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Talent responds to authenticity in recruitment films

Mark Howarth 31 August 2018

Every company wants to attract the best and brightest.  Even in this age of artificial intelligence, people remain key in helping companies navigate a rapidly changing marketplace. 


But in this super competitive working world, where key skills are getting more scarce, how do you convince brilliant people to come and work at your organisation? How can you show them what makes you stand out from the crowd? What’s the secret ingredient to a truly engaging recruitment film? And with so many out there, how do you cut through the noise?     




The absolute key to creating a great recruitment film is to stay true to your brand. Those with more distinct personalities find this an easier ask.    


We reviewed a range of recruitment films to assess their ability to do this. And we found some impressive award-winning examples. We also asked ourselves ‘what’s missing?’ and ‘what’s next?’ in this space. The conclusion we came to is that the drive for authenticity needs to go further. In today’s world, an employee is at liberty to convey ‘warts and all’ stories of what its really like to work somewhere on platforms like Glassdoor. Organisations should be managing their employer reputations proactively. This is no longer about a white wash. It’s about being compelling and inspiring on the positive aspects of working for them, as well as being honest about the not-so-good and even the downright ugly.      


Air New Zealand’s recruitment film is full of emotion. 


A strong sense of pride radiates from the company’s real employees sharing their experiences of working for the company. They mention one or two negative aspects, such as 4am starts, but the focus is on the overwhelming positives, such as travelling the world. These day-to-day, authentic experiences fuel the audience's imagination of what it's like to work for the company. In reaction this this, we started to consider the tragi-comic stories that are the everyday reality of life as an air steward (rescuing a small child that is irritating another passenger, handling panic attacks, finding abandoned objects under seats) and how these might be used to tell an unsung heroes-of-the-air type story.       


Harley Davidson’s behind-the-scenes film, an oldie but a goodie, is another example of a business using a genuine tone and strong sense of passion to draw potential recruits in.        


This passion can be heard in the voiceover and informal interviews with staff on the assembly floor. Its authenticity comes from their allowing us to peek under the hood of the company, showcasing the ethos and culture of the iconic brand. We also wondered: what happens when something in this amazing factory doesn’t quite go according to plan? Do the people with long beards and baseball caps ever lose their rag? And how do they work together as a team to address problems? We felt that lifting the veil on something like quality assurance and the role of talented people behind this iconic brand could only lend it credibility.     




A good use of humour makes your film memorable to talent, and is an excellent way to create authenticity in your film.      


It works in two ways – firstly, it allows the brand to convey a sense of confidence, even if that means poking fun at itself. Secondly, it surprises and delights candidates by showing a fun side to the company that they may not have been expecting, creating that ‘I want to work there!’ moment.  


NZ Police hits the nail on the head with this.  


With an aim to increase applications from a diverse recruitment pool, NZ Police set out to make a film that showed an inclusive and softer side to the police force, all wrapped up in New Zealand’s kiwi-branded humour. This film not only picked up two Cannes Lions for its success – but it served its purpose brilliantly, receiving a year’s worth of applicants in one month. It gained a 615% increase in diverse profiles, which included the largest intake in the number of female recruits, ever.     


However, should the not-so-soft side also deserve a mention? We’re sure they don’t want a group of applicants who think that NZ policework is all about helping grandads cross the road.   


Interactive video     


As technology advances, it brings with it more opportunity to create authentic films. It seems fitting that a brand like the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) took advantage of this in the creation of their interactive recruitment film: ‘The Most Interesting Job Interview’.       


ASIS (Australian Secret Agent Service)


It provides an insight into what will be expected of recruits, should they get past the selection process. The film transports the audience to potential scenarios in which they’ll need to stay focused and alert to their surroundings in order the complete the challenges, which are genuinely difficult. We thought this was a great effort achieved with some relatively low production values. But the lift/office/airport environments portrayed also felt a little polished compared to everyday reality. We felt it would have packed more punch if this hadn’t been so.      


Whether you’re using actual employee interviews, making audiences laugh or throwing them straight into the employee experience, there are many ways to create recruitment films that have a true ring of authenticity and get candidate application rates up.    


Talk to us at [email protected] and we’ll explore how, in a way that’s right for you, your brand and your people.