When Abby and I founded Skill Scout, we were on a mission to create a more level playing field in hiring. Expose young and inexperienced job seekers to what work was like, and show them what was possible for their lives. You cannot be what you cannot see. So, we made work tangible. We put videos in front of people instead of over-complicated job descriptions that would intimidate anyone looking for a job. But, there was something bigger we could do.
My recent epiphany was that the biggest impact Skill Scout could make is not on our clients, but on our own talent - to give someone a job and pay them to do work they love while fostering their independence and growth. Now, that? That’s being the change I want to see in the world.
Now, we’re growing our company and we knew it was important to hire with intent. To open doors. Basically, our mantra is (and always has been) "Eating Our Own Dog Food." We can't preach that hiring with video and work samples works if we're not actively living this out ourselves. In fact, in the process of hiring, building and honing our workforce, has become my FAVORITE part of what we do.
Our combination of a job video, engaging application, and (paid) video work sample has completely shifted the balance for hiring a diverse team. Look at our numbers:
The first step of the process is our engaging visual application screener:
Our goal at this point is just to get a sense of their overall enthusiasm and understanding of the role. Here are two examples of our questions and great answers from candidates:
What stands out in the video?
“The thing that stuck out to me the most and makes me most excited about working with Skill Scout is the community aspect. I work in the communications field right now and am obsessed with always improving my communication with others, because that is what builds community and a strong team! I'm impressed that you are able to build what looks like such a strong community, even though you all work remotely. As a video journalist and storyteller, I also definitely have a keen ear for those ‘nuggets’ that really sell the job, and a creative eye to catch the little details that one might not normally notice in a scene, something that it seems like you are looking for based on this video. I'm definitely a flexible hustler and I'd be excited to work with you all!”
Review the above video. What are the top 3 things stand out to you (i.e. aesthetic, pacing, storyline, types of shots etc.)?
“The first thing that I noticed is definitely the framing. I think all of the shots seemed a bit narrow, and didn't have enough space in the frame to showcase the content of the video. The sound bites were great; I think they show the audience exactly what they intended. A few shots seemed too brief for me to realize what was in the shot.”
Based on their responses, we move forward with our work sample. We gave people five business days to produce and edit a short video that we eventually shared with clients. These "Meet Your Editor" videos have become an excellent way to delight and introduce our clients to who is behind their edit. What's more, we highlight our amazing team member in the process. Acknowledgment seems to be a thing for young people - it’s a win-win. You can watch all of these videos here.
Through these videos, I see personality and creativity while getting to understand their approach to the work. I should remind you that given their age and/or lack of "professional experience", it's not like they had "impressive" resumes. Giving them something to react to (job videos) and letting them try their hand at the job has been the BEST way for us to assess fit.
As an owner, it’s an absolute honor to help launch their careers. For many of them, we are the first ones to give them a shot - a shot that all business owners and hiring leaders should be giving. This is only because we have found a better way of assessing and attracting them.
It may be a challenge, but it’s a challenge that I pose to every business owner and hiring leader. It is so highly rewarding and worth it in the end - not just for us, but also for the careers we are helping launch. The process of hiring is an exciting opportunity for helping other people that we should take advantage of.
Think back to the last time you applied for a job. If you’re anything like me, after a while, all of the job ads start to look the same to the point where I forget what companies I’m even applying to. The same buzzwords and internal vocabulary are recycled, blurring each job description into the next.
Rather than having an understanding of the role I’m applying for, I’m left just looking at a list of criteria in the hopes that I’m qualified. Jobs are more than just a list, though: no two roles are exactly the same. Being a shoe designer at Nike is different than being a shoe designer at Adidas, but job ads water down roles into the same old job descriptions you see each time you click on another post.
Is that really all we want job ads to offer applicants? Of course not.
What we want is action, inspiration, and most importantly, application. Yet, most people visiting your website won’t have that experience with just a job description. The bottom line is that it’s causing problems for small businesses. In fact, 48% of small businesses report that there are few or no qualified applicants for the positions they are trying to fill (NFIB, November 2015).
So, what do you do? You need a job preview that is both realistic and makes applicants feel something. It needs to bring the position and your company to life. How are you supposed to feel the warm and fuzzies reading some list of criteria and boilerplate overviews? That’s a rhetorical question.
We both know the answer: job videos.
Don’t believe us? Fine. Did you know job posts get 36% more applications if accompanied by a recruiting video?
Still not buying it? Ok, hear it right from a candidate:
But how do we translate that boring job description into a job video that inspires action? It’s simple, really:
Job videos bring a job to life in a way that job descriptions can’t, allowing candidates to really get a feel for the job they’re applying to. With candidates being much more likely to apply to a job post which features a job video, translating your job ad into a job video is definitely the way to go.
The smell of old paper and medical grade sterilizer. Friendly faces and stacks of MRI scans. Confidence that I was a valuable addition to the team. That’s what I remember most about my very first internship. I probably wouldn't have made the best intern job video turning physical MRI scans into digital patient records.
The experience was formative! I cleared out an entire storage room of old documentation, learned a lot about HIPPA, MRI technology, and got super fast at data entry. But I would wager that the team at Metro MRI could have gotten even more out of my time there.
My perspective of the organization was fresh, unique and enthusiastic.
There’s always a little buzz on the first day interns arrive. Every department waiting eagerly for their new colleague to arrive. To teach. To help them grow.
But how do you capture stories to find another batch of amazing interns next year? To document and share your company culture from a fresh new perspective?
If you're looking for a creative way to engage your interns while creating a job video for promoting future roles, have I got an idea for you…
Invite them to be your summer videographers.
This spring, several of my clients introduced me to the fabulous new talent who will be capturing their workplaces and summer experience on video. It’s not my idea, but it’s brilliant: enlist the next generation of digitally savvy, snapchatters to help create video assets for attracting, hiring and training new employees.
Welcome your interns, make them feel like part of the team and give them an important job they’re very well-suited for. Here are 3 ways to do it, and all they need is their phone:
1| Social Media Takeover
This one is free, and a natural way for interns to dip their toes in creating employer brand content. Enlist your interns to take over your instagram, facebook or snapchat channels to share a behind-the-scenes glimpse of their day. You may already be doing this! Share the video recipe below with them for ideas on what to capture, but encourage them to add their own flair and share other interesting things that aren’t on the list.
2| Event Videographer
Company events are exciting and new to your interns. Ask interns to capture footage of community or company events you hold over the summer. You can use the Company Event video recipe below! At the end of the event, you can share raw footage on your social channels, internally with the team, or create an edited video piece. Do this in iMovie, or give us a call for help!
3| Create an Intern Job Video
One of the hard parts of recruiting interns is that by the time you are looking for interns, your interns from last year have moved into new roles or gone back to school. Use the summer as a way to document this role at your company by having interns capture their own authentic job preview. You guessed it, recipe below!
As our clients are preparing their interns to be video documentarians this summer, they are also sharing video best practices to help make the videos a success. These will vary based on your own company, brand and culture. But here are a few considerations:
Interns infuse your company with an outside perspective, build real skills and using video to capture this - can help build your employer brand. Their videos can leave a lasting mark at your company, even after they have moved into their next big adventure.
What are ways you are engaging your interns this summer?
Guest Blogger | Romy Newman, President/Co-Founder Fairygodboss
Female jobseekers want to understand much more about the culture and workplace they’ll be joining.
Employers need to think about sharing compelling stories to catch their interest. Just like packaged goods are often marketed differently to men vs. women, employer brand messaging should be segmented and tailored to the targeted audience.
Obviously, every medium should be used, but job videos are particularly powerful as it literally shows a female applicant what it might be like to work at the company. Women are particularly motivated by authentic stories that show how women are having good career experiences that also still allow them to manage their responsibilities outside of work. Seeing women who are enjoying success allows women to envision themselves working at the company.
Here are 4 tips you should consider when creating job video content that will resonate with female professionals:
1| Show a 'Day In The Life'
For recruitment specifically, represent the “day in the life.” Female jobseekers really want to understand what their day-to-day experience will be like, and no medium helps represent that better than a job video.
This WorkDay video addresses the issue of work-life balance head on. LOVE the part of this video where a woman says, “I was carrying heavy box and someone opened the door for me.” It’s as if someone said to her, “But is there basic courtesy at this workplace.”
2| Showcase Your Managers
It’s all about the managers. Use your job videos to bring your managers to life -- and show jobseekers that they can expect to have managers that treat them decently and respectfully, and give them opportunity.
This video from Dell shows the amazing ambition and commitment to sustainability at Dell. It also emphasizes career tracking and opportunity.
4| Represent The Full Breadth of Your Workplace
Visuals give important signals -- so be sure to represent the full breadth of your workplace in terms of background, age, race, sexual orientation and more. Too many corporate web pages are walls of white men -- and it’s a huge turn off to women.
Use your website to address your commitment to gender diversity head on. Female jobseekers want to know where you stand on this, and our research shows us that women are significantly more likely to want to apply to jobs at companies that support gender diversity.
At the end of the day, the top thing that is going to help us achieve greater workplace gender equality is more women in more leadership roles across US Corporations. We are lucky to be in an era where video can be an essential component of helping represent the very best of what workplaces can be. Women tend to be more reluctant jobseekers than men, and it’s clear that visualization can really help encourage them to apply for jobs that they might not have otherwise. I’m excited to see how job videos can be an important tool in the battle for workplace gender equality.
The thought of being on camera used to make my palms sweat. Let’s be honest, it made my eyebrows sweat. But over 4 years that Elena and I have lead a team of videographers, I've had to appear on camera a lot. So much so, that I can identify some tips that have helped me be more comfortable and authentic on camera. Oh, and bit less awkward (still #awkwardforlife). I'll share these things today, and maybe they'll help you and your team be more at ease when the camera comes on.
Whether it's a webinar, training or company branding video, you may have been asked to share something on camera with a professional audience. If you're like me (any many of our peers!), the idea of appearing on video can be anxiety-invoking. The horror!
But video is a powerful way to communicate with your colleagues and customers. Rather than avoiding on-camera appearances, embrace them as an opportunity! In the past 4 years, my team and I have filmed over 1,000 people in a professional setting. In this post, I will share what I have learned about using storytelling to help them communicate and be confident and authentic on video.
First, let’s talk about why video can be so hard. Here are some things that cause video anxiety:
Do any of these sound familiar? They certainly do for me. And you may have a few of your own that aren’t on the list. The good news is that there are ways to get around each of these hangups. Here are 4 tips that have helped me be more comfortable and authentic on camera.
First thing’s first. If the biggest anxiety you have about appearing on camera is your appearance, there are a few things you can do to feel confident and look your best.
1| Lighting. Natural light is best. Good lighting brightens your face, helps bring out your natural color, your eyes and your smile. Check out this video on how to get beautiful lighting for your video. This applies to webcam video too; face a window!
2 | Angles. Shoot from straight on at eye level, or very slightly above. Don’t get crazy mounting the camera from the ceiling. A slight angle will erase that double chin for you. Whatever you do, don't opt for an angle below your face.
3| Clothing. Pick something you’re totally comfortable in, and opt for jewel tones. They brings out your natural coloring. Our friends at Wistia do an awesome job of covering this topic.
4| Backdrop. One of the things that blows my mind is trying to look professional on video without looking stiff. In the office, that can be easy, but at home? Stage a simple background. Rather than doing a webcam video with your messy bed, closet or bookshelf in view, opt for a simple backdrop.
Brick is beautiful, provides just a little color and texture. White is also clean.
You want the audience focused on you, not distracted by what’s behind you. Of course, if you’re featuring a location or work environment, make sure to get plenty of shots of the environment. If you’re going to feature it, show it off without the audience having to look past you. That might involve a little editing with b-roll or simply panning around slowly after you’ve said what you need to say.
Repetition is the single biggest thing that helps me be comfortable on camera. Not necessarily practicing the content verbatim, but being confident with the flow of information I’m sharing. Rather than scripting your notes, create an outline. This forces you to speak more naturally rather than reading or reciting from memorization.
Another thing I find helpful is using a video tool, like Loom, to go through my pitch, presentation or training by filming it, and then watching back the video. Once you get over doing this, and practice 2-3 times, appearing on camera will feel much less precious and more achievable. Bonus points if you send to a friend or colleague for real feedback. Tools like Loom or Vimeo Review Pages make it very easy for them to leave time-stamped feedback.
Who doesn’t love a little help from a friend? I had this insight when watching videos with my 5-year-old on YouTube. Kids do not care about how weird they are on camera. It’s beautiful. Just spend 15 minutes on YouTube Kids. You’ll see a 7 year old playing with PlayDoh for 45 minutes. He’s got 7M views. You’ll see adorable twins making unicorn cupcakes. 2.4M views.
In fact, check out this video.
Here we are a couple minutes in and one of the sisters is just hanging with her unicorn while the other cooks. Get yourself a friend who can help carry the video while you hug your unicorn.
It’s so much easier to be comfortable on camera when there’s another person there to distract you from the camera. And even if they can’t appear on camera with you doesn’t mean you have to be solo.
Try filming your content interview-style. Having another person there helps to break out of robotic speaking patterns because you’re actually interacting with another human.
Which brings me to my next tip…
Talk to Your Audience
When I stopped thinking about the “audience” as some anonymous body of people judging me from auditorium seats, my on-camera presence got much better. Instead of thinking of the audience as “they” - whether that’s co-workers, industry peers, company leaders, or customers - think of them as Colette, Nathaniel, Skyler. REAL people.
Because that’s how each individual experiences your video, as themselves, not part of a massive audience.
You can bet those kids on YouTube aren’t thinking of all the kids watching. They’re thinking of one kid, a friend, with whom they’re sharing an experience.
This re-frame may sound minor but it makes a big difference. And one way to achieve it? See Tip #3 and enlist a friend to actually attend filming with you.
BONUS TIP: Use Humor
One last thing I’ve learned about being comfortable on camera is not taking yourself too seriously. Be humorous, share outtakes. People relate to that, even if you stumble or mess up. It’s a reminder that we are all human.
One final thought, one of my mentors, Josh Braun told me something last year that stuck with me and gave me confidence. Remember, you are the gift. You have something special to offer people, knowledge, insight, experience. Video is just a medium to do so.
Did I miss anything? What helps you be comfortable and authentic on camera? Hit me up in the comments!
Elena and Abby bring you innovative stories from the workplace.