A picture shouldn't be worth a thousand words– at least not if you're using "moving pictures" to advertise an open job. Video job postings are a powerful medium for connecting with top talent, but only if they're crafted as trailers rather than full-length feature presentations.
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There are two important reasons for adopting video job postings. First, the medium itself is compelling. Whether it's on CNN,YouTube, or a thousand other sites, online videos are now watched, reposted, and discussed by boomers, Gen. X-ers, and millennials alike. Second, the medium stands out on the Web. The algorithms of Google, Bing, and other search engines give videos strong scores, which translate into higher search engine rankings for the content.
Video job postings, like their text-based cousins, must follow the "Golden Rule of Recruitment Advertising": What you do to recruit top talent will also recruit mediocre talent, but the converse is not true. In other words, the key to creating an effective video ad is to design it for the most discerning, most challenging audience: passive, high-caliber performers who are already employed and reluctant to make a change. Get it right for that population, and you'll get it right for everyone else.
To accomplish that goal, however, you must first understand some of the key defining attributes of top talent. They:
have the attention spans of gnats, so must be captured quickly;
don't see themselves as job seekers, so they dislike the vocabulary of job searching;
listened to their mothers, so they won't speak to strangers but will listen to their peers.
Collectively, these attributes establish the optimum format and content for a video job posting. Let's look at each of them in a bit more detail.
1. Top Talent Have the Attention Spans of Gnats, so Must Be Captured Quickly
They won't sit still for an ad that runs on and on. The optimum length for a video job posting, therefore, is at least two minutes – to ensure you provide enough information to engage them – but no more than four minutes – to prevent them from bailing out in boredom.
No less important, passive talent does not react to a video job posting the way most active job seekers do. A two-to-four minute video will not convince them to move from the devil they know (their current boss, employer, and commute) to the devil they don't know (a new boss, a different employer, and a strange commute). They'll want to study the opportunity in more detail, so design your video ad as a trailer – tantalizing the viewer with the opening's possibilities – and close it with a simple text link to a career site or landing page where they can see a complete presentation of the job and apply, if they're interested.
2. Top Talent Don't See Themselves as Job Seekers, So They Dislike the Vocabulary of Job Searching
The best talent think traditional job searching terms like "requirements" and "responsibilities" are words only an employer could love. As they see it, that's information employers want them to know, not the insights they want to uncover about an opportunity.
Therefore, take the individual's perspective in framing your video ad and tell them what's in it for them. Answer these five questions about the job opening:
What will I get to do?
What will I get to accomplish?
What will I get to learn?
With whom will I get to work?
How will I be recognized and rewarded?
3. Top Talent Listened to Their Mothers, so They Won't Speak to Strangers but They Will Listen to Their Peers
The first factor top talent consider when evaluating an employment opportunity is the nature of the work experience. They want to know what it will be like to work in their field in the organization. For that reason, they accord more credibility to and place more trust in video ads that feature their peers and potential direct supervisors rather than traditional organizational spokespeople like recruiters and corporate executives.
Text-based recruitment ads will continue to be an important recruiting tool, but video job postings can have an emotional impact that is very hard to achieve with the written word. Designed as a trailer for an employment opportunity and tailored to the unique attributes of top talent, they can be especially effective in moving passive prospects to an active and engaged state. And that's exactly where you need them to be to recruit them.
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