior position requiring deep experience in digital, specifically SEM and big budget social media.
Hiring managers can play too:
One thing we’ve learned about video job ads is that they don’t need to be perfect. In this fake news era, candidates in our target audience don’t trust polished, overproduced videos. To err is human, so we keep it real.
By the way, I heard somewhere that when the Navajo made a blanket or a rug, they always make it imperfect.
Their line of imperfection — their deliberate mistakes — is what makes their rugs human. They call the imperfection the rug’s spirit path. When they die, that path allows their spirit to escape their work.
What I mean by this is simple. Human-ness, imperfections, vigor and even sweat is what makes work work.
Will video job ads become the new normal and replace text ads? Honestly I don’t know, but I’m drinking deep of the Kool Aid and I’m going to try and bring this to life where I work. Wish me luck!