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Ep 538: The Rise Of Short-Form Video

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Over the last few years, TikTok has driven a revolution in short-form video content, racking up billions of views and forcing its competitors to adopt similar formats. Recent data, ironically released by Google, has also highlighted that a significant percentage of young people prefer to do their research on TikTok and Instagram instead of using Google.

However, while a few employers are doing a great job in this area, overall, there is still very little recruitment marketing or employer branding content on these platforms.

So what do employers need to do to connect with the millions of people consuming short-form views effectively, and what part should this type of content play in recruitment marketing and employer branding strategies?

My guest this week is Omar Khateeb, Founder and CEO at JobPixel. JobPixel is helping many employers to embrace short-form video content, and Omar has expert insights to share on what works and how to build effective workflows for this type of content.

In the interview, we discuss:

• The current state of the market and the consequences of overhiring

• How employer branding is evolving to meet the current challenges

• The critical importance of creating authentic video content

• Showcasing the good, the bad and the ugly.

• The evolution of Day in the Life videos

• How does short-form video fit in strategically?

• Many people research companies after they have applied, not before

• What makes great content

• Having the right tooling and process to capture video

• The impact of AI on content creation

• What is the future of video for recruitment marketing and employer branding?

Listen to this podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Transcript:

Matt Alder (Intro) (1m 7s):
Hi there this is Matt Alder. Welcome to Episode 538 of the Recruiting Future Podcast. Over the last few years, TikTok has driven a revolution in short-form video content, racking up billions of views and forcing its competitors to adopt similar formats. Recent data, ironically released by Google, has also highlighted that a significant percentage of young people prefer to do their research on TikTok and Instagram instead of using Google. While a few employers are doing a great job in this area, overall, there is still very little recruitment marketing or employer branding content on these platforms.

Matt Alder (Intro) (1m 50s):
So what do employers need to do to connect with the millions of people consuming short-form views effectively, and what part should this type of content play in recruitment marketing and employer branding strategies? My guest this week is Omar Khateeb, Founder and CEO at JobPixel. JobPixel is helping many employers to embrace short-form video content, and Omar has expert insights to share on what works and how to build effective workflows.

Matt Alder (2m 22s):
Hi Omar, and welcome to the podcast.

Omar Khateeb (2m 24s):
Hi Matt. Really excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

Matt Alder (2m 27s):
An absolute pleasure to have you on the show. Please, could you introduce yourself and tell everyone what you do?

Omar Khateeb (2m 34s):
Absolutely. My name is Omar. I am the CEO and Founder of a company called JobPixel. We allow organizations to collect, curate, and publish authentic employee generated content. So think of day in the life videos from your employees and we allow you to deploy that content on your career site and workflows.

Matt Alder (2m 51s):
Fantastic stuff. Tell us a little bit about your backstory, your journey. How did you get to be where you are now?

Omar Khateeb (2m 56s):
Absolutely. Well, I’m a newbie to HR Tech. I came from Cisco. I had an idea about connecting candidates to jobs better using video. And then one of my friends introduced me to my amazing co-founder. My co-founder came from the industry. He built a company called bright.com with the founding team and then sold it to LinkedIn in 2014. And he spent around six years at LinkedIn building a big chunk of their current job ecosystem. So, I get a lot of the ideas and understanding of the industry from his side and came in and really dug deep. Met you and met a lot of amazing other people in the industry that helped me really learn and hone in every single day is a learning journey for me.

Omar Khateeb (3m 40s):
So it’s been really exciting.

Matt Alder (3m 41s):
And that makes you a great person to ask this question to because it’s a very strange time in the industry at the moment. There are lots of things going on. What’s your take on what the, the markets look like and and kind of what’s happening with employers?

Omar Khateeb (3m 55s):
I think from an employer standpoint, it’s is interesting, right? So tech companies have been hit really hard from layoffs and everything, which is really unfortunate. And I think it’s due to irresponsible fundraising and amounts of money that got pumped into the system that needed to get flushed out. So now what we’re seeing right now is just going back to normal. I wouldn’t say it’s a downturn. I would say it’s just going back to normal because most tech companies don’t need that many people to run, realistically. We have a small team and we’re doing pretty well. I think that there’s a lot of industries like manufacturing, transportation, healthcare are still hiring like crazy because these shortages are still exist.

Omar Khateeb (4m 37s):
And so I think what we’re seeing right now in the employer market specifically is the organizations that overhired are just going back to normal. And with that as you know, tech companies, at least I’m in San Francisco, I’m in the Bay area, so I’ve seen that ripple effect, you know, hit San Francisco for example. Rents are down 15, 20% people are moving out of the city. And I think it’s just going back to normal that that’s my take on it really.

Matt Alder (5m 4s):
What about employer branding? How important do you think employer branding is at the moment? How is employer branding evolving with kind of some of some of the changes that we’re seeing?

Omar Khateeb (5m 16s):
Absolutely. So I think employer branding has always been important throughout history, but it changed quite a bit after COVID. I think with the move to remote work, people started getting a lot more optionality in terms of where they can work because they can be anywhere. They can just hop on a call like this and really do their work. So now they’re no longer just looking for a salary. They’re not just looking for something that is flexible, but they’re also, do I want to really be with these people six days a week, five days a week, eight hours, seven hours a day with those folks that are basically in my home on Zoom? So I think that employer branding has grown into a level where people are want to check what does it look like to work for this organization?

Omar Khateeb (6m 5s):
And then with the growth of TikTok and other platforms, and TikTok right now is getting the most amount of traffic in the world higher than Google, which is really crazy to even think about. People’s willingness to go research an organization and see what it looks like to work there. What we, they call day in the life video has exploded. So people now, they don’t just look at what is your salary or, you know, how many hours they have to work a day? They’re actually looking at what, how do people feel working for your organization? And do they have the optionality to go somewhere else that they will feel a lot better and make the same amount of money? And I think that and starting to become a really strong differentiator, I think tech was a great example of that.

Omar Khateeb (6m 50s):
People, you know, the FANG companies, the Facebook, the Amazons, the Netflix and the Googles of the world, right? They invested heavily in their employer brand. And if, you ask anybody who’s a knowledge worker, it’s probably going to be in one of their dream kind of lists that they want to work for one of those organizations. And it’s not because, I mean those organizations are special, but it’s because they invested so much in their employer brand and their existence that people just naturally want to go work there. The top talent naturally want to go work there. Not just because there’s a salary component, but I want to be able to put on my LinkedIn that I worked for Google. That’s a big thing for people. It’s a status. And I think a lot of organizations are starting to realize that and starting to invest more and more in employer branding.

Matt Alder (7m 31s):
No, absolutely. And I want to talk about the, you mentioned video there and day in the life and all that kind of stuff. And I really want to kind of dig deep into that. Now, I’m old enough to remember back when I worked in recruitment marketing, when we did video as part of employer branding or part of recruitment marketing. It involved several days shooting camera crews, all kinds of things. And you know, quality had to be the highest. Then mobiles and social media came along and people were sort of shooting video, you know, on their phones and it kind of went back to nice cameras and it’s kind of flitted around sort of in between in terms of format and use of video.

Matt Alder (8m 14s):
But TikTok has obviously come and changed everything because it’s changing the other platforms as well. How is it changing employer brand content? What are we seeing from these sort of new video formats, these new ways of using video that are becoming so incredibly popular?

Omar Khateeb (8m 31s):
So I love this question because there’s a story that I like to kind of share. So I think six, seven months ago we were talking to a customer that is a trucking company. And they said, “I am tired of the cringey, overproduced recruitment videos that show my drivers in ironed out shirts, not dirty, full face of makeup. People have a really strong BS meter nowadays and understand that that’s not the reality. And when the reason TikTok is becoming really successful is because it’s authentic. If you’re on TikTok right now or use any of those short Form Video platform, the moment you get a video that feels slightly overproduced for the most part you’re probably gonna skip because you’re like, what are they trying to sell me.

Omar Khateeb (9m 21s):
Versus showcasing the good, the bad, and the ugly of a specific job or a story that just connects people to the brand in a much better way. The other thing is it can show a job a lot more fun than it is. Working for a paint company probably doesn’t seem that exciting. But if you watch a video of mixing blue and red and green together in those really cool machines that like some of those paint companies in the US have and go to TikTok and watch that, it is so satisfying that you really want to do that job. There’s this, I forgot his name, and a few other podcasts talked about him, but basically he was mixing paint for one of those organizations in the US. And then his videos were amassing 1 million, 2 million, 3 million likes and millions of views.

Omar Khateeb (10m 5s):
And most of the comments were like, “I really, I never thought I want to work for X company. Now, I want to.” And the reality is people are attracted to authenticity because they’ve been sold to for the last 10, 15 years since the growth of Facebook and YouTube and all that. And now they’re like, we want to go back to the real authentic field.

Matt Alder (10m 21s):
And I think the interesting thing is when we used to talk about day in the life videos, it was exclusively what someone was doing in the office. But with this kind of authenticity that’s going through TikTok, you see content in someone’s whole life and whole day. Don’t you? It’s really interesting. I just find it really interesting how that’s kind of evolved.

Omar Khateeb (10m 42s):
Absolutely. Because when you hire someone, you’re not just hiring them at during their work hours, you’re hiring their stress, you’re hiring their dog, you’re hiring their spouse as well because that’s all a part of their output at your organization. And I think that’s why the day in the life makes sense because happy employee, happy company, that’s the reality of the situation. So that’s what we see, I mean, organizations are really starting to care about their employees wellbeings, as you probably know, some organizations are great. They’re investing in mental health platforms that they offer for free to their employees. That’s really, really awesome. And I think capturing a lot of that is really important to attract top talent.

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Matt Alder (12m 34s):
Stepping back a little bit, the style of video, where does it fit in strategically? You know, we’ve talked about day in the life, we’ve talked about employer brand. But you know, what exactly can employers get across using this type of content?

Omar Khateeb (12m 49s):
I think the, the first thing employers need to realize is most candidates will research your company after applying to the job not before. And I think a lot of HR and talent acquisition folks don’t want to like accept that fact. The reality is most candidates are gonna come from job boards via easy applies and it’s normal. And what happens is, after they hear back from your organization, whether it’s positive or negative, but mostly positive, they’re actually going to go in research mode. They’re going to open up your career pays, they’re going to learn about you, they’re going to probably go on TikTok and learn about your organization. And for us, what we’ve seen work really well is we’ve built something called the widget that floats on your career site.

Omar Khateeb (13m 34s):
So when somebody comes in, they’ll be able to open up that widget and then flip through some of the videos that you choose from your employees that you’ve collected through our platform to show to that specific candidate to retain them throughout your process. So that’s one. Number two is going to be on the job postings themselves. We’re able to embed video job descriptions on each individual jobs. So let’s just say it’s a sales position at an X, Y, and Z telecommunication company. You’ll be able to hear directly from the hiring manager for the sales team talking about why it’s awesome to become a salesperson there. That’s way better than reading a job description. So that’s where we see that working. The final thing where we see this work really well is in sourcing.

Omar Khateeb (14m 14s):
Let’s just say, so one of our great customers is a hospital and they hire registered nurses. So they reach out everywhere on LinkedIn, and on ZipRecruiter, and Indeed and all those platforms. So we give them the ability to build job descriptions that have a video of some of the registered nurses that work at their hospital today talking about why they chose this hospital instead of the competition. And then we embed a call to action in the video itself, which is then apply now that takes them directly to Workday for that specific customer to submit their application on Workday. So that’s how we see it work, but basically we allow you to embed the content across every flow to continue keeping that level of engagement that you need.

Matt Alder (14m 51s):
One of of the things that I’ve noticed in terms of the type of content that that comes out in our industry in amongst talent acquisition professionals, there’s obviously a huge comfort in terms of LinkedIn and written words and things like that. There’s not that much video content and when you look across the different channels, things like reels and TikTok, that that kind of vertical video content, there aren’t actually very many people who work in talent acquisition who are using those type of channels or are comfortable with those type of channels. Is that an issue because it’s certainly really moving the needle in lots and lots of different industries and it’s very much sort of tied generationally into people coming into the workforce, isn’t it?

Matt Alder (15m 38s):
What’s, what’s your sort of take on that?

Omar Khateeb (15m 41s):
I think it’s a revolution is coming in terms of like what organizations are doing from a marketing standpoint. So the first thing that I think COVID has done is probably start solving one of the biggest problems talent acquisition have, which is having a seat on the table with human resources to talk about why hiring is important for a company’s bottom line, aka revenue, which is more executive teams to feel like. So I feel like it’s similar to, you know, when Facebook came around and their advertising platform was just launching, most organizations were still buying ads on TV and on newspapers and on billboards, but then they realized, oh my god, there’s this really cool way to reach every single consumer directly to their computer or to their phone after Facebook released our mobile app, it’s called the Infinite Scroll, which is their big thing that they, everybody was excited about.

Omar Khateeb (16m 33s):
There was a shift, right? Marketers were like, “Oh, I’m used to buying billboards, I’m used to doing this and now I’m doing this on the person’s phone. How effective is this?” And the reality is, it is so much more effective. And I think there’s a revolution happening for talent acquisition in HR because they’re starting to finally have a seat on the table, be able to get more budget, hopefully, and then start be able to build that muscle that they’ve never had before. So, I think that the reason that a lot of people haven’t done it before is because it just, there was not never a need for that in our industry. But now with COVID and this push for employer branding and people really caring about not just the pay, but where am I going to work? Who am I gonna work with? A lot more than foreign.

Omar Khateeb (17m 13s):
As you probably see with the labor force participation in the United States alone, the number has dropped quite significantly. So, in order to get these people back, I think now it’s no longer a nice to have, it’s a must have. So, I’m starting to see more organizations start to adopt this, starting to get budget allocated for this. And even larger organizations are starting to build full recruitment marketing teams and getting it at. I’ve seen just this last couple of weeks at least 10 companies that have been hiring for recruitment marketing folks just to join their organization, which is really exciting to see. So there’s definitely a movement there, but hopefully that answers your question then.

Matt Alder (17m 49s):
Yeah, no, absolutely. And I suppose the, the other thing is, you know, around content itself. So we talked about sort of Day of the Life videos, talked about authenticity. From what you are seeing with the companies that you are working with who are producing this comment, this content, which is kind of predominantly short vertical video, what works? What makes good content for recruiting and employer branding in these kind of formats?

Omar Khateeb (18m 14s):
I think the first thing before establishing what good content is allowing human resources to be human resources and giving them the tools to review videos and approve them before they go live in the wild. So building the right tooling to capture content is really important. So building the correct prompts to your employees. For example, tell us about why you love working here? Tell us about how your day starts? How your day ends? Tell us about your favorite moment and why you enjoy working at this organization. Why is it different from other places that you’ve work for? We’ve seen those types of prompts work really well. And recently we’ve incorporated artificial intelligence to help you build some of those ideas and scripts, if you don’t know what to say or you just want an outline of things to talk about in your videos.

Omar Khateeb (19m 0s):
Our platform will allow you to build that. So making it really easy for people to actually know what to talk about and what not to talk about in those videos just to give them inspiration. And then after that, building the proper approval channels for people to approve the videos, review them, and make sure that they work really well for a specific organization. But basically, once that comes in, there is no one size fits all for organizations. Every company is different, every organization is different. If you’re hiring salespeople, your videos are going to be dramatically different than if you’re hiring registered nurses than if you’re hiring truck drivers. I think for truck drivers for example, they really care about how much time am I going to be spending on top of my truck tying things down and getting dirty, versus with a registered nurse, how many 12 hour shifts do I have to do, versus with the salesperson, what’s my quota?

Omar Khateeb (19m 51s):
So it really depends on the position. And so digging really deep into the nitty gritty of things and just making sure that you’re building the correct like job description, video job description for a specific position matters a lot, but there’s no one size fits all of that answers the question. It depends on the organization.

Matt Alder (20m 10s):
Yeah, absolutely. You mentioned AI there and kind of how it’s sort of helping in your product. What would you think, obviously, the huge amounts of discussion and debate about the role of AI moving forward. How else do you think AI might sort of work in this content employer brand area in the future?

Omar Khateeb (20m 31s):
Absolutely. Well, I mean some of the stuff that we we’re currently working on is recently added is audio. Audio is a really big component of any video. If we have some oil companies that use JobPixel and they have videos and drilling sites, we have other organizations that are in the middle of a massive warehouse where it’s very loud and things are breaking and falling. So making sure that those videos get recorded. So AI right now is being used in our platform to remove background audio to make a speaker’s voice crispy, crispy clear. Just like this platform right now we’re using to record right now, this is happening automatically with some of those tools that are coming through AI.

Omar Khateeb (21m 12s):
The next thing that I see is video editing. I think video editing is a big pain point for a lot of talent acquisition teams. They are not marketers, they are not video editors. They can know how to send a request out for a video content but they probably don’t know how to edit it. So using artificial intelligence to collect four or five videos and asking the AI to combine them together or brand it with the company’s colors and logos and music I think matters a lot for those organizations to help them push out content really quickly. So those are some of the things I see AI kind of helping in. There are some other things that I feel like will pop up as time progresses. Those are the lowest hanging fruit that I can think of.

Matt Alder (21m 52s):
Final question, we sort of talked about AI in the future there, but let’s think about the future of video. So how do you see video being part of the talent acquisition process in five years time?

Omar Khateeb (22m 5s):
I think every organization needs to have some form of content game when it comes to attracting talent. The old days of posting, shotgun, praying, and hope, hoping for candidates to just pop up to your front door is never going to, are over. That’s my opinion. And I feel like more and more organizations are staying away from job boards and trying to start building on their career pages and the amount of investment that is happening there because you don’t want to attract people who are click applying to a hundred jobs a day. You want to go after candidates that are highly qualified, they’re applying to your specific brand. And if, you don’t invest in that, you’re never going to get those people to your door.

Omar Khateeb (22m 45s):
Think of, you know, Airbnb for example, when they posted about them going fully remote as an organization, they had 700,000 people show up to their career page. 700,000, which is a massive number. If you go buy an ad campaign on Indeed we’re talking about millions of dollars to get to that number. So I think that’s where the future is headed. So in five years I think every organization is going to have some form of recruitment marketing team or person and more support from marketing their direct marketing team to actually help them with the process, which historically hasn’t been the case. And I, think back to my earlier point, executives are starting to realize talent is really, really important to help you keep your doors open, to sell product, to create things.

Omar Khateeb (23m 37s):
And we need to invest in that in order to bring the best people forward. And that’s where I see the industry headed in the next five years.

Matt Alder (23m 44s):
Omar, thank you very much for talking to me.

Omar Khateeb (23m 48s):
Absolutely. Thank you.

Matt Alder (23m 49s):
My thanks to Omar. If you want to take a look at JobPixel and help spread the word about Recruiting Future at the same time I’m using their technology to collect some short videos to capture why people like the podcast and why they would recommend it. I’ll use the videos on my website and on social. So, if you want to participate and help bring Recruiting Future to more people, then just go to bit.ly/helprecruitingfuture. That’s B-I-T.L-Y/helprecruitingfuture and help recruiting future is all in lowercase.

Matt Alder (24m 29s):
You can subscribe to this podcast in Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or via your podcasting app of choice. Please also follow the show on Instagram. You can find us by searching for Recruiting Future. You can search all the past episodes at recruitingfuture.com. On that site, you can also subscribe to our monthly newsletter, Recruiting Future Feast and get the inside track about everything that’s coming up on the show. Thanks very much for listening. I’ll be back next time, and I hope you’ll join me.

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