Steve: Video postings—they seem to be one part of a broader concept that you call “experiential hiring”; could you elaborate on that concept a little?
Elena: Yeah, so this comes a little bit from why we were inspired to start Skill Scout in the first place. The idea for us was seeing that we wanted to transform how companies experience candidates and candidates could experience companies.
When we started, we saw that there was this powerful medium of video and storytelling that could be used to enable this kind of experiential connection between two entities that typically have a lot of questions and doubts about each other.
This is what we see as being a new movement around how we help companies become more experiential in how they attract and how they’re able to provide a more immersive way to showcase what they do to candidates.
Steve: So, talking about immersive ways, I’m wondering about going a step further than video postings into virtual reality. Do you see a use for that?
Elena: Oh, that’s the future. Immersive storytelling is absolutely the future. Right now, it’s video, but when we think about virtual reality, and augmented reality, inevitably, it will be that we are providing such a visceral and tangible experience for these candidates that outside of them taking a tour of your office, we are getting them just about there, regardless of whether they are thousands of miles away currently.
I think that certainly, the difference between video and augmented reality and virtual reality is that video is still one way. It is interactive; you are trying to have a conversation, but it’s in kind of a synchronous time versus something like augmented reality, where you’re now able to interact with that space.
That’s certainly going to be the future. We’re seeing that already in learning and development. HR has embraced this in other parts of its industry in terms of how we’re training. Be it from safety training to military training, it’s really all over. It’s bound to seep into the world of recruiting, and we’re doing some experiments and working with companies that are experimenting with 360-video on that.
Steve: Good. We mentioned earlier point of view (POV) videos. Could you tell everybody a little bit what that’s about?
Elena: Yeah. Again, it’s just another style of a video. Imagine this is as if somebody is putting a Go Pro on his or her head, and you’re able to get his or her perspective; you’re putting yourself in his or her shoes of what his or her day is like.
Rather than you stepping out and being this more objective camera, what is it like to actually be the operator or be the pilot, and you’re in the pilot seat; what do they do? It’s a style. It works for some companies. For some companies, it doesn’t. We think it’s a super creative way to, again, I think, get to that immersive storytelling that we are pushing HR to do.
Steve: I guess everybody should be considering that, at least as they’re working on their recruiting. On the flip side of all this, on the candidate side, do you think video résumés are effective for candidates and helpful to recruiters?
Elena: I absolutely do, but we certainly have a different spin on it. Currently, there’s the higher views—I mean, there’s several companies that are kind of creating this interview video candidate experience—but we want HR to take it a step further rather than just showcasing personality. And, quite frankly, scaling a process that already exists, which is the sit-down interview and you asking one question and I’m responding, grounded in a work sample.
Similar to how companies are showing what the candidate would be doing—well, for a candidate, it would be like, show me that you can read a blueprint. Ground this video résumé into actually showing that you can do the work.
The reason why we believe that is because work samples are the best predictor of job performance, and they significantly reduce hiring bias. So, the idea that we’re really just focused on the tangibility of what this candidate can do is certainly quite different from just a Skype interviewing that a recruiter can view asynchronously.
Steve: There are a lot of levels and angles to this. Do you have any specific examples that you could share of organizations that have improved their recruiting through better postings?
Elena: Absolutely. From the gamut, we’ve really had the honor of working in a small five-person manufacturing job shop looking for a C&C machinist to C-suite. There’s a couple of levers that we see companies moving the needle on.
One is an increase in quality candidates. Not quantity. Quality—this idea that this is a company that doesn’t need a thousand applicants when it really just needs an excellent pull of 20. That’s a lot of where we’re seeing folks moving the needle.
The other one is certainly in an increase in retention. So now that you’re giving candidates a more realistic job preview, you’re enabling candidates to self-screen in or self-screen out, and that’s A-OK. This idea, then, that if you are giving candidates a more realistic understanding of the role, they’re coming in and staying because they knew what the expectations were.
And then, the other one is a reduction in time to hire. Given now that you have companies that have this new way to differentiate themselves, you have candidates who are coming in more informed, the conversations you have are richer, and it is overall excelling what that hiring process looks like.
Certainly, there are some awesome examples of what this looks like—everything from your small manufacturer, which kind of struggled to find a quality engineer and really was able to hire from two. I think the feedback it got was that this was the best candidate experience we’ve ever had.
It could work on a small level, and then certainly an example that I shared in our workshop was with American Airlines, which I very much credit for putting itself out there to say, “this role isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.” It wanted to really address the question of why people quit.
In its realistic job preview, we were out in the rain and showing that this is not just a labor-intensive job; you are out in the rain, in the sun, in the sleet, in the snow, and airports never close down, and we want to show exactly what that looks like.
Since it’s been able to promote that, it has really seen, from a qualitative level, some of the conversations that it can now have with candidates who are saying, “I’m on board. I know what this is going to be. I’m okay.” So we’re certainly seeing it moving the needle on retention and the kind of talent that it’s getting.
Steve: Nobody’s going to argue with that. Let me switch gears here just a little bit. Earlier, we mentioned #HRAgainstLame. Could you tell us what that is?
Elena: Yeah, so this kind of came at a very lighthearted presentation that I was giving to HR leaders. I created a monster called Lame, who was the job-post monster and had an armory of bullet points, and it was our role as brave HR warriors to fight against Lame—to do what we could, be it through visuals or creativity, to beat Lame down.
I think the metaphor for all of this, and certainly the approach I’ve always had to presenting, is we need to laugh at ourselves a little bit. HR is known to be a very serious field, and rightfully so. We’re dealing with a lot of really tough stuff, but we have to find ways to be lighthearted about it because it breaks down people’s defenses when you do that, to have actual meaningful conversations around what we could change.
So in a very highly regulated industry, let’s make fun of it a little bit—in doing so, seeing what we can actually do to innovate as best we can, even if it’s in baby steps.
Steve: Well, thanks for that. I’m glad I asked about #HRAgainstLame. To sum this all up, any final recommendations for companies that want to improve their posting and achieve better recruiting and retention?
Elena: Yeah. What I want HR to keep in mind is that visual job postings don’t have to be intensive, and they don’t have to be expensive. This is something that, with the camera in your pocket, you can start taking photos and videos right away.
It doesn’t have to be some highly produced video with a full-scale media crew and cost thousands and thousands of dollars. This is something that recruiters can start tomorrow using the existing tools that they have.
Steve: Well, Elena, thanks so much for coming today and providing all these insights.
Elena: Fantastic. This was fun!
Steve: Thanks for listening live from RecruitCon in Nashville. This is Steve Bruce for HR Works.