The 8 Great Benefits of Going to Video Job Descriptions

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May 15, 2014

First of two parts

If you don’t know what a video job description is, it is a short video clip where the hiring manager and team members describe the exciting aspects of a particular job in order to convince top-quality but reluctant prospects to apply.

A video job description is a supplement to, rather than a replacement for, the standard and often tedious 100 percent text narrative job description.

You should consider adopting video job descriptions because they are about to become “the next big thing” in convincing prospects to apply. Video job descriptions, or VJDs, are also a 3-for-1 opportunity for measurably improving your recruiting results.

A way to improve recruiting results

First, they are an opportunity because they provide the job seeker with an authentic human view of the job from the team’s perspective that makes it easy for the prospect to see, hear, and feel their excitement for the job and the passion it has for filling it with the right person.

VJDs are also an opportunity because by using video in this new way, applicants will see that your firm is bold and that it is willing to use innovative approaches (even in recruiting) that include technology, video, and that use social media.

Finally, video job descriptions provide you with an opportunity to re-examine the painfully dull 100 percent text job descriptions that most organizations currently use, and to improve upon them so that they provide a competitive advantage over the less-compelling job descriptions of the same job at your competitor firms.

Current descriptions drive away active job seekers

I have been writing since 1999 about the disastrous results created by the standard 100 percent text job description. If the goals of these job/position descriptions are to inform and excite the prospect, it should be obvious that potential applicants aren’t finding much excitement in them.

A recent study by TheLadders found that the average prospect spends only 50 seconds on a job posting description before moving on. They spend only 22 additional seconds reading the ones that cover a job that they have decided to apply for (meaning that they apply for jobs without knowing much about them).

It should be obvious to hiring managers and recruiting leaders that if your top active prospects can’t find a combination of excitement and a good fit for themselves in a description within less than a minute, those individuals will not apply for that job at your firm.

Obviously if they are looking at job or position descriptions, your audience is primarily made up of active prospects. But in the rare case where the so-called “passives” (currently employed individuals who are not actively seeking a job), are for some reason viewing a job description, a dull description that is not noticeably more exciting or compelling than their current job will immediately cancel any interest that they had in shifting into job-search mode.

Job descriptions that don’t stand out and excite may be reducing the applications from a large percentage of both active and passive prospects. I estimate that as many as 25 percent are driven away simply because your position descriptions don’t build on (or may even counter) the excitement that the prospect originally had as a result of their viewing your website or your employer branding messages.

8 benefits associated with video job descriptions

Short videos are extremely popular with almost all generations. They can be found almost everywhere, including on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Yes, 100 percent text job descriptions or position announcements can also be found almost everywhere, but unfortunately, they are seldom popular or effective. In fact because they are text-only in a world full of video, narrative job descriptions are quickly becoming a weak link in the recruiting chain.

However, in direct contrast, a well-crafted video job description (or job posting description) can have many advantages and benefits. They include:

  1. They present an authentic message – Having the hiring manager and the team appear in the video simply makes any message appear more compelling and believable because they cover the perspectives of those who work with the person in this job every day. By cutting out corporate PR and lawyers out of the job description process, the resulting video message is almost always perceived as more genuine, believable, and “real.” In marketing, that is known as authentic.
  2. You can project excitement – If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the impact that a video with sound can make? The combination of video, sound, and using real employees makes it much easier for the prospect to see and feel the energy, excitement, and passion of the manager and the team. Text alone can probably never have the same impact as a compelling video, and well-designed ones have produced measurably improved applicant quality.
  3. It’s possible to “meet the team” – We know from research by Gallup that two of the criteria that prospects use to assess a job are the quality of their manager and their coworkers. Well, the video job description can provide the prospect with an opportunity to briefly meet both the hiring manager and the team. And if the participants in the video are excited, that is generally enough to provide the individual with a high enough level of interest so that they want to find out more about the team during the interview process.
  4. Many are willing to watch them – Video job descriptions receive many views (one firm found that they average 1,000 views) in part because they are unique but also because they are short. Research shows that the shorter they are (with most lasting less than two minutes), the higher the likelihood that they will be clicked on and viewed. The popularity of short video clips like Vine further reinforce the value of brevity. Unfortunately, their short length also requires those making them to be extremely creative in getting a powerful message across quickly.
  5. Mobile platform and social media placement expands their visibility – Because  prospects carry their mobile phone with them constantly, making job description videos accessible on this platform makes it much more likely that they will be immediately viewed and immediately responded to with an application. Obviously it is also smart to allow individuals to completely apply for open jobs using only their mobile phone. It is equally important to place your video descriptions on all of the popular social media channels like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You should also encourage the hiring manager and their team as well as employees to use them as part of their messaging when they are trying to sell potential referrals.
  6. Diversity can be displayed – Because several different teammates can be visible in these videos, it is easy to demonstrate to outsiders the diversity of your team. Rather than the standard headquarters-created job descriptions, these videos can and should be localized so that they cover positive features of the job that “corporate” might not even be aware of.
  7. They can view your facility – If your facility or work area is particularly exciting, video job descriptions provide you with the opportunity to visually show it off. If you have particularly advanced equipment, that can also be used as a background or as an integral part of the video.
  8. They are fast and cheap to create –– In the past, most video job descriptions were made by professionals, which meant that they were more expensive and they took longer to finalize. But now that most mobile phones have the capability of producing extremely high-quality video, VJDs can be produced by the hiring manager in an hour with almost no out-of-pocket costs. The only significant time delay is if your organization chooses to have recruiting review or edit the videos before they are posted.

Tomorrow: How to Successfully Implement Video Job Descriptions