Recruiting Videos & Employment Branding: Take a Cue from Yale

Jessica Lee Culture, Jessica Lee

Okay, so it’s kinda elitist for us to say this about my company. But it’s true. It’s easier to get accepted into Harvard as an undergrad than it is to get hired at APCO. Seriously! It’s that competitive. When we look at stats for resumes received to candidates hired, you have a better chance of getting into some of the Ivy League schools. Yep. And of course, that means I’m lucky as a recruiter that we attract our the best and brightest college grads and experienced professionals in our industry.

[ivy-league.gif]Just because you’re the equivalent of the Ivy League though doesn’t mean you don’t have to and shouldn’t think about your employment branding efforts. You can never rely on your reputation alone to attract the cream of the crop. Same goes for if you really are the Ivy League.

The recruiting challenge colleges and universities face always intrigues me and I find that there are parallels between their recruiting and my recruiting. And there are lessons to be learned for sure. I mean, think about the recruiting challenge an institution like Yale faces. Sure, they have the Ivy League seal and an impressive roster of alums to tout – but with a one-year term bill amounting to $47,500 (including tuition, room and board)… that’s right, roughly the same price as a 2010 BMW X5… they need to make students really want to pay to play. So how are they attracting students?

DING! Social media. And this little bitty below – a recruiting video for Yale – got me thinking quite a bit about their strategies and lessons we can learn as recruiters. Now, before you watch the video – close your eyes and think about everything you think you know about Yale already. For me it was…

  1. Competitive. (Although maybe a little easier to get into than APCO.)
  2. Stuffy and conservative.
  3. Somewhere Northeast.
  4. Lack of diversity.

And when you add in the $47,500 a year price tag? Sorry, Yale. It’s hard for me to imagine sending my future kiddies there. But I respect you for the recruiting challenge you have and how you’re working on the brand rather than resting on your laurels. And this video? It made me see the school in a different light because this isn’t just any recruiting video.

Yale went all out and produced a video a la Glee for prospective students. I mean, we’re talking singing, dancing – the whole nine yards. And it totally blew away my preconceived notions of the school. From a Washington Post article on the video – “We were hoping people would realize this is a bit tongue-in-cheek. It’s campy on purpose,” said Andrew Johnson, a 2006 Yale graduate who works in the admissions office and came up with the idea for the video.” And that, I loved. So have a look-see.

Because if Yale can do it in their attraction efforts, so can you. Just don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself with your employment branding efforts. Have fun with it. The point is to attract. Oh, and don’t forget to use your current and former employees where you can. After all, they are your best brand ambassadors. Yale’s video? More than 200 current and former students are featured – and the all filming, editing, and vocal recording was done on Yale’s campus exclusively by Yale students.

Good, good stuff and always a lesson to be learned. Enjoy!