As YouTube and Facebook remind us daily, cell phone and other spur-of-the-moment video has become a powerful one-to-many peer communication tool worldwide, particularly among Gen-Y populations. If you harbor any interest in recruiting members of this segment for your agency, can you convincingly deny that online video deserves an important place in your web toolset?
We’re all familiar with the swarm of nagging little reasons why an agency might shy away from web video, including rights questions, the perceived difficulty of making video clips 508-compliant, and just general institutional conservatism. But these perceived speed-bumps might just crumble as you consider—and argue for—digital video’s proven and widespread appeal to an essential recruiting demographic for your agency.
For the moment, let’s take employee-contributed clips off the table. I’ll grant you that government may not quite be ready for that, although several private sector companies—like Accenture and Deloitte—have carried this off quite successfully. Even so, this leaves lots of room for video shot simply and directly by the agency itself—stationary camera, no elaborate lighting, no A-B roll editing.
New tools mean new horizons for recruiting engagement.
Digital camcorders and desktop editing software have changed the video game entirely for the federal recruiter. Short video segments are simple and inexpensive to shoot and edit. They’re also remarkably easy to post online (even with 508-mandated subtitles). A good place to start? Short videos of individual employees describing their jobs and what it means to work at your agency. This is pure peer-to-peer engagement, personal and authentic and it’s ideally framed to appeal to the candidates you most want to reach.
A few public sector organizations are already taking the lead in producing these employee vignettes or “realistic job profiles,” as some have called them. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is one. I’m linking to their employee profiles here. You might also check out the short videos at Washington’s Metropolitan Police jobs site. Another example—this one repurposed for the web from a more elaborate video training piece—is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The TSA piece illustrates yet another advantage of digital video. Baseline footage can be easily be edited and recombined for all sorts of online uses, from custo m email and mobile engagement to social media placement.
As you can see, nobody is aspiring for spectacular cinematic effects in these productions. In fact, a glitzy approach would likely be counterproductive. Online video for recruiting has more to gain from simplicity and here-and-now authenticity. It speaks in a real-world accent that many of your most promising candidates find much more convincing than the written word.