How to use video storytelling to attract top talent and build your employer brand

Video content is having an upsurge in popularity, particularly when used for talent attraction. We know that Millennials and Gen Z value video content, with 71% of Gen Zs spending 3+ hours watching mobile video content every day. However, video isn’t just about showing how social your company is or getting younger candidates excited about your employer brand - it should be part of a broader strategy to bridge your content gap through storytelling. 

Storytelling is a powerful technique when done right, and video is an effective way to do it. Contrary to common belief, great video content isn’t about spending months of time and a big chunk of your budget to create a handful of slick, well-produced videos - it’s about covering a wide range of topics in a format that is most likely to resonate with your candidates. 

Here, we take you through the best practices and key things to bear in mind when creating video content for your recruitment channels to ensure you get the most from your efforts.

Go beyond the employee testimonial

Great employee stories offer a real insight into the ins and outs of life at the organisation, and your video stories should do the same. Building an authentic employer brand means not just relying on stock-standard head and shoulders “testimonial” style videos that cover off broad points (e.g. “we love coming to work for the people” or “we have great benefits like flexi-time and working from home on Wednesdays”). Authentic employee stories tell the candidate what it’s really like to work for you, dig into the challenges and successes, and showcase your culture in a meaningful way - it’s “show, don’t tell” in practice.

For example, in the financial services sector, candidates’ top priorities are:

  1. Being competitively or intellectually challenged
  2. Having work/life balance
  3. An international career 

To make the most of video content, a financial services or banking organisation should make sure they cover off topics like what kinds of projects candidates could expect to work on, the most rewarding project someone has worked on, and what kinds of opportunities to travel exist in the department.

Here’s an example from Citi covering international travel:

 

 

Additionally, your video stories should cover topics from application advice to what it’s like to participate in your company’s networking groups. Candidates will have different concerns across their journey, and it’s important to make sure you provide information about all of them. Here is an example from Michael at law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, answering a candidate’s question about what his relationship with his colleagues is like.

 

Include concrete details and talk about meaningful challenges

When researching what it’s like to work at your organisation, candidates want to get the full picture. It’s just as important to be honest about the challenges they’ll face in their role as it is about the perks and benefits they’ll receive. And be sure to include concrete details and specifics. For example, instead of “we have a great, collaborative culture here”, talk about a time when your colleagues all pitched in at the 11th hour to help you deliver a difficult project to spec and on time. 

Showing these types of challenges is more likely to persuade candidates, and sharing them as employee stories is the most credible way to do it. It also helps candidates who aren’t a good fit to deselect out of the process, freeing up HR time to engage with the most appropriate candidates. 

Here’s an example from Dolly, an associate at law firm Clifford Chance in London.

Sharing details and showing the challenges in an authentic way adds credibility to your employer brand, and using video allows you to show the “real deal” rather than just the glossy sales pitch. This helps companies minimise churn as candidates come into their roles with a better sense of what the job is really about. For example, it can help manage the (mis)expectations that people often have when taking on a new sales role.

Here, Alexandra, a field sales rep from Coca Cola, talks about what it’s really like to work for the multinational corporation - her video stands out as it feels like you’re at work with her.

 

 

Video content shouldn’t feel ‘corporate’ or professionally shot

Particularly in more corporate organisations, the temptation to splash out a bit of budget to hire a professional videographer and develop a set of 3-4 very polished videos is high. The most persuasive videos are the ones that come from employees themselves, and it’s easy to shoot great-looking footage without spending a lot of budget on professional videographers.

Our top video-recording tips for the most impactful employee story videos:

  1. Keep it short, but not too short - the best videos are a concise 30-60 seconds long.
  2. You can use a mobile, a laptop, or a hand-held video camera to shoot the video on, but make sure it’s still - get a tripod that fits the device you’ll be filming on, or prop your laptop up on some books to bring it to a more flattering height.
  3. Minimise background noise and make sure you have enough light (natural light from big windows is best). See if your office has a meeting room away from street noise or busy hallways.

 

Address candidates’ real questions in your video stories

The best way to ensure that your video content is relevant and persuasive is to use real questions from your candidates as your starting point. It’s easy to think of the things we’d like to highlight as a business - benefits, perks, the great offices, a culture of collaboration - but it’s harder to pinpoint what specific things a candidate wants to hear about.

Whether you’re using a platform like PathMotion, where candidates can send questions directly to employees or teams, or you have an info@ email address where candidates send their questions to HR - it’s easy to round up 5-10 real queries from your candidates to get started. This approach will also help to reduce the number of times the same question comes in through your communication channels, cutting down the amount of time HR has to spend answering it!

 

Publish your video stories across your recruitment channels

Many companies post a couple of videos on their main Careers page and call it a day. But what about your job descriptions? Your social media channels? Events pages? All of these are opportunities to engage with your candidates using content they’re interested in.

Don’t restrict your video content to your social platforms - social is a natural fit for video, but it’s not the only place candidates go to look for information about what it’s like to work for you. The number one place that candidates look at when researching life at your company is your website.

The purpose of using video for storytelling is to help candidates make a more informed decision about whether to apply for a role at your organisation, so it makes sense to publish video content in the places they’re most likely to be looking for that information.

 

Video isn’t a panacea - use storytelling in other formats, too

While video is an important part of your content strategy for talent attraction, it’s not a cure-all and it won’t be right for every story. Video is best for sharing employee stories that can be shared in under a minute and which benefit from a very personal touch. It won’t be the right format for every type of story that you might want to share with your candidates, and not all employee ambassadors will produce the kind of video story that works best (even if they’re great at written storytelling!).

For example, video is the perfect way to introduce your employee ambassadors. A short video where they tell us their name, their role at the firm, and what that actually means in lay terms should come in at under 30 seconds. It breathes life into what could otherwise feel like a stale profile page, and brings some personality to their words.

 

However, for more complicated or involved answers to candidate questions, a 30-60 second video might not give the space and time needed to convey all of the important details. For example, the answer to “Can you explain a general day as a TTS Analyst at Citi and what key skills and knowledge you use on a daily basis?” has multiple parts and requires a much more nuanced response than anyone could give in a short video.

Fully answering the question above requires a lot of thought and detail, something that’s true for a number of topics that are important to candidates like diversity issues and work/life balance. When surveyed, many candidates told us that they prefer video content for a first glimpse at a topic, but want further, more specific details after viewing. For these details, it’s best to use a text-based answer like a discussion thread or live exchange.

 

When it comes to building an authentic, credible employer brand, storytelling is key. And video is one of the most powerful tools in your strategy for telling persuasive, impactful stories. Used right, it will breathe life into your employer brand and really showcase for your candidates what working with you is all about. You can find out more about how to use storytelling more broadly in our debrief.

Want to learn more about how to use video storytelling with PathMotion?

Find out more about how our platform can help you build an authentic employer brand and create a great candidate experience using our new Insider Video Replies and Insider Video Profiles features.

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