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Video Recruiting: a “Wave of the Future”

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If you’re still trying to recruit techs with “Leave It To Beaver” methods in a YouTube world, chances increase that the nation’s autobody labor shortage will get the best of you, says author and automotive industry consultant Bob Losyk.

Instead, says Losyk, more body shops should get their hiring message out in a way that hits Generations X and Y where they live—through cost-effective, easy-to-produce, cutting-edge Web recruitment videos that show what it would really be like to work at your business.
“It’s a whole different thing than seeing an ad in the paper,” says Losyk, the North Carolina-based author of the book, “Managing a Changing Workforce.”

“Young people want to see real people giving them a realistic job preview, warts and all, and the slick, perfect images won’t work. I’m talking about something like MTV’s ‘Real World’ meets corporate America, where some company isn’t delivering some highly produced message, and, instead, the employees themselves are delivering their own message about what it would be like to work there.”

Realism is especially important to those poised to enter the autobody industry, adds Losyk, who also cites a wealth of research showing that, A—Gen X and Gen Y look first to the Web when they need information; B—cutting-edge workplace technology is high on their job-search wish list; and C—they also want to work at places where there are co-workers in their age group.

YouTube-style recruitment videos fit the bill on all counts, Losyk points out, which explains why such Web employment powerhouses as Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com are now allowing employers to create videos to include with their online recruitment ads.

Search-engine powerhouse Google also has a video on YouTube about what it’s like to work there; Home Depot and Enterprise Rent A-Car have videos on their Web sites featuring real-life shots of various work positions in action; and even staid accounting giant Ernst and Young, which is already established on Facebook, has interns creating video blogs to share their experiences on the job.

“I predict that this will be a big wave of the future for the collision repair industry,” says Losyk. “It’s easy to do, and the challenge is not to create the polished corporate production that today’s young people can see right through. Instead, the trick is to have employees use their creativity to produce videos that really appeal to other young people.”

IN-HOUSE OR OUTSOURCED?

A particularly tech-savvy employee might be able to produce and possibly post those videos in-house, but you’re likely better off outsourcing at least some of the job to a young professional, particularly if, as Losyk recommends, you make cutting-edge videos part of your shop’s Web site, in addition to your online recruitment ads.

“You’ll probably need to find some young tech wiz to do it for you,” Losyk explains. “I’m not necessarily talking about anyone who’s real splashy, either, although I do think it’s important to get three solid references from people they’ve done videos for—and I really believe three is important because, with anything less, they might be references from relatives or something.”

And the cost? “That’ll probably depend on a lot of things, but I can tell you that it’s not that expensive, especially when you consider the fact that the payoff will be much, much more than worth it,” Losyk says. “You can even put a job application on your Web site along with the video if you want to—actually, you could even put an IQ test or a personality test on your site with it if you wanted to.

“The point is that all this very effective cutting-edge technology is out there that’ll resonate with young people, but it’s not being utilized very much right now in collision repair. So, without hesitation, I would tell your readers that they need to be on things like MySpace, etc. and that if they don’t have that kind of presence, they’re kind of coming out of left field in terms of reaching Gen X and Gen Y. The faster you jump on this, the more you’ll be ahead of your competition.”

Losyk predicts that cutting edge recruitment videos will soon be part of such mainstream institutions as industry associations and tech-school autobody programs, which play a key role in autobody employment across the country.

Another benefit for individual shops, he adds, is the generation-gap improvement they’ll get from both including younger shop employees in the videos themselves and bringing in new blood when they prove to be effective.

“Shop owners and managers out there who are older than, say, 45, for example, might not be thinking about this as much as they should, but they need to get new blood into their shops to ensure the business’s future—and if you’re looking for new young people, well, you’ve got to show your coolness these days,” Losyk says. “Your regular Web site for your customers, for that matter, needs to be cool, too, for a lot of the same reasons.”

Losyk adds: “You need to start thinking of job recruitment this way: If somebody plugs ‘collision repair’ and ‘jobs’ into their Web search, how fast does your shop’s name come up, and what do people see about you when they find you? You really need to be among the first to get on that wavelength because, in this day and age, when it come to attracting the best young talent, that’s just the way things are done.”

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