By Doug Gritzmacher
Creative Director, Z-Channel Films, Denver, Colorado
This year we had the pleasure of working with FirstBank to create a recruitment video. FirstBank is a business based in Denver and is the second largest bank in Colorado. That’s something most people might know.
What most people may not know is that FirstBank is also one of the most charitable corporations in Colorado. They encourage staff to get involved with their community by providing them with paid leave to participate in events like Colorado Gives Day, or helping to clean up a community center, or helping out at a pet adoption event. That’s a pretty nice perk. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg for FirstBank. FirstBank recently remodeled their headquarters in Lakewood to include a full-size workout facility, game room, rooftop deck, and cafeteria. Employees love working their for the family-type environment.
I was working directly with a public relations executive at FirstBank and these were all things she wanted to be able to highlight in the video. Having a discussion with our video production client and listening to their needs and goals for their business is the first step in my video production process. The next step is developing a story and structure and settling on a style.
In formulating my approach, I knew I couldn’t lose sight of the bigger picture, which was the video ultimately needed to attract new talent. I could include all the cool things about working at FirstBank I wanted, but if the video didn’t succeed in motivating people to want to work there, it wasn’t doing the job my client needed it to do. So what style of video was going to be the best way to accomplish my client’s business goals?
When beginning any production like this I like to look at examples of how others have tackled similar topics. It’s akin to a designer creating a mood wall. When it comes to corporate recruitment videos, there are no shortage of styles. It’s an area especially ripe for pushing the envelope and some businesses have run wild with creativity to out-cool their competitors. This recruitment video for Shopify is a perfect example of this approach:
The approach here is tongue-in-cheek, reminiscent of The Office with a few other styles thrown in. I chuckled few times but does it make me want to work there? Not really. The acting is pretty stiff. The production values are low-grade. These detract from the luster they seem to be trying to create. If you’re a professional organization then as a viewer I want to feel like your environment and approach are professional. This video doesn’t do that for me.
Here’s a recruitment video for Apple.
This is a lot more slick than the Shopify video, as you might expect from Apple. The production values are much better and professional feeling. It uses a little bit of a documentary style approach with more formal interview setups, which bugs me. I prefer one style or the other because they have very different feels and when put together I think they just end up stepping on each other. What about the message? We get a few interesting stories on how employees contributed to some of their well-known products but I don’t really learn anything that isn’t already fairly common knowledge about what employees at Apple do. I also don’t get a feel for what the interpersonal environment is like. It’s nice I’d get to work on cool products but I don’t learn what it actually feels like to work there and with those people. Still, it’s getting warmer.
Let’s try this one for Starbucks.
Compared to the previous two videos this feels like a breath of fresh air. The pace is snappy and keeps me engaged. The production value is professional without being stiff. I feel like I get to hear a lot of different voices about why people like working there, what it’s like to work with your superiors, and cool things to do around Seattle outside the office. I even get reassured that if I move there without knowing anybody I can make friends easily with my coworkers. If I’m looking for a job there’s a lot for me to like here and I don’t even drink coffee.
Above all what this video production has that the previous two lacked is a feeling of authenticity.
Authenticity is a big deal for us at Z-Channel Films. It informs how we represent ourselves, how we relate to our clients, and is reflected in our products, the videos themselves. Authenticity is how you build trust. There’s a lot you can accomplish just by establishing that alone.
With that in mind we settled on an approach for FirstBank’s recruitment video that more closely resembled Starbucks‘ style than the styles used by Apple and Shopify. To gain a feeling of authenticity we chose a documentary style approach with high production value. The latter would convey professionalism. Then we selected nine current FirstBank employees across a range of departments and levels that we would interview to gain a cross-section of experiences. Including multiple points of view also adds to a feeling of authenticity.
We also wanted to include FirstBank’s CEO. Workplace culture is set from the top down. And the CEO here leads by example: He’s interested and involved in his employees lives, cares about their well-being and health, and enjoys spending time outside of his office and with his staff, whether it is at a gym class or hula-hooping at a company BBQ. He also encourages employees to come to him with ideas no matter which rung on the ladder they might be on.
It was important to us, too, to be able to get inside the everyday working environment at FirstBank. We wanted to see current employees at work. So we shadowed each of our nine interviewees through various portions of their day to document what it was like to work there from the inside out. When you are able to do this it conveys you have nothing to hide, which further adds to a feeling of authenticity.
We also followed our subjects away from their desks so we could show off the perks—cafeteria, gym, volunteering, etc. In the course of the filming I came away personally impressed with FirstBank and began to think of people who I might suggest the company to as an employment option to consider. If I could convey what I was personally feeling in the video, then I would be game ahead.
The video at top of this page is the final result. We had fantastic cooperation and help from everyone at FirstBank that was involved in the project and they were very happy with the video. And they should be. They committed more resources to the project than other businesses may willing to, which only reinforces how seriously they take the employee experience at FirstBank.
For more information about our business recruitment video services check out our Denver corporate video production services page.