Warm-Up Those Cold Calls! – Five Business Development Tips for Recruiters

Business Development Tips for RecruitersWhether you’re a recruiter or a recruitment software provider, business development involves a lot of cold calls to prospective clients.  You know your recruitment services are second to none, but if you’re blocked by gatekeepers or speaking with the wrong people it can be tough to stay motivated.  Shane Wheeler, Marketing Communications Executive, Adapt, shares five tips from our Business Development (BD) team to help you warm-up those cold calls and reach more decision makers…

1. BIG call target? Break it down

Starting the day with lots of calls ahead of you can be daunting, but breaking them down by time slots can help.  If you have fifty calls to make, aim to have half done by lunchtime and set yourself mini-goals along the way like ‘Ten more calls by 3pm’ or ‘Five more calls and I’ll have coffee and biscuits’.  It’s fun to come up with new challenges to avoid feeling like you’re only ticking-off calls one at a time. – Nouri Saoudi, BD Manager

2. Call like you’ve never called before

Your CRM will most-likely store an abundance of notes regarding previous business development calls to prospects.  This information is invaluable in many ways of course, but when working through a long list of calls, it might not be necessary to read too much of it.  It might even work better to read very little and ‘go in cold’.  If it dampens your spirits to read several notes about brief exchanges with gatekeepers, avoid reading them and call like you’ve never called before…literally and figuratively. – Nouri Saoudi, BD Manager

3. Take it with a pinch of salt

Gatekeepers, from receptionists to team members, may say they’re not interested (often sounding like they’re speaking on behalf of the company), but they’re not the ones making the decision.  There are numerous stories where one contact at a company showed little interest, only for their colleague to progress things the very next time a Business Developer called.  So, find out who the decision maker is and only take their word for the state of play – take everyone else’s with a pinch of salt. – Paul Sandford, BD Manager

4. It’s not personal

It can be difficult, especially if you’re professional and diligent in your approach, not to take a tetchy rebuttal personally – but it isn’t personal.  You have no idea what the person taking your call is dealing with at that moment.  From problems at work to problems at home, they’re just as human as you and if one of those problems was enough to put them in a bad mood, they won’t think twice before curtly dismissing your call.  Next time, it’ll probably be ‘night and day’, so keep your cool and don’t overthink these things…especially if doing so negatively affects your own performance. – Paul Sandford, BD Manager

5. Take note!

Once you’re through to the decision maker, breathe, listen and take notes.  If you’re asked a question and you don’t know the answer, find out, get back to that contact, then make a note so you have the answer next time.  If you ask a prospect a question and notice it piques their interest, make a note and remember to keep asking that question during future calls.  If you’re often hearing similar objections, make notes and be more prepared to overcome them next time.  Make lots of notes, refer to them often, measure your success and turn hindsight into foresight. – Paul Sandford, BD Manager

Our Business Developers love to talk about your business – call them on 01903 707070.

Slash Culture: How Can Recruiters make it Easier for Temporary Workers to Find Their Next Job?

temporary employmentOver the past year there has been a dramatic change in attitudes to the job market, driven in no small part by the growing number of millennials now employed. One of the more surprising changes is the rise in ‘slash culture’, with many millennials now juggling more than one job. Our recent research has shown that millennials are profession shifters, moving between jobs and industries much faster than older generations. There is a higher demand from millennials for flexible working, with many opting to juggle two jobs rather than working fixed office hours.

Many millennials also see themselves as entrepreneurs, which explains the shift between different industries as they look to gain a variety of skills. Nevertheless, the fluidity in millennial employment may also be because organisations are not appealing to their values – our survey revealed a staggering 100% of respondents believe it is important that the company they work for stands for something.

Yet while the concept of temporary jobs is appealing to this generation, offering both working flexibility and access to diverse skills, the temporary recruitment process can be both slow and inefficient – something that will not appeal to the instant gratification expectations of the millennial.

This is a different approach to traditional temporary working – and it is therefore essential that recruiters really understand the new drivers for temporary employment amongst millennials and ensure they are truly responding to candidates’ needs and objectives.

Accurate Information

Millennials will be flexible and that provides switched-on recruiters with a great opportunity to manage and fill fluid demand. Millennials looking to take on more than one part-time role will be negotiating on working hours and planning their working lives around lifestyle rather than vice-versa. Recruiters need to be up to date with each candidate’s current working situation – including the days he or she is available to work each week. Regular updates are important to ensure the information is up to date and the use of accurate scheduling tools can transform the process of identifying which candidates are available for a specific role.

While flexibility is clearly important, the ability to attain skills diversity and insight into different industries is also a significant driver for millennials. Recruiters that are actively looking to place candidates in roles that enhance their experience will build stronger relationships. Using excellent search technology with strong filters and rated attributes really helps to match candidate skills with a job description, making it far quicker to identify and secure the right talent at the right time.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]While flexibility is clearly important, the ability to attain skills diversity and insight into different industries is also a significant driver for millennials.[/tweet_box]

With the values of an employer more important to millennials than any previous generation, it has become incredibly important for recruiters to both understand the culture of each organisation – and to match it to a candidate’s values. Ensuring the candidate’s attitudes and values are recorded within the CRM, alongside skills and qualifications, is now a prerequisite to ensure a good fit on both sides.

3 Simple Candidate Bugbears to Overcome – and why it’s worth doing so

3 Simple Candidate Bugbears to OvercomeA recruiter’s business, client and legislative responsibilities can result in candidate frustration and may even lead to negative word-of-mouth or social media posts – but, as Shane Wheeler, Marketing Communications Executive, Adapt points out, sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference…

Market research we recently commissioned found that ‘63% of employees believe that recruitment agencies focus on employers’ needs over employees’ requirements’ – suggesting the majority of candidates felt they were given little attention by recruiters when it came to at least some aspects of their recruitment experience. 

There are, undoubtedly, a myriad of reasons why candidates may not view a recruiters’ service in the most positive light.  Recruitment business, client and legislative responsibilities can mean disappointing a candidate is unavoidable, but, often, it’s the little things that can change perception and result in candidate commitment.

Here are 3 simple candidate bugbears which are easy to overcome (and why it’s worth doing so)…

1. Not responding to communication

When a candidate decides, through business or personal reasons, to actively pursue a new role, this can be quite a tumultuous time.  Each new step on their journey can be exciting, stressful, pressured and so on…often all at once. 

Whether they instantly turn to a recruitment agency for assistance, or do so following a fruitless series of online or personal job applications, making that first contact by call, email or website application can feel like they’re ‘sticking their neck out’.  If a response isn’t forthcoming, even the least sensitive of candidates can feel slighted.  Worse still, if the initial conversation with a recruiter was encouraging, maybe even regarding their dream job, and ‘radio-silence’ followed – that can be even more frustrating and lead to resentment.  Resentment soon shared with colleagues, friends, or everyone on social media – discrediting you and your agency.   

Of course, most candidates don’t appreciate the complex business processes behind recruitment work (not to mention the necessity of prioritising client needs).  In many cases, a lack of contact is unavoidable – but, if possible, a quick call or email can make all the difference and engender real candidate loyalty.  Loyalty soon shared with colleagues, friends, or everyone on social media – promoting you and your agency.

Setting call reminders in your CRM software should be simple and effective, as should creating a respectful, confidence–boosting email template (even for rejections) to quickly fire-up, personalise and send.  Both take little time and effort, but go a long way. 

Candidates love being called back, with one exception…

2. Calling candidates at work

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]‘37% would be extremely unreceptive if called at work’ – @BondIntUK Market Research | http://bit.ly/2jf1RCW[/tweet_box]

Active or passive, when a recruiter calls a candidate at their current place of work, it can be quite an uncomfortable experience.  There’s every chance they’re sat next to their colleagues (or boss) and the last thing they want to do is ‘let the cat out of the bag’ by having a recruitment-related conversation within their earshot.  Some might be able to discreetly step away and find a secluded corner of the office, many won’t.  Some might have mastered the art of sounding ‘breezy’ while divulging or requesting sensitive information, many won’t.  There’s every chance your call will be met with a curt response or, if the candidate is more polite or sympathetic, an awkward array of ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ while attempting to re-arrange the call or request an alternative contact method.

Aside from the potentially embarrassing and awkward moments when receiving a call at work; many candidates may even consider such an approach disrespectful of their time and responsibilities – irreparably damaging your future relationship with them.   

What are your candidate’s standard working hours?  It should be easy to record them in your CRM system.  Many workers have set lunch times, probably between 12 and 2, but regularly noting the correct times on your records will help reduce the list of calls you need to make during your lunch hour.  A reasonable percentage will probably take lunch unusually early or late too…you’ll never know for sure unless you record this information.

Often, only a ‘human to human’ conversation will suffice, but if your candidate has a preferred method of contact in the meantime – text, email or calling a specific number – make a note and use it.  They’ll probably appreciate your attention to detail and feel more confident in your ongoing services as a result. 

3. Pitching jobs in the wrong location

Candidates have most-likely thought very carefully about which locations they could work in, how long their daily commute would take and what it would cost.  For many, these requirements will be high on the list, and one or more will probably be ‘deal-breakers’.  If a recruiter contacts a candidate to pitch a role in an unsuitable location, especially if this information has already been provided by the candidate, it could understandably lead to frustration.

Be sure to use whichever means your CRM provides to record, update and act upon this valuable information.  The Adapt Google Maps integration (which comes as standard) graphically displays a candidates’ location in relation to a job, and does so very quickly. 

Sometimes, the simplest things go the furthest          

Why add simple to overcome bugbears (such as the ones above) to the unavoidable ones your candidates may already have?  If their CV doesn’t match this time, it might do next time – so it’s always worth using quick and easy ways to ensure you keep more candidates on side, and don’t lose out in the long run.

Call Me Maybe? Top communication tips for recruiters

Tips for recruitersIn the world of recruitment, first contact is everything. Irrespective of the channel used, how recruiters initially interact with candidates informs the entire relationship from then on.

While in the past recruiters might have introduced themselves and mostly communicated with candidates over the phone, candidates now have their own preference of multiple different communication channels. Channels such as social media, mobile phone, tweets, texts, email and IM have all become great ways for recruiters to reach their prospective candidates, but as we know, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. With this in mind we have compiled a list of tips for recruiters to help them understand which channels work best for target candidates.

Think about your target audience

Don’t attempt to engage with candidates via a communication channel they don’t use or, worse still, dislike being contacted through.

In this respect, you need to determine the most appropriate method(s) of contact. In our list of tips for recruiters we advise establishing initial contact with candidates via email, as email is immediate, professional and most importantly, unobtrusive. But before you type up your email and hit send, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • Be friendly, but professional – It’s your introductory message, you want to be as professional and as approachable as possible. Once you’ve established the tone of your conversation, you can then decide on maintaining formalities or not.
  • Introduce yourself – Self-explanatory, but by introducing yourself, you present yourself as an approachable human being. In the age of automated email, the personal touch can go a long way in helping the candidate feel at ease and be themselves, which in turn will help you represent them more effectively.
  • Clearly state your reason for emailing – You need to provide something of value to your candidate, so clearly explain the position you are contacting them about. If you have a job opportunity, now’s the time to mention it.
  • Make sure you ask their preferred method of communication and what times are best – This is one of the main objectives of your initial email. Ideally, you want to obtain a more personal method of communication, one where you can contact them if needs be and they won’t be unreceptive. Additionally, ask them what time(s) are best to engage with them!

The above is just to get you started. Think of email as the bridge which joins the gap between you and your candidate. It may not be their ideal method of communication, but you have no way of knowing that until you ask them and that’s what the email is for – and once you have that, you should move on to what they prefer

Recruiters: you’re only ever as good as your word.

One of the most important tips for recruiters is to make sure you follow through on your promises. If you promise to keep in touch or update candidates on their progress, ensure you do.

For any candidate, what’s truly disappointing is never receiving feedback on an application. By failing to articulate feedback to both parties, whether the candidate turns the job down, or the client declines the candidate – you need to make sure everyone remains informed. By proving yourself as someone who provides concise, accurate feedback, you’ll establish yourself as someone who puts the needs of both candidates and clients first.

This becomes even more relevant as you work your way up through the seniority levels, from graduates to senior management to CEOs, you should be consistent throughout. Cultivating strong, professional relationships with all of your contacts will enable you to secure more opportunities in the future. If you take these tips for recruiters on board and implement them as standard practice, no matter what medium you choose, your candidates will be confident in your ability to represent them.

A Different Approach – Creating AdaptUX

Creating AdaptUXDid you know that AdaptUX was created using the Agile software development methodology? In his latest blog, Rob Hayesmore, Head of Product Development, AdaptUX, reveals how the change in approach bore exciting results for both developers and users of AdaptUX alike…

An Agile process

We fully embraced the ‘Agile’ development methodology known as ‘Scrum’ and applied it to both the engine (the central ‘core’ of the program) and configuration (tracking and controlling program changes) areas of our software.  All aspects of our newly-released recruitment-specific CRM, AdaptUX, were created this way – alongside the majority of its supporting software such as the Adapt Outlook Add-in (AOA) and the Adapt Desktop Agent (ADA).

Scrum is a huge change in approach from the traditional ‘Waterfall’ process.  With Waterfall, you design, develop, test, fix, final regression test, then release; so the development phase is quite long, around six months typically. It’s also risky because you may find a number of things to fix when you eventually start testing. 

An important part of the Scrum methodology is working in short, two-week cycles called ‘Sprints’, which continuously test alongside the development as features are completed. We also added Continuous Integration (CI) to the process, meaning we run automated tests overnight which test much more of the software than would be possible via manual testing during the same length of time; helping to ensure consistent functionality and improving quality.  

Sprint to the feedback

At the end of each two-week Sprint, we demonstrate new software features to our stakeholders and request feedback; ‘non-techies’ would see them and their comments would direct ongoing development.  Working with regular feedback in this way, new features such as the expandable and collapsible menu view, Calendar and Tasks within AdaptUX often became even better than originally envisaged.  

It’s all about seeing something in reality, not just a concept.  Why show concepts on whiteboards when you can deliver something everyone can actually ‘click’ and see working?

Testing for success

With Scrum, you test as you go in many small iterations. We do two types of testing, Unit Testing and testing within our CI (Continuous Integration) environment.  Unit Testing is at the code level and involves testing individual pieces that have changed. CI Testing tests those pieces working as part of the complete system.  In order to do this, we create and deploy a version of the software, then we manually build the test scripts telling the system what to test and what success and failure is.  The tests automatically run overnight and a report is generated for us to action the next day.

Running both types of test is like building a boat, testing it in a pool, then testing it out on the open sea.  We build part of the hull, improve the design and test that in isolation, then, via our CI environment, we add the superstructure and drop the boat in the water.  Hopefully, the hull still works with everything else around it and it’s seaworthy, or maybe it will be top heavy, capsize or sink – if that’s the case, we know what to fix.  If you don’t test the pieces that way, you might look at your new hull in isolation and think it’s beautiful, it works, it’s stable and doesn’t leak – but in reality, until you put everything together you don’t know for sure.  That’s why testing within the CI environment is so important.      

By working in an Agile way, not only are we more responsive and able to change direction every two weeks, we can also build much higher quality, solid and dependable software.

The methodology works

We believe the success of AdaptUX 1.0 proves the Agile/Scrum methodology works. 

We changed our methodology, developed AdaptUX in a very different way and delivered higher quality software to our clients.

Job Board Posting Top Tips – Part Two

jobboardpostingimage3Getting your job board(s) to perform is a constant challenge, in part two of this blog series we summarise how you can be sure you’re getting the best results from your job board(s). 

Missed the first instalment? Catch up with our Top Tips for Job Board Posting – Part 1

Making job boards efficient is key, and should be straightforward as most job boards do 50% of the process for you. I.e. advertising the position you’re recruiting for, attracting the necessary talent and then transferring them to you. Therefore, the skill in optimising performance comes in actually creating the job post description itself.

Normally, you would have painstakingly created job specification templates and distributed them manually across the job boards you’re using. However, instead you can automate this process by using sophisticated recruitment orientated software such as Broadbean, which enables automatic job-posting and distribution across multiple job-boards simultaneously, saving you time and energy which you can allocate elsewhere.

Steve Barnhurst, Sales Director, Broadbean comments:

“The time spent advertising jobs can add up very quickly especially when you consider how many adverts are placed each week and then multiply that across the number of recruiters you have within your business. Not only does Broadbean drive real efficiency across an organisation it also allows recruiters to focus on their core job of recruiting, giving back potentially hours that can be spent on interviewing more candidates, meeting more clients and ultimately making more placements which is what they are there to do. I doubt any Owner or MD wants their best recruiters bogged down in admin when they could be using their time to generate more revenue.”

 “Looking at it from a different angle though, agencies spend considerable amounts of money on advertising so it is vital that they understand which channels, paid for or Social, deliver the best results – not the most candidates, which is very different. Gathering this information is almost impossible when done manually and the accuracy of the data will always be questionable so it’s only by using a tool such as Broadbean that can you identify where you should be investing your advertising budget as well as highlighting key times to post in order to optimise your response rates.”

 “A wealth of additional data can be provided from the Broadbean reports but the data alone is worthless, it is how you use it that is important!”

Furthermore, if you’re operating on multiple job boards, it can be difficult to continuously track quality applications being delivered by different boards or channels. But by using software for support, you can get a holistic view of your recruitment process for analytical purposes, enabling you to optimise and streamline your recruitment campaigns.

Therefore, in order to get the best results from your job board, you need to combine the channel you’re using with in-depth analytics and process automation. By doing this, you can maximise these elements of your recruitment campaign:

  • Reach, return, exposure – By implementing software that enhances and streamlines your recruitment process, you can significantly increase your reach and return through automated processes. Instead of operating manually on one job-board and receiving a small amount of candidates, you can design your job templates and have the software deploy them across multiple job boards, thereby increasing your reach, return and exposure.
  • Visibility and Analysis – In-depth analytics and software gives you a complete overview of your recruitment process as well as a pool of the candidates that you’re amassing. Answering fundamental questions such as: How many candidates are they driving? How many of those candidates have become successful hires? How many views are your job posts getting? Being able to visualise all these elements in conjunction with the candidates you’re receiving will greatly improve your decision making and recruitment process streamlining.
  • Candidate identification / Candidate pool – Having analytics software in place will provide you with an archive, where all the CVs you’ve received are compiled and stored. The advantage of this is that in the event you reconsider, or require another quality candidate, you can establish a talent pool of outstanding candidates you can pull from.

Your job board posting and recruitment processes need to take into consideration all elements mentioned in this two-part blog series. If you want to increase the ROI of your job boards, you need to include some form of process automation and clearly identify the job boards you want to utilise to attain the best quality candidates, which in turn, will shorten your recruitment process drastically.

You CAN Make Recruitment Agency Marketing Videos In-house – Part Three

Marketing Video Blog ThreeIn the final instalment of a series of blogs looking at how to produce high-quality recruitment agency marketing videos in-house, Shane Wheeler, Marketing Communications Executive, Adapt focuses on selecting video editing software, editing the video, adding graphics and music then sharing the final video online…

The End: Post-Production and Sharing

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end.  In this ‘end’ blog about telling your story, I share my advice for editing your video and sharing it online.

Miss parts one and two?  Find out how to select your video recording kit here and set-up the kit and conduct great interviews with company spokespeople here.

Importing the video and audio files

At this point, your video shoot has hopefully gone very smoothly and you have the footage ‘in the can’ – meaning it’s safely saved on the SD (Secure Digital) or MicroSD cards slotted into your camera and sound recorder.  Now it’s time to transfer the footage you have recorded onto the hard drive of the computer you’ll be using to manage and edit it… 

You will most-likely have three main options when it comes to transferring the video and sound files to your computer.  You can use the USB cable supplied with the camera or sound recorder, just the SD card itself, or the SD card with a USB adaptor.

If using a supplied USB cable, just connect the camera or sound recorder to your computer via the cable, wait a few seconds for Windows Explorer to recognise it and ask ‘Open folder to view files?’ then click on this option.  Create a new folder on your desktop and merrily drag and drop your files into the new folder.  Be prepared to wait a few minutes for larger files to transfer. 

Even easier is plugging the SD card directly into your computer.  If your computer has the right slot built-in, this is a joy.  If not, you can use an SD to USB adaptor; a handy little device with an SD card input slot and a USB output plug.  Either way, you can transfer your files as above but without faffing with a cable. 

Cameras and sound recorders tend to name their recorded files in a way they find easy to understand, often coming-up with lengthy numerical file names which are tricky to identify.  My advice is to re-number the files ‘01’, ‘02’, ‘03’ and so on as soon as possible.

It’s also a very good idea to back-up your files on a second (external) hard drive, just in case.

Logging the footage

Now your video and sound files are in folders on your desktop, it’s great to watch everything and get a feel for what you have (and check the files have transferred properly in the process).

Once you’ve watched your footage, the first thing to do is log it.  To log your footage, play the files with a media player (such as Windows Media Player or VLC Media Player) which displays a time counter during playback.  I like to have a small window on the left of my screen playing the video and a Word document open on the right.  That way, I can easily start and stop the video and type-up the log.

Carefully log the footage within each video file by noting the timecode (the time on the counter) as each piece of new content begins (especially if you would like to use it in the edit).  Also, it’s a great idea to transcribe interviews in full – this does take time, but it’s worth it because you’ll be able to go through the transcript and highlight every important soundbite (and potentially use the written content elsewhere, such as on your website or social media feed).

If you log and timecode all the clips and relevant material within them now, you’ll save a great deal of time later by zeroing-in on the ‘gold’ (the material to use) and avoiding the, as I like to call it, ‘guff’ (the waiting, chit-chat, fluffed comments, passers-by spoiling the shot, planes noisily flying overhead etc.) throughout the editing process.

Writing a paper edit    

Go through the log and highlight all the parts you would like to include, and where you would like to include them – then use these details to write your paper edit. 

Add each clip/file number and the ‘IN’ and ‘OUT’ points within it you would like to edit into the final video; along with descriptions to make sure you have the right sections.  Then number each clip in the order you would like them to play in the final video.  It’s also a good idea to add the details of any onscreen graphics you would like to use at certain points.  Now you can ‘paper edit’ by cutting and pasting the clips in various orders and reviewing and refining until you’re happy you have the structure just right.    

Selecting video editing software

There are quite a few video editing software systems to choose from, ranging from the free (Windows Movie Maker), to very low cost (Apple iMovie), mid-range (Vegas) and semi-professional (Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro).  Naturally, as the cost of the software increases, so does the quality and power of the functionality it offers.  When editing videos in house, I like to use Techsmith Camtasia.  Whichever editing software you have access to, the vast majority work to similar principles, such as using a ‘timeline’, making cuts, ordering clips, adding transitions, video and sound mixing and so on.

Editing the video!

Now it’s time to open your editing software and import the video files you are going to use (the numbers of which will be on your paper edit).  Depending on the system, you’ll most-likely find an ‘Import Video’ button which goes on to open the folder needed, or you may be able to quickly ‘drag and drop’ the files in the right area.  Either way, the software now knows where the clips you’re editing are held on your computers’ hard drive.  A good tip – don’t move these files once you begin an editing project, if you do the editing software will have trouble finding them again.

Next, in the order of your paper edit, add the clips to the timeline in the editing software.  The timeline is a number of strips (known as tracks), usually across the bottom of the screen, where your clips are displayed as thumbnails and can be re-ordered, cut and manipulated in a number of ways to assemble your video. 

Once safely on the timeline, trim each clip to the required timecodes (the IN and OUT points on your paper edit).  To cut video clips, often there’s a ‘split’ or ‘cut’ tool which simply cuts the clip in two (like taking scissors to a strip of film) where you ask it to.  The editing software will have a large-window video player with a time counter (matching the timeline) – click on the relevant thumbnail, play the clip to the point where you would like to make the cut then pause and click ‘cut’….and delete the piece you don’t need.  Don’t worry, these cuts aren’t permanent, you can ‘bring back’ deleted footage if you find you need more.  Once you’ve worked through all the clips in this manner and pulled them together on the timeline (by dragging and dropping the thumbnails), your ‘rough cut’ or ‘assembly’ is ready. 

Now you can review and refine – watch and re-watch the rough cut and trim or extend the clips (by fractions of seconds) until you’re happy.

At this point, you’ll have ‘hard cuts’ between each clip, but the software will offer numerous transitions (some slick, some quite ‘cheesy’) which you can add to cuts to smooth and polish the video.  A little bit of artistry comes in here – with every cut, you have the choice of which transition works best to tell your story.  Hard cuts can be seamless and transitions such as fades and dissolves can smooth rough patches or emphasise certain feels to heighten the effect.

Adding titles and graphics

Professional corporate video agencies will be able to create slick animated titles and graphics for you, but you CAN create solid graphics yourself. Similarly to video editing software options, graphic design software also ranges from the free (Microsoft Paint) to the professional (Adobe Photoshop).  Whichever graphic design software you choose, the key is to create a jpeg (or similar) image file to the same resolution as your video (usually 1920×1080).  This file can then be imported into your video editing software and manipulated in the same way as a video clip.  You can set the duration (a good tip is to give the viewer time to read it twice), add transitions, and (using an image with a transparent background) even overlay the graphic on the video.  Most likely, you will need to add an opening title, titles for new sections and subtitles to identify interviewees.  When adding subtitles, the industry term is ‘lower third’, because it’s popular to use the lower third of the screen for these graphics.  Wherever possible, be sure to use current company branding and colour schemes within your video graphics.

Editing the audio

Your video editing software will undoubtedly also offer sound editing functionality.  The most common (and important) tool to use is the one adjusting the volume levels during each clip.  Just click on the timeline thumbnail to tweak the volume – this is really handy if an interviewee is speaking too quietly or loudly; and absolutely necessary to smooth the sound across cuts and transitions (usually by adding a ‘cross fade’ to avoid sound ‘pops’ created by hard cuts) and even-up the volume throughout the edit so the sound doesn’t ‘boom’ at any time during the final video.  You can do this with the sound recorded by your camera; or you can import the separate sound files from your sound recorder, sync them up with the video (by lining-up the clips on the timeline tracks) and adjust them in the same ways.  Be sure to mute or delete the camera recorded sound if you’re using separate sound – your editing software will probably help in this regard by allowing you to separate and remove the camera recorded sound from the video clip on the timeline (but not the original clip, which always remains complete on your hard drive).

Adding music

Often the last part of the editing process, music is the glue which holds your video together, emphasises key moments and creates the right atmosphere for your content and marketing message. Find a few pieces which you think might work and play them with the video.  When you have the right piece, you can import the mp3 or WAV file (WAV being higher quality) into your video editing software, add it to a track on the timeline, sync it with the video and mix the levels with the video’s ‘live’ sound to ensure the music isn’t ‘drowning out’ spokespeople or vice-versa.

It’s important to use music in the right way.  Either paid-for or copyright-free, you must have the license to use music within a video you share online.  If you Google search ‘Copyright free music’ or ‘Royalty free music’, you will find a number of artists, websites and payment structures to choose from.  Some have nominal fees, some allow you to use their music free of charge if you credit/link them in the video. 

Sharing the video online

Now it’s time to share your finished video and marketing message with the world!  If you’ve got this far, especially for the first time, well done you, a pat on the back is in order!

Be sure to export your finished project from the editing software in the highest possible quality (probably 1080p) and in a commonly used file type (mp4 is quite a safe bet).  It’s a good idea to check the website you are using to host your video, such as YouTube or Vimeo, to see which file types they currently prefer. 

Now it’s simply a case of uploading, sharing and embedding your video within your agencies’ website.  There are loads of possibilities and your audience of prospective clients and candidates can only grow.

Good luck!  You CAN make recruitment agency marketing videos in-house.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Recruitment

dodontimageresizedEvery recruiter has a different approach to sourcing the right candidate, just as one recruiter might swear by cold-calling, another might be more adept at engaging on social media. Whilst the approaches may differ, one thing remains consistent throughout – and that’s the manner in which you interact with candidates once you’ve found them.

It’s imperative for today’s recruiters to ensure that their demeanour and candidate relationship strategy are based around an understanding and appreciation of the candidate. However, with some recruiters being unsure of how persistent they should be and when they should simply give up, this blog aims to provide an insight into the do’s and don’ts of recruitment and help you adopt the best practices.

Let’s start with what you should do in recruitment:

  1. Do your research

Familiarise yourself with a candidate’s skills and expertise to the point where you can genuinely engage with them over the phone. Be careful contacting a candidate if you have nothing to offer, you need to provide real value in the form of real opportunities. However, being in tune with your client’s needs, and knowing how to spot the perfect candidate for them is a fantastic skill to have. Just let the applicant know you are going to market them to a specific company, and why, and don’t promise a position if one doesn’t yet exist.

  1. Do provide an overview and sell the position

Clearly highlight the intricacies of the job position – walk the candidate through the individual aspects your client is looking for and make the company and the role itself sound desirable. This increasingly includes not just the basics of the specific role but also the values of the company and specific policies for training and flexible working – so investing time with the client to understand the culture, working environment and opportunities for future career growth is key. Likewise, listen to your candidate and what is important to them as they look to advance their career – then you can sell the right organisation to the right candidate.

  1. Do be personal in your engagement

If you can’t reach your candidate via the phone, leave them a pleasant, personalised message, highlighting your desire to talk to them. Follow up with a short email or text summarising the position, making sure you’re respecting the best times to get in touch with the candidate. By leaving personalised, brief, informative messages you’re demonstrating an understanding of the candidate’s specific requirements and requests. Candidates don’t want to see the same recycled messages time after time – it indicates that you don’t care and haven’t made the effort to understand them.

  1. Do follow up, network and encourage candidates to apply again

Where possible, always try to inform your candidates of the progress of their application. It’s your job to keep them up to date and in the loop regarding any changes. If you don’t, you risk leaving them disheartened and frustrated. Even if a candidate hasn’t been successful, encourage them to try again for similar positions; there’s a variety of factors at play with securing a position and there’s always the possibility the next vacancy will be just right for them.

By following the guidance outlined above, you will improve both your client and candidate relationships, becoming a recruiter that is respected and held in high regard. Remember, it’s not just about you – recruiting is a relationship between you, your candidate and your client which you need to cultivate and respect.

Now we’ve outlined what you should do, here are some recruitment don’ts:

  1. Don’t go into phone-calls or interviews blind or unenthusiastic

If you’re contacting candidates after only conducting minimal research into their abilities, you’ll come across as indifferent and uninformed, which will not only establish you as someone they won’t want to work with, but could potentially tarnish the reputation of the agency or organisation you work for.

Furthermore, your phone manner and the tone of voice you adopt will set the mood and atmosphere of the conversation. Be clear, be succinct and be positive. You need to make your candidates feel comfortable when dealing with you and that in turn will enable them to discuss themselves with you more freely – and they’ll thank you for that.

  1. Don’t bombard candidates with constant emails and messages across different mediums

A great way to get your number blocked and emails filtered is through continuous pestering and badgering of your candidates. If they didn’t pick up the first time, it’s safe to assume they’re busy or otherwise engaged. Leave a message and if they’re interested, they’ll get back to you. If you haven’t heard anything for a few days, leave a brief reminder over email stating your desire to talk to them. There’s nothing worse for a candidate than constantly receiving calls from recruitment agencies and consultants whilst at work or engaged in another activity.

  1. Don’t ignore your candidate’s preferences

It’s a two-way process. In order for you to find the best possible position for your candidate(s), you need to have a meticulous understanding of what they’re looking for. If you decide that the candidate’s preferences are in some way secondary to your own and arrange an interview with a company or organisation that doesn’t align with what they’re looking for, you’ve not only wasted your candidate’s time, but also your client’s – making them less likely to accept a recommendation from you again.

  1. Don’t stick to one channel

If you’re sticking to one channel, you’ll severely limit yourself in terms of reach and visibility – even more so if the channel you’re using isn’t lucrative or widely known. The abundance of channels available to recruiters means there’s a huge pool of talent out there – you need to maximise your reach and visibility by being a part of the wider sphere.

As recruitment is a constantly changing industry, there will always be an air of uncertainty of how to interact with candidates – the fundamentals outlined above remain unchanged regardless.

If you want to transform your recruitment strategy into a quality-orientated relationship, you need to take into account multiple demands and expectations. As a recruiter, you often end up being an intermediary or negotiator between the client and the candidate, and you have to ensure that both sides receive exceptional treatment and consideration.

If you keep in mind the do’s we’ve discussed, and avoid the don’ts, you’ll be achieving recruitment success in no time.

You CAN Make Recruitment Agency Marketing Videos In-house – Part Two

Marketing VideoIn the second of a series of blogs looking at how to produce high-quality recruitment agency marketing videos in-house, Shane Wheeler, Marketing Communications Executive, Adapt focuses on setting-up video kit for the best results and shares his techniques for conducting interviews with company spokespeople which effectively deliver the message in the final video.

The Middle: Production

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end.  In this ‘middle’ blog about telling your story, I share my advice for one of the main elements of marketing videos: recording interviews – either with your own company spokespeople or testimonials from your clients.

Miss the beginning?  Find out how to select your video recording kit here.

Planning for the interview

As the adage goes, ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’.  Don’t expect your interviewee to just start talking and instantly deliver all the information you need.  They will have the knowledge, but when put on the spot, especially in front of a camera, they may well clam-up or ramble.  Don’t just say ‘Go’. 

Write a good list of questions and remember, they’re only jumping-off points.  Be mindful of the angle of your video – this will come into play more as you conduct the interview, but it doesn’t hurt to include some questions which will gently lead your interviewee towards the great promo soundbites you’re ultimately after.

Recording the interview

It’s great to have an assistant throughout the shoot if possible – to help carry the kit, keep the interviewee ‘warm’ while you set-up and keep an eye on the kit while it’s actually recording…and quickly respond if something unexpectedly stops recording (which can happen – batteries run out, file size limits are reached and so on).  For this blog, I’ll proceed as though you’re conducting the video shoot single-handedly, just in case having an assistant isn’t possible.

Set-up time!

If possible, arrive early to assess the room and set-up the kit – and be sure to have back-up power cables, batteries and memory cards with you.

What’s in the room?  Where are the desks and chairs positioned?  What makes for the best background?  Can these elements be adjusted? 

Set-up the tripod and camera and frame the shot as best you can without the interviewee being there.  Avoid positioning the camera too close to the interviewee, it can be distracting for them.  When possible, set-up the camera further away and zoom in – this will also help soften the focus on less interesting backgrounds and sharpen it on your subject.

To compose a pleasing shot of your interviewee, set the camera at their eye-level and position them on the left or right of frame, first with the top of their head touching the top of frame and their shoulder touching the side of frame, then add a bit of room by zooming-out or slightly re-framing.  It’s helpful to watch interviews on TV and YouTube to get some more ideas, and a quick Google image search on ‘Rule of Thirds Interview’ will give you some great examples to follow. 

It’s best to have your subject looking into the space in the frame, so looking frame-right if they’re sitting frame left and vice-versa.  This rule can be broken for effect, but be careful, the ‘feel’ of the shot and interview can change dramatically.  If your interviewee is frame left, you should sit just to the right of the camera so they’re looking in the right direction for the shot (and you should sit just to the left of the camera if your interviewee is frame right).

Camera settings – what are they all about?

[tweet_box design=”box_01″ float=”none”]To quickly get good quality shots, there’s no shame in using the camera’s auto-exposure settings.[/tweet_box]If you only have half an hour to record an interview with your company owner or a client giving a testimonial, there’s precious little time to ‘faff’ with manual settings.  Even if you’re confident with manual, you might find yourself endlessly tweaking to get the most beautiful shot and become distracted from the content of the interview.

Having selected auto-exposure (or set the exposure manually), when your camera has an auto-focus option, my advice is to test how well it works.  Some deliver slick, natural auto-focus and some take their time ‘hunting’ for the focus, meaning the subject you’re filming will go in and out of focus for a second or two while the camera makes up its mind.  If in doubt, especially if your subject is sitting or standing still – set the focus manually on their eyes.  You can do this in your final framed shot or, even better, zoom-in and focus on the ‘glint’ in their eye then zoom back out again. 

Even when everything is set to auto and you’re good to go, I strongly advise setting one thing manually – white balance.  Depending on the light in the room, the auto white balance will often deliver odd results, like tinting the whole picture blue. When you’re all set to shoot, hold a piece of white paper up to the lens, filling the frame, and press the white balance button (typically, you hold the button down until the icon stops flashing).  The camera then knows what white actually is in that environment and sets all the other colours and tones accordingly.  Voila!  More natural, life-like images. 

Conducting the interview

Put your interviewee at ease, make sure they’re comfortable and have something to drink.   Don’t be afraid to ask them to sit up, straighten their tie, or put rogue hairs back into place – this might be awkward, but they will appreciate looking their best in the video when they see it – and it’s all care and attention to help them feel special as the interviewee.

[tweet_box design=”box_01″ float=”none”]Reassure your interviewee that if they ‘fluff’, no-one will see it but you – and you will edit it out.[/tweet_box] Multiple takes are fine.  Remind them to take their time, remember to take breaths and not to speak too quickly.

It’s tempting to ask your interviewee not to look at the camera (and later, the audience), but that can result in them thinking about looking at the camera and subconsciously doing it.  It works far better to maintain eye contact.  Good eye contact shows how interested you are in what they have to say and works better for the video.  That way, your interviewee isn’t looking at the camera and is looking into the right part of the frame.  If they do look away from you (too much) or at the camera, gently ask them to “Please look at me, it’s best for the video”.

Ask your interviewee to repeat the question as part of their answer, then you can have crisp soundbites and avoid having to add question graphics which may take the viewer out of the video.  For example, if your question is “How do you guarantee a perfect job and candidate match?” have them respond along the lines of “We guarantee a perfect job and candidate match by ensuring we always…”

Roll camera and sound!  Then double-check they’re definitely rolling…it’s much worse to find out later if you’ve missed something.

Ask your first question and listen to the answer – it’s easy to be distracted by all the video hubbub, but if you listen carefully, you can probe deeper.  Ask further questions if they occur to you (and they should, because you’ve done your research!) – get all the knowledge they have on the subject.  If there are fluffs, do another take and let the interviewee know which parts you especially liked.  Remember the angle of your video and gently lead them in that direction.  Ask your next question and repeat as above. 

Wrap-up by asking their final thoughts on what you’ve just discussed.  Not a direct question as such, just their feelings on the whole issue.  Sometimes, the best soundbites come from this part.

Remember to thank them, and don’t just tell them it was great – pick your genuinely favourite parts to compliment them on.  They might start worrying about how the video is going to turn out, and it could be weeks before they see it, so don’t let any anxieties get in the way of recording another interview with this subject in the future.

Now you’ve recorded some great interviews, what’s next?  In Part Three, I’ll share my advice for editing the footage, adding graphics and music and sharing the final video with your audience.

Job Board Posting Top Tips – Part One

jobboardAs a result of new technology and the digitally connected world we live in, never has it been easier for recruiters and candidates to interact and engage with each other. Thanks to the diverse array of online job platforms and professional networks such as LinkedIn, the relationship between recruiters and candidates has fundamentally changed.

Unfortunately, whilst interacting with potential candidates has become easier and simpler, the recruiter’s agenda has become significantly more complex. There are now a number of potential channels to investigate to find the talent they’re looking for. Recruitment agencies need to diversify both their practice and perspective to ensure they find exactly who they need.

For candidates looking for a new job, a quick search on a job-board is most likely the first port of call. It’s here where recruiters can promote a new job vacancy, and candidates can find positions they would like to apply for. For a recruiter, deciding what services to use and how to get the best results can at times be a complicated process, and having so many channels at your disposal doesn’t always help. In order to alleviate those concerns, this two-part blog series will discuss the different elements of job board posting and highlight some top tips and best practices.

  1. Decide whether Industry Specific or Generic job boards suit your requirement(s)

When looking for potential candidates, it can be tempting to post a job advertisement on one of the most prominent job boards and leave it to operate. The problem with this approach is that you then end up with a wide spectrum of candidates – either qualified or unqualified.

Undoubtedly, generic job boards serve a purpose, however, if you’re looking for precise, high quality and targeted results in terms of your candidate pool, you’re better off taking the time to use an industry specific job board.

By using industry-specific job boards over generic job boards, you drastically improve your chances of getting to the right candidate, quicker. As a direct result of this, you can shorten your recruitment process significantly.

To learn more on how you can shorten and refine your recruitment process with smart strategies and renewed efficiency, click here.

  1. Choose the best job board for your agency/team

Choosing the right job board is crucial for hiring success, therefore it now becomes a question of what job board best fits your recruitment criteria.

The job board you choose will play an essential role in how your recruitment process unfolds. In order to determine which is the best fit for you, there are a number of questions you need to ask:

  • Reach / Activity / Traffic – Does the job board get used regularly and if so, how many people use it? Do they have detailed statistics on the amount of users?
  • Site Performance – How many people apply to the jobs featured on their site?
  • Testimonials – Do people advocate the site? Is it their ‘go-to’ resource?
  • Target Audience – Does the job board correlate with the industry you’re recruiting for?
  • General or Industry Specific – Are you looking for candidates with a particular specialisation, or are you trying to fill multiple roles across a wide spectrum?
  • Functionality / Account Management – Do these job boards offer any additional services or advanced job posting functions, such as the ability to define your keywords? A CV database? Candidate filtering?
  • Cost – Does the cost justify the service? Are you getting your money’s worth?
  • Popularity / Reputation – Does the job board attract new users on a regular basis and have they established themselves as a ‘go-to’ source?

Using these questions as a framework will allow you to determine which of the sites offer the most benefit, functionality and efficiency.

  1. Use measurement to determine value

So, you’ve decided on the job boards you want to utilise, now you need the analytics at your disposal to determine how efficient and productive the job board actually is.  

The most effective job-boards will offer you analytics and statistics on a number of variables, such as:

  • Applications received or per job – This is crucial for helping you determine how many people are actually interested in your job posting. It’s one thing receiving the number of views for your job post – but if you’re on an industry-specific job board yet no one is applying, you may want to rethink your job-posting format.
  • Views per job – If you’re able to accumulate views on your job, you can determine how many people are interested in that posting; combine this statistic with the amount of applications you receive and you’ll get an accurate representation of how effective the job board and job post really are.
  • Actual hires – Unless you’re directly responsible for the hiring aspect of the process, as a recruiter this can be complicated to determine. If your client is willing to divulge such information to you, you can correlate the statistics between the amount of views, the applications you’ve received per view – and how many of those applications have turned into actual hires. This is your bottom line.

Now that we’ve established the primary elements for your job board postings, you need to maximise your results. In part two of this blog, we’ll summarise how you can be sure you’re getting the best results from your job boards.