July 18, 2017
The secret weapon to win the war for talent
By James G. Brooks Jr.

With hiring on the upswing this year, the war for talent is heating up. According to the recent CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey, one-third of the 2,030 business owners surveyed said jobs and the economy was their No. 1 priority. That means entrepreneurial companies on tight budgets need to raise their game to lure top talent.

Short video is one of the most powerful weapons for luring great recruits. Many companies — from Google to KPMG — have found that YouTube is a great place to showcase their culture to potential hires. Fifty-nine percent of job seekers use social media to research organizations' company culture, according to recent research by Jobvite, a software and recruiting corporation.

One recent example of an outstanding video used for recruiting is Delta's eight-hour Facebook Live video, where it thanks all of its 50,000 employees. Delta recruited more than 400 actors, athletes, comedians and business leaders to participate. It's an idea that could easily be replicated on a much smaller scale — and budget — by an entrepreneurial company.

But some companies' video recruiting efforts fall flat. The key to success is using video in an authentic way. Video is an informal medium, so using it to make your company look bigger or more corporate can backfire.

Here is an analysis of some videos by employers that offer inspiration on how small and midsize companies can showcase their own unique culture. Two are recent; the final one is a classic that still has powerful lessons for employers.

This funny sendoff on badly dubbed martial arts movies definitely gives CloudLock, an early stage company in Waltham, Massachusetts, an edge in luring talent. Positioning its recruiter as a fighter to be reckoned with, the video invites coders to ask themselves if they have the chops to contend to the challenge of joining their team.

Critique: One great element of this retro video — probably created with actual 1970s film footage — is its complete story line, full of twists and turns in the plot. There's no pat corporate ending here. The coder ends up running off — and you don't see the end of the story. That underlines the brand's quirky appeal.

The freelance marketplace Fiverr's video does a great job of poking fun at recruiting clichés, such as the image of an employee deep in thought, gazing at the horizon, while workers earnestly scrawl a cool idea on a glass wall. You've got to love the guy skateboarding down the hallway. The blatantly sarcastic tone shows us Fiverr has not only retired and replaced the stale recruiting videos of the past but has also done away with conventional notions of what a company culture should be like. It's a fun and catchy piece.

Critique: From the video, it looks like Fiverr operates from a co-working space, like WeWork, but that's not made clear. A work environment like that would be a big draw for employees who like a creative and informal environment, so I'd suggest making that a little more apparent through the visual imagery.

This oldie but goodie does a great job highlighting company culture at Connected Ventures, the parent company for CollegeHumor Media, a comedy website based in Los Angeles. It's very clear that everyone in the video is having fun. That's something you can't fake. To date, the video has received more than 405,790 page views on YouTube.

Critique: I can't think of many other companies or culture videos where I really believed everyone was having a good time, as I did in this low-budget production. It's clear the team members who appeared didn't rehearse this too many times. When the music stops, people are laughing. Ten years after this video went viral, I want to work there. Don't you?

James G. Brooks Jr. is the founder and CEO of the social video distribution platform GlassView. Follow him on Twitter at @JGBrooksJR

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