On the third take, the director yells, “It’s a wrap!” and your potential blockbuster is in the bag. It doesn’t matter that the director is your flatmate and the movie is only 60 seconds long – you’ve just shown your enthusiasm for applying for a job in a new and personal way.

Australian accommodation operator Mantra Group has just started offering video job applications as an optional element for jobseekers applying for guest-facing roles in a new hotel. Applicants are being encouraged to create a 60-second video cover letter introducing themselves to the recruitment team and answering a couple of questions.

Executive director of human resources, Cherie McGill, says the option was introduced to give the recruitment team a greater personal understanding of applicants. “We’re trying to get to know the applicant on a deeper level so we can more easily identify candidates who embody our company values.”

Since launching the tool, Mantra has received many video cover letters, and applicants taking advantage of the option are finding it “more user-friendly and efficient than preparing a traditional written cover letter”.

The groups embracing the option are from the millennial generation, particularly those in the 20-30 age bracket, which reflects Mantra’s average team member age of 24. “Millennials are able to communicate very effectively in this format,” she says.

However, applicants don’t need to worry about having Hollywood-grade skills or including CGI effects. “We’re not looking for production quality,” says McGill. “The video option allows our recruitment team to see how applicants communicate and present themselves, which is important for guest-facing roles.”

In New Zealand, recruitment company Korn Ferry Futurestep has been using video interviewing since 2014. Janna Grant, Talent Delivery Centre director, says they primarily use it as a tool to learn more about a candidate after the CV screening stage. “We find it particularly effective for customer-facing roles and early career roles, such as graduate or internship campaigns, to assess core competencies, motivations and drivers.”

Grant says a video allows candidates to sell their attributes to the viewer in a more personal way. “In addition to job-relevant information, we often get candidates showing us their interests and taking us on a tour. We’ve had a candidate bust a rhyme and we’ve even been introduced to a pet cow!”

Grant acknowledges some candidates have trouble stepping out of their comfort zone to make a video, because it’s a big step away from the known recruitment process.

“Not everyone is comfortable in an application process,” she says. “It is the fear of the unknown, but we accommodate this and we do offer alternatives, particularly from a diversity perspective, and we continually seek feedback from candidates so that we can keep improving the experience for them.”

Some of the things candidates enjoy about making a video are the opportunity to be creative, and the flexibility that video interviewing allows – “no more awkward phone interviews in stairwells!”

But most of all, says Grant, they enjoy the chance to prepare and deliver well-thought-out answers.

Grant says one advantage to the recruiter is that the extra effort required by the candidate to make a video naturally tends to reduce application numbers from those who aren’t seriously interested.

“And as candidates get the questions up front, our teams are receiving more relevant information around a candidate’s skills and experience – and that results in our clients getting candidates that are best aligned to the role.” She says video has made the recruitment process more efficient.

Korn Ferry Futurestep has also recently adopted video, for its Australian and New Zealand-based clients, as a means to advertise jobs. Grant says that because video media accounts for 50 per cent of mobile use, this has been a great way to get market cut-through and to engage with jobseekers. “It personalises the experience and gives them an insight into the organisation and the role.”

Challenges to overcome in using video as a job application medium, says Grant, are fear of the unknown by applicants, connectivity in regional areas, “and as recruiters, asking the right questions to find out what we need to know – we’re constantly refining this process”.

She says the process has required educating clients and collaborating on the information they want. “It has been helpful to have some of our hiring managers complete the video process so they understand the look and feel for a candidate.”

Grant says video is proving to be a useful tool for the right type of role, but “it’s important to take the candidate into consideration when making decisions on which roles to use it for”.

Mantra’s tips for a stand-out video application:

  • Keep it short and simple
  • Engage your audience
  • Choose your message
  • Don’t over-think it
  • Find your hook and close it

By Raewyn Court

SOURCE: NZ Herald

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