Friday, June 13, 2008

Bald Puffery Won't Work with Candidates

Spent yesterday at the fourth annual Staffing Symposium in Seattle (shout-out to the fine peeps of the Seattle Staffing Management Association, and the speakers, attendees and vendors that support this righteous group of recruiters). There was a viral video love-fest; it seems that every company, large or small, is producing a video, uploading to YouTube, and standing back to avoid the stampede of candidates.

I think VV is a brilliant way to reach folks on the internets. I won't open an email that begins KIND SIR, PLEASE DEPOSIT $700,000,000 IN MY BANK ACCOUNT, but I will click on just about any video sent my way. If it makes it way to me via e-mail, there is likely some entertainment value. But how long will this trend last before recruiter-types exploit it to the max, and make me wary of clicking on any VV? About 2 nanoseconds.

The minute VV loses its street cred, folks will tune out. So if you think you can shaky-camera your way to a groovy employer brand and a surplus of top notch resumes, you'd better think twice.

Before you circulate that video of your cubemates impersonating the characters in The Office, consider these rules:

  1. It better be funny. Side-splitting funny. Or shocking. Or compelling. You are competing with a lot of funny, shocking or compelling VV, and some lame ones as well. Do not allow your VV (and your brand) to be tossed into the lame category. Your video better add to the VV canon. Otherwise, you contribute to the decline of a great medium.

  2. Don't fake anything, and don't avoid the bloody rhinoceros head on the table. If your company is going through drama, make fun of it, or at least acknowledge it. Don't fake something, and try to present it as real. These twenty-somethings are smart. They will know and spend hours dissing you and your brand for being fake.
  3. To quote Dave Morgan, in an article for Media post, "bald puffery doesn't work anymore". Just because you say your company is cool doesn't mean it is cool. Authenticity is in.
  4. You have a lot of competition. VV is cheap. Everyone can get in on the game. Your video must stand out to impact candidate behavior and perceptions. No one will forward a lame video, so that brings us back to rule #1. Oh, and getting folks to voluntarily forward your video means that you have mastered this channel. Making a video and uploading to your website or YouTube is only half the battle. The Viral part is equally important.
In short, keep it real.

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