Using Video As a Recruiting Magnet

Over the past couple weeks, we’ve been reviewing best practices with the use of Social Media.  If you were on the fence, hopefully you’ve now bought into the idea of using social media strategically. We’ve mentioned video a lot – mainly because it gives the audience a first-hand look at your operations and your culture. To reiterate, the whole purpose of using social media is to achieve scale, and produce a network effect – reaching an audience you would never be able to reach without. Once you’ve reached those people, nurturing them over time to the point where, if conditions are right, they come to you for a job instead of the other way around (inbound marketing).  Today, let’s dive deeper into video. When most people think about video, they equate it to massive budgets, production, editing, scripting etc.   How can you use video, in an affordable manner, while also capturing a genuine and professional glimpse into your company’s culture, work environment and ambitions?

First, a Demand Gen survey found that 70% of respondents prefer an inexpensive format that pretty much any of us can produce with something that’s likely in your pocket or on your desk.  We’re talking about that smartphone that all of us carry.  Most phones manufactured in the last 3 years are capable of recording 1080p, high definition video.  If you have a little bit larger budget then invest in a digital SLR camera, such as the Nikon D3400 or Canon Rebel T5 – both priced under $500 – and a tripod to keep things steady (see this great article on some equipment suggestions).  You will get a better product and have more options with a decent digital SLR camera.

The next thing to consider is having the proper lighting.  When in doubt, face your light source.  If the light is behind you it will cast you in a silhouette and make it hard to see the images that you are trying to present.  In addition, if you are outdoors and have the sun behind what you are recording, they will get washed out.  So, a few other tips.  One – the sun is free so use it as much as possible.  Two – make sure to do a few test shots if you are using artificial lighting as many bulbs can give a yellow tinge that may not be visible to the naked eye but will show up on the camera. The better the lighting, the more professional the video will look.

Third is invest in a good microphone.  Poor sound quality will quickly chase your audience away.  The one on your smartphone will be ok if your subject is close to the phone and the filming is done in a quiet room with no background noise.  If you are shooting outdoors in a windy or noisy location, then the background noise will likely drown everything else out.  If you don’t use an external microphone, expect to spend more time with your video editing software and doing voice-overs that may or may not match up to your video.

Next, set up a professional looking background.  This could be as simple as a nice bookcase, the awards case in your office or even a nice park that is nearby (check out this article on backgrounds).  It is usually much better to not complicate things (see this vidyard.com post for some more tips).  If you decide on a backdrop, be sure to have it professionally printed.  And avoid having your branding if it will not always be visible – more on that later.

Spend the time to investigate what video editing software is best for your needs.  There are a number of free or open source options, such as Handbrake (for Windows, Mac or Linux), iMovie (for Apple products) or the free version of HitFilm among others so don’t assume that you need to get something expensive, especially to start.  Make sure that you can add in graphics so that you can show your branding throughout the video.  Software like Canva, or SnagIt ($49.95 one-time cost)  as well as free photo sources such as Unsplash, LibreStock, Gratisography, Pixabay or Pexels will help you create professional looking graphics that will increase the credibility of your finished product. We use Camtasia from TechSmith at inGauge. It allows you to edit, screen record, and comes stocked with lots of additional media resources to add to your content.

Ok, so now you have gathered the equipment to use.  But how do you create a great video?  Like most things, it takes a bit of planning.  First, what is the goal of the video?  Remember that with social media you are looking to gain trust and open conversations, so going for the sale (or at all)  is just going to put them (your audience) off. If you go to the pitch right away, it is now different than playing a video ad – all credibility is lost. The best videos don’t pitch anything. Always think storytelling as opposed to marketing. Speaking of them, what is your intended audience?  The more targeted you get here, the more effective your video is going to be.  Finally determine what resources you will need to bring this all together. This will form the basis of your production document which will act as your road map to pull this all together.

Once you have a goal and a target audience, craft your story to capture their attention (see this short video by Alan Alda discussing telling better stories).  Make it interesting and ensure that the target has something to take away (and even better, give them a reason to share your video).  If you are using this to recruit drivers, find one of your enthusiastic drivers and let them tell their story of interesting situations during their life on the road.

Pay attention to the pacing of the video and of the speaking.  Keep it at a conversational pace.  Look towards the camera – you want the viewer to feel that you are talking to them.  Most importantly just be yourself.  If you are a family run business that is in a rural setting, you don’t want to come across like you are a Wall Street firm in your video as people will see through that and you will lose credibility very quickly.  Tell them how you came about – put in any hardships the business has had to overcome – that makes a good story that people want to hear.  And have some fun.  That sort of infectious energy is what will convince people to not only watch your post put to share it with their social media friends.  The more people who see it, the more mindshare you are going to get.  Just remember that you are not going to hit a home run n the first try.  Expect to have to put up a few videos before you gain enough attention that people will start coming to you and sharing what you have to offer.  And that is how you are going to leverage a small investment into a great ROI.

Next week, we’ll discuss the ideal skill sets, and traits of the next generation marketing professional for your organization. Here’s some hints, they understand content creation, scale, and social media. They are light on degrees, and buzz words (and may have a couple tattoos).

Storytelling Your Way to Better Results

To get the next driver in the seat, most bus companies rely primarily on some firmly entrenched tactics: 1) Advertise in various recruiting publications (print and web), 2) Attend job fairs, and 3) Put up roadside signs. These are time-tested ways to solicit new employees, but they can be costly and time consuming. These are also rather passive ways to get your message out, and passive doesn’t cut it in today’s environment.  Some larger bus companies have the luxury of resources to promote and incent potential recruits using all of the above media outlets. This coupled with sign-on bonuses, streamlined onboarding and structured orientation, you would think the deck is stacked against the small and mid-sized companies. I would argue the opposite is true. Most of these larger companies have been doing much of the same for decades – their tactics and strategies have stayed the same. Enter Social Media. The whole purpose of Social Media is to amplify a message, reach people you would never have reached via traditional media, and most importantly make a connection with the person on the other end. In short – a Network Effect.

Throughout this article, I would encourage you to keep the following in concept in mind. The best marketers and recruiters are effective Storytellers. Although this label may seem a bit fluffy to you, when each of us think of the most effective and charismatic leaders, without fail they are all great storytellers. You know, the ones that can convince us to do something we’ve never done before or consider a new way to think about an old problem. To reinforce the value of storytelling in recruiting and business, here is a great article by Peter Gruber on “The Four Truths of the Storyteller”.

Social media is now used for just about everything in life by many people.  It offers you a way to build both a relationship and trust with many prospects that would be otherwise hard to connect with.  Media agencies like Ideas That Evoke uses the following strategy – “Meet your audience on their platform of choice” – Forbes Nov 21, 2017.  This was originally how they handled B2B marketing, but with the large number of millennials using social media every day, it has now become the best way to meet your next associate.

Most companies have a favorite platform, and essentially ignore most others. This is a common error, and is typically the result of a perceived lack of resources. The Hightower Advertising Agency has listed (not ranked) the most important media sites for the trucking industry and these are also applicable to buses (see article here).  First is LinkedIn.  When it comes to recruiting, LinkedIn is hard to beat as it is made for job seekers and businesses to connect.  You can create a large professional network without having time or geographic restrictions.  Next is Facebook, because it is the most popular social network.  It’s ability to let you target very specific demographics allows you to have your message reach the right people.  Third is Twitter as it allows you to present your message to people outside of your own network of connections.  The sharing or re-tweeting of messages allows you to get a large reach with only 140 characters.  You do need to make sure that you are offering valued content that is relevant to your audience.  Finally, there is YouTube.  This platform allows potential recruits to connect visually with your people, places, equipment and culture. To see how other industries use these social media platforms for recruiting, see this article on L’Oréal here and how Deloite uses it in a tight Dutch labour market here.

You are probably looking at this list and are saying – so what? How are these going to help me put drivers in seats?  The Society for Human Resource Management recently found that 84% of organizations use some form of social media to recruit.  This is because passive job candidates (ones who are not actively seeking to change jobs) use social media as a way to become open to new opportunities (see this TCI Business Capital article for more information).  There is not a lot of bus industry specific research, but these findings make a pretty strong case that they will work.

The new skills bus companies need within their walls are content creation and marketing.  Most companies think nothing of loading up on more admin people and would never think about hiring a graphic designer or social media expert on a full time basis. These companies will eventually this has a strategic flaw. Content creation and marketing is not making a job posting – it’s telling the company story visually and audibly – with consistency and honesty.  With social media traditional “push” messages just are not effective.  The point is to build relationships and give people a reason to interact with you.  Let your people create! Let them tell their story. Let your people create! Give them a reason to come back to you – just throwing up a “we’re hiring” post will only attract the people currently looking for a job – your ideal candidate is not currently looking.  If you engage them and get them to interact with all your social media platforms as well as your website, you start to gain mindshare with them.  They may not be currently looking to leave their current job but if you show them why you are better and provide them with interesting content that they come back for more you will start to have them begin to question why they are not driving for you.  Now you have an engaged candidate who will give you a much higher candidate to new hire ratio!  Recruiterbox.com offers this short article on using social media to hire.

Regardless of which platform(s) you use, here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  1. Just like anything else, discipline is key. Make a structured publishing schedule – and stick to it!
  2. Make sure your people are trained on effective Social Media and Inbound Marketing. Udemy is a favorite with the inGauge team for learning new skills. There are currently 960 online courses on Social Media / Digital Marketing. Take one, take many! Get better!
  3. Find out what platforms your targets prefer and interact with them there. Sounds simple enough?
  4. Offer content that is valuable to your audience. Create items that not only bring people to your content but keep them coming back for more and participating in conversations with you.
  5. Do not just blast out job postings and nothing else. It may be a ‘check’ on a to-do list, but it won’t get you the people you need.
  6. Use the content to draw positive attention to your company. Monitor your media platforms for negative comments and engage those users (ignorance = acceptance).  Find out why they feel that way and offer an alternative point of view without trashing their point of view.  Ensure that responses are done in a timely fashion and aren’t just automated and canned responses.
  7. It’s all about mindshare – give drivers a reason to seek you out instead of the other way around. At the end of the day you will cut down on the tire kickers and retreads and get more applications from the kind of driver you want and who also wants to drive for you.
  8. Get scientific about lead capture and tracking. Ensure you have a mechanism to capture leads throughout your social media channels – targeted ads, and urls with ‘calls to action’. Further, once you capture those leads, you then need to nurture them over time (newsletters, micro quizzes, and follow requests are all great ways to keep you on their mind).
  9. Finally, like any other business strategy, you need to test and iterate. If something isn’t working, change it or stop doing it. Although this may sound like a ‘catchall’, it is the most important point listed here.