• Transform magazine
  • November 19, 2019

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How digital changed recruitment

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I can’t think of a more exciting time to work in our space. New techniques and technologies appear by the day. Nick Francis from Casual Films explores the role of digital in employer branding

Nick Francis at the Employer Brand Management conference on 12 December. Attendees will learn from almost 20 in-house experts from global organisations who have mastered the art of managing their employer brands. To book your place, click here.

I can’t think of a more exciting time to work in our space. New techniques and technologies appear by the day. The potential for those who are willing to be bold and differentiate themselves has grown too. Get it right or wrong and people will notice. Be the same as everyone else and face irrelevance. The up and the downside has never been more significant. Does fortune favour the brave though?
We started Casual Films in 2006, producing content with the simplest possible production model, one person, camcorder and laptop. YouTube was a few weeks old and many of the major brands we spoke to seemed bemused at the idea that they should have a film on their website. It was enough for most of our clients to have a film on their site and know it was there. The idea that anything should be done to increase the people who actually got to see it was alien.
This is utterly different now. Data is driving decisions. It’s no longer enough for the measure of success of a film to be whether or not the commissioner’s boss liked it (although it’s surprising how often our clients will secretly admit to this). Effectiveness is all. In the same way, above-the-line advertising really hit the big time when companies learned the value of measurement. Online content producers must deliver the metrics in order to join the top table of the UK’s creative industries. We’re not there yet, and in an area as potentially intangible as employer branding, we have a bit of a way to go.
In this increasingly fleeting world, today’s news doesn’t even get the solace of being tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper. Our clients don’t want one large big bang project, they want content that can be atomised and scattered to the four corners of social media. The single ‘knock out blow’ approach has been replaced with a series of smaller jabs. These jabs can be sustained, reducing the risk of your audience looking away as your tweet comes in.
This does bring creative challenges though. How do suppliers resource effective treatments when their budgets, margins and timeframes are stretched ever thinner. In a sphere where the emphasis is on saying something, anything, all the time. How do we make sure that we take the time to say something interesting, relevant and resonant?
The ‘Best AV’ category launched at the RAD awards in 2008. Since then, video based projects have won the ‘Best Work’ award four times. When it comes to capturing the hearts and interest of potential employees, according to the awards judges anyway, video works.
Elsewhere, transparency is killing spin. PR is dying because our critics can see exactly what we’re really doing. Brands are changing their approaches to sustainability as a result. Consumers and employees care about how their potential employer treats the environment. The need for an authentic brand story has some positive side effects.
Both candidates and employers can see more of each other than before, often more than both parties are strictly comfortable with. It has redrawn the boundaries of what recruiters need to include in their adverts and the scope employer brand leaders need to encompass. It has redefined what we need to talk about. This additional insight brings with it important ethical questions for the inquisitive potential employer.

Nick Francis is creative director at Casual Films