Dear Recruiters - A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Fri 8 July 2016

Fair warning: If recruiting talented employees, ages 18-34 doesn’t interest you, stop reading now.

Imagine standing in your favorite art museum. Bustling crowd. Color jumping out at you from every wall. Now, walk towards your favorite piece. Painting, sculpture, drawing—it doesn’t matter. Take it in. Breathe. Can you put your finger on what you’re feeling as you look at it? The thing that inspires such a strong response to a collection of colors and lines. Keeps you coming back time and time again. If you’re like me, you won’t be able to explain why it captures your heart. Speaks to you. All you know is that art, especially visual art, speaks a language all it’s own. It inspires. It engages.

Now, what does standing in front of Wheat Field with a Lark, painted by Vincent van Gogh over a century ago (and one of my personal favorites), have to do with recruiting the next generation of talent. Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. Bear with me. You see, when a Millennial like me decides it’s time to start the job hunt, the first place we’re going to research potential companies is social media. It’s in our blood. Our generational DNA. Now let’s say this Millennial is a Van Gogh enthusiast like me, and happens upon Company X’s Instagram profile. She sees a photo with a replica of Wheat Field with a Lark displayed in the office lobby. An immediate connection is sparked. Effective? Absolutely. And it doesn’t have to be art. Whether a candidate happens to connect with a photo of a company wine tasting, kite flying expedition, or bring your pet to work day, the result is the same. Connection.

My point is, if you want to make a connection with my generation, it needs to be visual.

It’s no secret that the single most important element of modern recruiting is social media. Instagram is the perfect stage for a social media masterpiece. In this case, it harnesses something that might mean nothing to most, but everything to the someone who is a perfect fit for your company.

As such, this mobile photo and video-sharing and social networking service should not be overlooked as an enhancement of the recruiting process. In fact, when mastered, Instagram is the most powerful means of attracting candidates, passive or otherwise. So, what sets it apart from the social media pack? Why is Instagram so special to the Millennial crowd? It’s simple, clean, and visual. Facebook is fairly outdated, stale, and spiritless. The same-old still life you’ve seen a hundred times. Twitter, while still relevant, can be highly disengaging. 140 characters just isn’t always a large enough canvas to snag attention and hold onto it. Instagram, on the other hand, speaks volumes with visuals, and much like art, it has an abstract sway over the way onlookers feel about the artist. In this case, the posting company. Even better, unlike other social media outlets, Instagram is less about inciting interaction and more about curating an image for the world to see—a gallery dedicated to displaying anything and everything. Smart companies choose to tailor their collection to reflect a fun, collaborative, and exciting culture. We love that. No matter the photo or video’s actual caption, if each photo says, “Look at us. We’re fun. We make work different. We are special,” viewers will feel something and want to see more.

Inspiration. Engagement. Success.

This pull to investigate images further is Instagram’s greatest asset as a recruitment tool. For starters, images and video have stopping power. Visual art, in general, has a unique way of making viewers pause, think, and prompt them to dig deeper. A visceral response. Undeniable. Uncontrollable. And the goal, after all, is to entice candidates to visit Company X’s profile. From here, candidates can transport themselves from an appealing image to Company X’s website. See an eye-grabbing image. Maybe like it. Click to the profile. Explore the full collection of images and videos. Click Company X’s website link in their user bio. Take an in-depth look at the culture that makes this place so special. Get to know them.

As you can see, Instagram, like most of social media, opens many doorways. It’s all about connecting candidates and culture. Lay this path of visual bread crumbs back to the source, people like me will flock to a company like teeming crowds gather round to experience a pièce de résistance.

Visuals inspire. Visuals engage. Visuals assure that nothing gets lost in translation. The age old saying stands true: A picture is worth a thousand words. (Well, on Instagram the caption cap is technically 2,200…but who’s counting.) The real question is—recruiters, what are you waiting for? Pull out your easels and get to work.