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.
Elena and Abby bring you innovative stories from the workplace.