How to Successfully Implement Video Job Descriptions

Article main image
May 16, 2014

Second of two parts

Yesterday, I wrote about the many benefits of going to video job descriptions.

If you’re willing to try video interviews out, here are some of my recommendations to consider.

1. Who should make the video?

You might think that hiring managers would be reluctant to do video interviews, but the opposite is often true because they are excited about having a new way to attract top performers. By the way, even though there are professionals who will make these videos for hiring managers, start off by having the managers make their own.

Make it easier for them by providing samples of both good and bad ones and give them advice on how to do a quality video, but believe it or not, a little less-than-perfect video might actually add to its authenticity and credibility.

2. What topics should be covered?

Never guess what prospects care about. Instead, survey a few of them (or ask new hires during onboarding) and ask them what they would like to learn about a job when viewing a video job description.

Rank the items that are most important and place them early in the video. Generally prospects want to know something specific about the hiring manager/team leader and any unique excitement factors that would cause top performers to want to know more.

Other factors that will “trigger” applications include interesting projects, learning, and growth opportunities, interesting challenges and the culture and the management style that they will operate under.

3. Who should be in the video?

Once again you should do some testing to see what works best to increase applications, but I recommend a video where both the hiring manager and several team members participate.

If you have to select team members, remember to include those who show excitement and diversity.

4. How long should the videos be?

You should do some experimenting to find out the actual length where viewing drops off significantly, but remember that “Vines” on Twitter are only six seconds and Instagram videos are only 15 seconds.

I generally recommend that two minutes be the limit (most are 30, 60, or 90 seconds), unless your metrics show that prospects are willing to watch longer versions.

5. Where should you place the videos?

Obviously, you want to place video job descriptions wherever you traditionally put your 100 percent text job descriptions.

Clearly they should appear on your corporate careers website. They may also be appropriate alongside your job postings (or with a link) on job boards, on your social media landing pages, and sent periodically to individuals who have joined your talent prospect community.

You should also encourage your employees to include them when they are soliciting referrals through email, Facebook, or Twitter.

6. Should I still have text job descriptions?

Yes. A video job description does not replace written descriptions; it merely adds an option to view either one or both. But please don’t forget to get some marketing help in rewriting your standard job descriptions so they are not as dry as toast.

And also remember to test the description’s “level of attractiveness” in a side-by-side comparison (simply place your text job description alongside several similar job descriptions from your competitors and see if yours is routinely selected as the most attractive job).

7. How do video descriptions differ from branding videos?

Employer branding videos are focused on the company and the factors that make it overall a good place to work.

A video job description has a much narrower focus because it covers only one specific job and the aspects of that job that make it more attractive than similar jobs at other firms.

8. Additional suggestions

Offer to help hiring managers prepare their first video job description in order to reduce any resistance. At some organizations, the hiring manager does the raw video and recruiting handles the final editing and posting.

Use a script to ensure that all of the identified “excitement factors” are included within the time limit. The most common error is bad lighting, so you might recommend places in your facility where the lighting is excellent.

Incidentally, an alternative approach to consider uses an “infographic” to make the words in a standard job description “come alive” in an easy to scan graphic format.

Evidence that video job descriptions improve results

Obviously there will be skeptics who don’t immediately see the value of video job descriptions. Start wearing down the resistance by providing outside evidence to demonstrate the impact that video job descriptions have on applicant quality, for example:

The quality of candidates increased dramatically since the video was launched. – S. Erskine, NZCF

You may also be able to build executive confidence by noting that many well-known firms including Deloitte, Accenture, NPR, and VMware have used video job descriptions going back as far as five years.

However if your executives demand a higher level of internal proof that VJDs produce higher-quality applicants, start with a sample group of potential applicants. Show each individual the standard narrative job description for a relevant job, and then a revised narrative “sales version” that was improved based on market research.

Your best candidates will reference the job video

Finally show each a video job description. Immediately after presenting each version, simply ask the prospects to rate their willingness (on a zero to 100 scale) to take the next step and actually apply for a job. You will find that the video version ranks first and the “sales version” will rank second.

Combining the two will produce even higher “willingness-to-apply” rating results. If you are really bold, conduct a split control group sample where you randomly select half of the job postings for a popular job and add a video job description to it.

For the other half of the job postings, let them remain unchanged. Add a tag or a unique web link to the position opening so that you know which applications come from the standard description or the description with the added video.

The highest volume of applicants and also the highest quality of applicants will come from the group that includes the video position description.

One final way to prove the impact of video interviews is to simply ask all new hires during onboarding whether they saw and accessed a video. And for those that viewed them, did they have a significant impact on their decision to apply? After a year, see if the new hires who viewed the videos ended up with higher-than-average performance rankings or bonus percentages than those who didn’t view them.

Final thoughts

There are many fads that come along in recruiting; generally, avoid them. But rather than being a fad, I view job description videos as a permanent addition to your recruiting tool kit.

Video job descriptions will only gain in usage as a result of the growing popularity of short videos combined with the almost universal usage of the mobile phone platform, where videos can be easily viewed 24/7. Although their use is not yet widespread, there is sufficient evidence to show that these video job descriptions can be a primary factor in getting reluctant prospects to take the next step and actually apply for the position.

They are unique, cheap, and quick and they work, so what else could you ask for?

If you would like to see a sample video job description, click on this link.