How to Make an Effective Recruitment Video (Part 1) – Four Early Planning Steps

Video is quickly becoming the main medium for content consumption. On Facebook alone the average user views 16 videos each day, having doubled since April 2015. Outside of social media, you just have to look at how many advertisements for products and services you now see on YouTube pre-rolls (the annoying video that plays before the video you wish to watch), and static billboards at bus-stops and train stations that are fast all becoming animated.
Recruitment is no different, whilst video has been a ‘nice to have’ up until recently, it is becoming increasingly mainstream, with many companies going beyond a simple corporate introduction and instead producing job or department specific content.
In addition, every company is also trying to avoid the standard corporate employment videos of old, which has led to lots of interesting takes on recruitment videos as a whole. Just look at this recent one from Medella (hat tip to Paul Jacobs for finding this):

It’s clear that video is not only going to become more crucial to talent attraction and brand communication, but it’s also going to become a lot harder to make your video stand out. Having planned, filmed and produced a large number of recruitment specific videos for recruitment agencies and in-house talent teams ourselves, we know a thing or two about this process. So we thought we would share our video expertise over a series of four written blogs (we know writing them is ironic!), starting off with discussing how to plan your video project.

Planning – Video’s Hidden Cost

There are lots of highly visible articles that highlight how much simpler and more cost effective it now is to make a good employment video. However, though this is partly true due to the accessibility of better technology, there is still a huge amount of planning work that goes unseen and often doesn’t get talked about.
A perfect example of this is a video shot by the local Health Board in Gisborne. Though the video obviously had a small budget because it has been shot using a smartphone, even this video will have been complicated to organise. Everything needs to be scheduled, locations need to be scouted, secured and prepared, and everyone who is participating needs to be co-ordinated with. Furthermore, each person’s specific part of the video wouldn’t have been made up on the spot on the day of the shoot. Even in a small production, time must go into planning out the video itself, by storyboarding or scriptwriting for instance. At the other end of the spectrum these two videos from Twitter and Zendesk have both been shot to a very professional standard, and although they intentionally portray a simplistic style, they would have taken weeks, if not months, to organise.

Planning Considerations

1. Objectives & Video Type
Deciding on the objectives of the video and figuring out the type of video you need are arguably the most crucial parts of the planning stage. If this isn’t done right in planning, the project is destined to fail.
A simple Google search for recruitment videos will bring up videos from a broad range of sources. The most commonly referenced videos are often by large technology companies such as Apple or Dropbox, but if you dig a little deeper there are many examples of good recruitment videos from companies of all sizes and industries.
Although your first instinct may be to try and create something new or edgy, the reality is that unless you are competing for talent directly with Dropbox or Apple, a well filmed and produced video that is honest and to the point will be more than sufficient to achieve your objectives. That’s not to say that if you have the budget and resources you shouldn’t go all out (and if you do, give us a call because we’ve got some great ideas!), but a big outlay of time and money doesn’t directly correlate to a better video.
[bctt tweet=”Video is becoming more crucial to #talentattraction & brand communication says @findsouth”]
It’s also advisable to see if there is anything else that can be achieved whilst going through this process, and to consider how the video will be used once completed. For example, producing two videos or an additional bloopers reel adds very little cost to the exercise of producing one video, but will provide you with more options when it comes to presenting and marketing your content.
Typically, however, recruitment videos feature a range of employees and executives talking candidly to an interviewer about their experience at the company. Generally, footage of the subjects is interspersed with shots of the office and the surrounding area, which keeps the video moving fast and makes it more interesting to watch. Here are some less publicised videos that showcase how a variety of different companies have chosen to promote their recruitment brand (note none of these are produced by Prominence!).

2. Existing Resources & Stakeholders
Exploring the resources and stakeholders that you already have available within your business is advantageous, as it can expose potential cost savings and identify who will need to be consulted as part of the project.
The most obvious resources are in-house video departments or existing agreements with a video production company, but you may also have a previously unknown part-time cameraman or someone with an unknown amateur acting career. Whatever the resource be sure to explore what level of experience they have and how much they know about producing for the recruitment sector. There is not much worse than planning a full day shoot only to find out that your cameraperson has forgotten to bring key equipment, or worse, has recorded the whole day with poor audio.
3. Timeframes & Budget
In recruitment everything needs to be completed yesterday, but luckily, again mainly due to better technology, fast turnarounds can still happen. There are even advantages to having tight deadlines! If you’re on a tight schedule, there is no choice but to streamline arduous stakeholder feedback cycles and to work slightly outside restrictive brand guidelines. Projects are generally far more fluid, allowing for unexpected positive outcomes. Obviously rushing can impact the end result, and runs the risk of missing key content or having to settle for second best, but having too long a window can also have a negative impact. Having too much time allows for every single piece of feedback to be implemented and assessed, which can lead to unnecessary changes being made and can end up taking the video away from its intended focus.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t be fooled into thinking videos need to cost tens of thousands of dollars says @findsouth “]
The average timeframe for completion of a single 90-120 second video can be as little as a week, but once you factor in planning, along with gaining feedback and approval from all the stakeholders, it is very rare for a good quality video to be completed and approved by all stakeholders inside of a month.
The time taken on a video doesn’t have any direct correlation with budget, but once again technology advances have helped to bring the cost of video production down. The three largest financial costs of producing a video remain the camera crew, Director (someone with experience working on recruitment videos is worth their weight in gold here) and Editor, but there are obviously other non-financial costs, such as time away from work for the subjects, the person asking questions and anyone else involved in the feedback process. Actors (we’ll discuss the pro and cons of actors in the next blog), audio tracks and travel/gear rental can also add to your overall budget.
A video largely managed internally with an outsourced camera crew and editor will start at $4,000, and from there it can be anything up to $25,000. The graphic below breaks down the key stages of video production with associated timeframes and costs of each step.
4. Vendor Selection
Due to the high demand for video, film companies are all in high demand at present, so getting your date booked in as early as possible is essential. It is still however important to select the right vender for your needs. Options range from small informal teams that work through companies such as 90 Seconds, to dedicated production companies and finally large studios. Reviewing each company’s portfolio is the best way to assess their suitability, but always look for case studies that are similar to what you are trying to achieve. Recruitment videos have a lot of unique nuances. If both the camera crew, and crucially the Director, are familiar with these it will make the whole process easier and definitely improve the end product.


Good planning will pay-off significantly, reducing wasted time, undue stress and cost, along with giving you an end product(s) that will be the best fit for achieving your goals.
Spend time reviewing the multitude of existing recruitment videos that already exist, including those that are less commonly referenced, and also don’t be fooled into thinking videos need to cost tens of thousands of dollars. They can, but this doesn’t mean they have to.
In our next blog we’ll explore the late planning stages, including choosing your participant or actors, how to get employees on-board, the pros and cons of scripts, storyboarding your ideas, location scouting and managing the actual shoot itself. The third blog will address the post-production stage, from the conversations you should be having with your editor to being fully in charge when it comes to what ends up in the final cut. Finally, from Facebook to your website, we’ll look at the multitude of possibilities when it comes to marketing your video.
In the meantime, if you’re stuck with your next video project please free to get in touch, we’re more than happy to share our expertise.

This article first appeared on Prominence Blog on January 13, 2016.


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