Video recruitment insights form Skill Scout
It is our great pleasure to present an exclusive interview with Abby Cheesman, a Co-Founder at Skill Scout.
Skill Scout is a company which specializes in helping companies to bring stories to life on video. They are on the mission to make filming recruitment and employee videos without fancy cameras, tons of equipment and time and professional filming experience. This company’s goal is to show you how you can create great recruitment videos on your smartphone - quick and easy.
In this interview, we asked Abby to share Skill Scout's insights on video recruitment best practices and challenges.
Interview with Abby Cheesman
1. Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about SkillScout?
My name is Abby Cheesman, I’m Co-Founder at Skill Scout. We help companies bring stories to life on video.
2. What made you start a company like this?
My co-founder Elena and I met working at an innovative design firm about 10 years ago. We worked on a project all about how to more meaningfully connected young people to employment - particularly those with barriers to work. We were inspired by these young people looking for jobs who told us "You cannot be what you cannot see."
We felt that, and knew we could do something about it. So we started filming jobs. Four years and over 1,000 job videos later, we've had the opportunity to share meaningful, funny, heartwarming and even tragic stories on video. Companies are working with us to attract, hire and develop their people. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to helping you share stories and bring us all a little closer together.
3. In your opinion, are employers adjusting to the new trends on the labor market (low unemployment, millennials and younger generations, passive job seekers...) Are they effective in doing so?
Our clients are doing some of the most innovative talent work I’ve seen. Yes, they’re effective and smart, and yes, they’ll need to continue to evolve. While some leaders are bogged down with historic hiring practices, I’m seeing rapid change in how our clients engage with people inside and outside of their companies. Using stories and sharing the meaning of work, instead of just the requirements, is one way. A video is a powerful way to do that.
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I am also really excited about how companies are letting candidates get a feel for the job with more immersive experiences in hiring. Part of this is more flexibly designing and thinking about your workforce. For our own company, we’ve had the most success attracting and retaining creative talent by allowing them to balance projects with us, and maintain other work they enjoy. This also strengthens how we hire, because we’re able to try each other out before offering full time or more regular employment. Obviously, not all companies can do this, but I’ve been surprised to see our clients in healthcare, manufacturing and logistics taking major leaps in offering flexible work.
4. Why is it so important to make recruitment more fun, candidate-centric and more attractive to candidates?
“Fun” isn’t the right word. “Engaging” is. Providing the most information in the most easily digestible way should be a goal for any recruitment efforts. Allow candidates to see what they’d be doing, the good and the bad - and let them self-select in or out. And if they select in, don’t make the application process burdensome. A video is a powerful tool to communicate rich information in a short amount of time and proves to be more memorable to candidates than text.
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5. Which industries use video the most, and why do you think that is?
We started our video work with industries that had misperceptions about the work: Manufacturing, Logistics, Healthcare. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see companies across industries use video successfully. The common thread is that people are drawn to stories, and video is a great way to share stories whether that is the impact on world health by an R&D Scientist making medical devices, or a truck driver who loves her work because it’s tangible, fast-paced and comes with a team that feels like family.
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6. What do most of your users use video for? What are they trying to show through video?
Realistic job previews are our most popular type of video. Show candidates a behind-the-scenes view of the work and people. But more often, I’m seeing companies get creative with video, whether that’s a walking tour of their facility, highlights of events, training, or even using video to ask their own customers about their experience. Once you get a bug for video the possibilities are endless.
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7. What do employers say and what do candidates say about this approach to recruitment?
Companies report shorter hiring cycles, higher quality and more informed candidates. Some of our clients see an uptick in applications with a video, others see fewer applicants for high volume roles, but better pools of talent. For example, our clients at American Airlines intentionally set out to reduce the volume of applicants for their Fleet Service and Flight Attendant roles. Instead, they wanted applicants to understand the challenges of the work and reduce turnover. Candidates love the video and report having fewer surprises when they start the job.
8. I see that SkillScout is a young company. What are some of the biggest challenges that startups face when hiring talent? How can startups separate themselves from big companies to attract talent?
We have been intentional about attracting more female filmmakers to our company, particularly women of color. Historically, film is an industry dominated by white men, and we wanted to change that in our small corner of the world. Our mantra is “you want to change the story, you change the storyteller” - which has resonated with lots of our clients who have their own diversity goals.
We discovered that in Chicago, where we’re based, there wasn’t a strong community of filmmakers who were also women of color. So we started that community by founding Mezcla Media Collective. Elena and I fiscally support screening events, meetups, and share job opportunities both at Skill Scout and other media companies in Chicago. We’ve grown that community to over 250 members, and it has become a healthy pipeline of talent for us. We want to be an employer of choice for women of color in Chicago.
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