Recruiting in the accounting profession is more competitive than ever. The market is tough, and we are all looking for a silver bullet to help our efforts. Incorporating video into your recruiting efforts may not be the end-all answer, but it sure can make you stand out from your competitors when done well.
In 2021, video content continued to be the most successful type of content marketing. It even outpaced podcasts and webinars, which is where the market shifted during the pandemic, by as much as 300%. To be successful, video content must be creative, short, and impactful. No one wants to see the long-format standard corporate video. Video must also be memorable, and the targeted audience must immediately associate it with your firm in order to make the recruiting connection. For example, when we see a guy in a red shirt named Jake, we know it’s a State Farm ad. When we hear “a 15-minute phone call can save you 15% or more,” we know it’s GEICO.
Your firm’s culture is often its greatest selling point. Accounting work is pretty much the same across the board, and salaries and benefits can be negotiated. But who your company is and what it stands for is baked in its DNA – it does not change. Focus on the best parts of your firm’s culture – the key differentiators from others – and promote it as an asset. In the social media and streaming age, video content has taken on a new role in recruiting by highlighting the best parts of a firm’s culture. People want to work where they are valued and can be their authentic selves, and your firm must convey that you are the place for them. Through video content, audiences can quickly tell the authentic from the staged, so be as authentic as possible.
Digital options make creating these videos more affordable, and multiple platforms for delivery, such as social media, YouTube, websites, and streaming services, make it easier to reach targeted candidates. My previous firm’s annual video projects were known throughout the region and profession as demonstrating our firm’s sense of having fun. Our themes were timely (like a take on Game of Thrones around the show’s last season) and/or regionally familiar (like our Fresh Prince of Bel-Air-style video) to our targeted college and university students. We made sure to include our interns because we knew they would share the video with their classmates, further driving our message as a fun place to work to more accounting candidates.
The content was repurposed and edited to different lengths to accommodate the various social platforms, including LinkedIn for experienced-hire recruiting. When we visited campuses in the region, we were surprised by the number of students, faculty, and staff who recognized our firm from the videos. We were branded as the accounting firm with the great workplace culture.
So, what was the formula that worked for us? I believe there were six factors that made our video content work so well:
1. TIMING. We selected a specific time for launching videos that aligned with the recruiting calendar, a local news cycle, or other related event. After a few videos, people were used to seeing them at certain times of year and anticipated their debut.
2. PROMOTE YOUR DIFFERENTIATING ASSET. As mentioned above, your firm’s culture is often its best asset for recruiting. What is best about your firm? Is it the people, the work, the clients, the parties, and/or the travel? Whatever it is, showcase it in your videos and be known for that one thing. Candidates who share that passion will be attracted to your firm and will be more likely to stay once hired.
3. GET THE FIRM INVOLVED. At our height, we had 105 people, each with their own network on social media. We had our most animated people participate in the videos by having them write scripts, do set design and make-up, and star in the videos. We also created “click & share” emails for them to easily share our video content, which dramatically increased its reach. The point is they were vested and were, therefore, more likely to share the content.
4. CHOOSE THEMES THAT CONNECT. We were a Philadelphia-based firm, so our locally familiar themes were parodies on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Rocky, and the Eagles Super Bowl Win. We also capitalized on hit TV shows like Game of Thrones and, The Walking Dead by releasing our similarly-themed videos on their season premier dates. Our audience connected with these themes because they were familiar or the hot topics of the day.
5. INCLUDE THE TARGETED AUDIENCE. In every one of our videos, we had the college accounting student in mind as the primary target audience. We timed the filming of our videos to begin when our interns started, and we gave them starring roles. Ambitious accounting students know other ambitious accounting students, and they all share their intern experience. Their experience with us was quite unique because of the video projects. We also filmed some videos at the college campuses. Again, this made for a familiar setting and made students more likely to view, like, and share our content.
6. SHARE ON MULTIPLE PLATFORMS. This almost goes without saying, but just placing the video on your website’s career page and hoping candidates stumble upon it is not maximizing its impact. You need to adjust the video’s length and focal points to fit on different social and digital platforms. Create a trackable campaign so you can see which platforms perform the best and adjust in accordance with the campaign results.
When competing for talent with firms that have more resources, you must get creative to stand out. With filming apps available for your cell phone, quality video production is at your fingertips, and it is a viable alternative to a third-party video company. Create interesting content that accurately promotes the parts of your firm that appeals to candidates, and they will notice you.
About Eric Elmore
Eric R. Elmore is the marketing and brand manager for Drucker & Scaccetti, a tax-focused accounting firm, in Philadelphia. He has more than 20 years of experience working with professional service firms helping them communicate to the world who they are, what they do and why it is of value to targeted audiences.