By MobileWirelessJobs / MobileContentJobs
NEW YORK – Perhaps Mobile Recruiters are too savvy. They are always ahead of the curve. Perhaps they aren’t too sensitive to the complex labor issues surrounding candidate online recruitment videos as a pre-screening tool. Perhaps they are simply too desperate to reduce the hiring cycle for sourcing qualified candidates with essential skill sets. Whatever the reason, online recruitment videos are here to stay and the early adopters have already begun to reap the rewards.
The value, creation and distribution of video content certainly have exploded since the footprint of YouTube took shape on the Internet landscape. What began as a simple and perhaps naïve marriage of messaging and placement has more recently become an online recruitment marketing mouthpiece for brand-centric recruitment ad agencies and tech savvy candidates in the ever competitive war on talent. It is no longer sufficient to simply film yourself or your company and throw it online – you now must craft your recruitment message effectively and deliver some punch as well.
Since 1999 and before YouTube existed, the phrase “Video Resume” was used as the universal term to mean any online video that contained content related to jobs or hiring. “Yes, in fact, the phrase was such a ridiculous term anyway because the content never truly represented a true resume nor its method of distribution,” says Rob Salerno, President of HROnlineMarketing.com, the online talent acquisition and interactive human resources marketing consulting arm of Cinnamon Entertainment Group LLC. “What it really became, for a short while at least, was a gadget for candidates and (to a lesser extent) employers to film themselves with a camcorder and pass it around as though it were a sophisticated form of promotion.”
In short, these videos toiled in the wild west of online recruitment. Only the most adventurous candidates and so-called “cutting edge” employers used online recruitment video content as a lead generation tool (i.e. job offers). The most famous of which was the video resume of Aleksey Vayner, the Yale student who had applied for a position at the investment bank UBS using his piece entitled “Impossible Is Nothing.” Instead, Mr. Vayner became the poster child for poor organization and unfocused messaging that had plagued online recruitment videos as a pre-applicant tool.
“So what did we learn from that?” asked Salerno. “Well, I think we concluded a few things. First, online recruitment videos are a legitimate medium of recruitment communication because many people took notice including the NY Times. Second, if you deliver a convoluted message no one will understand what recruitment need you are seeking to address. Third, in order to compare candidates equally they must be pre-screened using the same criteria across the board or you will see large variances in the content and therefore poor assessment benchmarking.”
The question then begs: who are the actual early adopters? “So far, aside from a small number of firms, this level of candidate pre-screening assessment is quite frankly being done outside of the HR organization by a few renegade staffing and hiring managers,” Salerno confirmed. “In most cases, the first contact is from a manager explaining that they have a lot of candidates that they want to connect with to interview and very little time to do it in and want to use someone like us” says Ryan Money, CEO of HireVue, a leading provider of video interviewing, and usually “after the test is when we get pushed through the organization which is why we welcome pilots.”
Its not surprising, though, that Mobile recruiters have asked and accepted online recruitment video content from several available distributors (including MobileWirelessJobs.com) and have mainly conducted their business largely at home and during non-business hours, particularly by those companies based in the US. “We kind of laugh about it actually. We picture these recruiters receiving the links to this content at home in the middle of the night, behind a secret trap door in the basement, where they can quietly and privately scout the latest talent without big brother’s knowledge,” Salerno remarked. Kind of like Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) scouting the Soviet Union in the movie ‘Miracle’ for the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team.
So what then is the primary reason why HR feels uncomfortable with this technology? “Right now, it seems HR believes they will have a compliance cow if any recruiter or hiring manager knowingly and officially participates in this method of candidate pre-screening because it is perceived to possibly give some candidates an advantage over others,” Salerno added. Thus, companies like HireVue have necessitated that candidate video assessment be standardized across the board using the same criteria, screening and selection methodology in order to counteract any possible advantage some candidates might have over others.
Perhaps it goes almost without saying that many US companies today fear the use of online candidate videos due to the possibility of a discrimination suit. The rest of the world may not harbor the same fear, but US companies still show that concern even though it’s slowly waning. Mobile recruiters, though, have wasted little time and have already successfully recruited several candidates through MobileWirelessJobs. It’s probably not a coincidence that most of these companies aren’t US based.
Yet, if the goal of leveraging online recruitment video during the candidate assessment phase is to reduce the hiring cycle and costs, then the tool should no longer be considered a luxury communication gadget. The less time a hiring manager or recruiter can assess a candidate and make a decision, the quicker they can make an offer and recruit someone. “The hiring cycle is already short for senior level candidates (especially those with hard-to-find skill sets), but the hard-to-find candidates aren’t necessarily the best target group for this tool in my opinion,” Salerno mentioned. “I believe this medium works best for narrowing down a long list of similar yet suitable candidates all the while maintaining the focus on addressing specific recruiting needs.”
This does not mean, however, that online video recruitment works best for recent college grads, for instance, which tend to fit that description. “Not necessarily. It would work well at all levels,” Salerno replied, “It just means that when candidates of similar skill sets and experience reach a saturation point in the hiring market then online recruitment videos can help you to narrow the list.”
The inherent fear for some recruiters is that these online recruitment videos could possibly eliminate some potential top performers by accident because they don’t film well. “Exactly. That’s why we want to educate our clients that they should use this medium as a piece of the pre-applicant mix, not the entire process,” Salerno added. “It’s equivalent to a college admissions department immediately rejecting a kid because his SAT or ACT scores weren’t high enough. If you are a good recruiter you should look at the total sum of all the parts before making that call.”
But where do employer online recruitment videos fit in this process? Employers have long since begun to podcast online recruitment videos in an effort to attract passive candidates. Only in a few cases, though, have companies been praised for creating effective HR online marketing campaigns for doing so. “Thus far, Google has the best employer video I’ve seen on the market. Their message is succinct, hosted by someone in operations (i.e. an engineer that most candidates can relate to) and includes a few comments from one of the co-founders with a call to action at the end,” Salerno cited.
Too often, employer online recruitment videos have looked and felt like online corporate brochures. “That is the wrong approach. If the message is too stiff with very little insight as to what candidates can expect from day one, it will come across as being insincere and severely polished, ” Salerno continued. “Yes, you want senior management involved but only to the extent that they can be effective recruiters who can deliver compelling reasons why qualified candidates should apply. Anything less will feel like a cheap commercial.”
In sum, online recruitment videos are a two way street. Candidate online recruitment videos must address specific employer recruitment needs through a common evaluation process; Employer online recruitment videos must be proactive with effective and succinct recruitment messaging in order to convert passive candidates into qualified applicants. While less than 10% of all mobile recruiters have thus far successfully used this medium as a candidate pre-screening tool or have since created savvy employer online recruitment videos, these firms are still well ahead of the curve. However, as we move forward in this new age of online recruiting, we expect this trend to reach close to a quarter of all mobile wireless companies in the next year.
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