August 23, 2007
We all know how hard it is to find the right staff. Since video is being used in so many marketing tactics these days, why not add it to your recruiting efforts, too?
A marketer wanting to attract better job candidates and reduce turnover tapped staff members to star in videos for some of their hardest-to-fill positions. The new approach is working. They're seeing 30% more job applications and up to 110% increase in the number of candidates who pass the prescreening process.
Every marketer knows that a strong brand attracts customers, but what if your brand doesn’t have much pull with prospective employees?
“In most conversations I had related to recruiting, people said, ‘I like the company,’ but they were thinking as a consumer, not as an employee. People were fairly indifferent about Life Time Fitness as an employer, and that’s almost as bad as not liking us,” says Kendall Harrell, Manager, Organizational Development.
For Harrell and his team, the company’s growth depended on finding the right people to fill critical positions at the corporate headquarters and in its health clubs. They needed to establish an identity that would attract more candidates. At the same time, they wanted to improve the quality of those job applications to save the recruiting staff time and effort in finding potential employees who were the best match.
They decided short recruitment videos was the solution that would help convey the company’s employment experience. And by making current employees the stars of the videos, they could highlight the kind of prospects they were looking for and describe the most important duties of each position.
Here’s how they developed the videos:
-> Step #1. Identify key jobs for recruitment push
First, they targeted the positions that were most important to the continued growth of the company. Those positions were:
o Personal trainers and other fitness personnel
o Membership sales associates
o Facility managers
“If you look at the critical roles in our company, it’s around fitness, member acquisition and retention. You need incredibly strong leadership to manage those individuals and support brand initiatives as you go into new markets.”
-> Step #2. Outline corporate employment profile
To develop videos that would attract the best candidates, Harrell and his team assembled an in-house panel to define the unique aspects of working for the company.
The panel included business leaders who didn’t often interact with each other, such as:
o HR and recruiting personnel
o Marketing executives
o Managers in charge of specific job groups
o Current employees in the target positions
They started by outlining their overall “employment brand” -- what makes working at Life Time Fitness different from other organizations. That employment brand centered on characteristics, including:
o A fast-growing company
o A commitment to a healthy lifestyle
o Excellent facilities
o A focus on customer service
-> Step #3. Analyze key characteristics of successful employees
After defining their overall employment brand, the panel analyzed each job to get a realistic assessment of the tasks employees needed to perform. They also wanted to establish characteristics that make employees successful in the positions.
The focus group of existing employees was particularly important at this stage, as the panel asked them what attracted them to the job; what were the most important duties they perform; what did they like most about working in that position, etc.
The process also delivered insights about successful employees’ backgrounds, which were helpful in qualifying job candidates. For example:
- Personal trainers tended to be highly educated in their fields, having bachelor’s or master’s degrees in disciplines such as sports medicine or physiology.
- Sales staff had backgrounds in the hospitality and real estate industries, where they were used to serving people on an individual basis.
- Managers were committed to the healthy lifestyle that the company espouses, engaging in lots of activities that benefited their own health.
-> Step #4. Recruit top employees to star in videos
Next, the team decided that having real employees tell their stories on camera would make the most effective recruitment videos. “What better way to tell people about the job and why want to be there than with employees themselves? They’re the heroes of the job and the type of people we want to attract,” Harrell says.
- To find the best employee spokespeople, he called the category managers for each target area and asked them to name their top five employees.
-From these lists, they invited employees from both the corporate headquarters and fitness centers around the country to sit on the brainstorming panels and tell the team their own stories. This way, they could find the people who were most passionate about their jobs and had great stories to tell.
- The goal was to have real employees describe their experiences in their own words -- not follow a script written by Harrell and his team. The only exception was a few scripted lines that appeared in each video, written by the recruiting and marketing team but spoken by the employees, such as the tagline. “I always enjoyed being fit and healthy, but I had to go to Life Time Fitness to get my career in shape.”
-> Step #5. Create video recruiting profiles
Working with those individuals, the team spent a day filming interviews that were assembled into 2 1/2-minute video segments. Employees’ comments were interspersed with footage of the fitness centers showing the facilities, members engaging in different activities and other shots to convey the working environment.
The goal was to have a video that had several 10-15 second snippets of conversation and images that would describe the unique responsibilities and benefits of each job, while indicating the type of employees they were looking for:
- For personal trainers, the video focused on the fact that fitness personnel were full-time employees, not independent contractors. It also highlighted the company’s scientific approach to fitness, and described the technology and tools available to trainers to help members get in shape.
- For membership sales associates, the video highlighted the customer focus and the ability to help members live more active, healthy lifestyles.
- For managers, the video focused on needing hands-on managers who were involved with every aspect of running the club and on the opportunity to be part of a growing organization.
-> Step #6. Host videos on recruiting section of Web site
Their site already was a key driver of the 70,000 applications the company received each year, so the team added the recruiting videos to their Careers section, where candidates could come to learn more about employee benefits and open positions.
- A link to the recruitment videos was added to the Careers homepage.
- That link opened a separate video page where candidates could watch the videos. To the left and below the video window, the team placed links to other key recruiting sections, such as fitness center job openings, corporate job openings, and upcoming career fairs.
- Recruiters also took the videos to job fairs and on recruiting trips to give an overview of the company’s employment philosophy.
Videos have made a huge impact on Life Time Fitness’ recruiting efforts. “We’ve heard from the club leadership that these videos are a great representation of our employment brand,” Harrell says. “They’ve really helped recruiters have a more concise message when go they out to colleges and other job fairs.”
Since implementing the videos, the company has seen an increase in applications across the board:
o Manager applications - 30% increase
o Personal trainer applications - 29% increase
o Sales associate applications - 7% increase
Even better, the quality of those applicants has also increased.
- The number of manager applications that passed qualification pre-screening increased from 9% to 19%.
- The number of sales associate applications that passed qualification pre-screening increased from 29% to 37%.
- The number of personal trainer applications that passed qualification pre-screening increased from 30% to 38%.
Going forward, Harrell will be watching how the recruitment videos affect long-term goals, such as customer service metrics and employee turnover. “The cost of turnover in sales, personal training and management can be immense. If the videos can reduce turnover even by single-digit percentages, it’s paid for itself.”
Useful links related to this article
Creative samples from Life Time Fitness’ recruitment video series:
eContinuum - the HR consulting firm that helped develop the recruitment videos:
Life Time Fitness: