Employers say that the written word can only tell them so much about what a candidate is really like — so a growing number of firms are experimenting with video CVs and applications as a recruitment tool. But are they presenting an opportunity for you to shine – or are video CVs and applications an unnecessary ‘trick’ you resent having to perform?

Some graduates welcome the chance to use moving footage to stand out from the crowd, and say it’s no more demanding than the in-person interview you’ll have to do if you get through the application stage (plus, at least you get the chance to edit any mistakes!).

Meanwhile, others feel it turns recruitment into an ‘audition’, and is part of an ‘X Factor-isation’ of graduate recruitment. They note that video CVs are more likely to be used at the junior end of the pay scale (chief execs don’t get asked to do a video CV, do they?).

This year is the first time advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather Group UK has used video for recruiting graduates to their Ogilvy Fellowship scheme (Quick! Applications close this weekend!). Graduate Fog spoke to Rhiannon Lewis, Manager, Emerging Talent, at Ogilvy & Mather Group UK about the reasons behind the firm’s decision to include a video element in their graduate application process. She also gave us some must-read tips for anyone who’s thinking of applying…

Ogilvy Account Management Fellowship

Graduate Fog: Why have you decided to use video when recruiting for graduates — and what exactly are you asking applicants to do?

Rhiannon Lewis, Ogilvy: “The format we usually take with our applicants is to ask them a personality question, a brand question and a strategy question. We decided this year to ask them to answer the brand element via video.

“More and more content is being made and watched online, it’s a medium that is very familiar to most young adults. We are always looking at new ways to engage talent and are open to trialling new ways of doing this.”

What are the advantages of using an element of video in a job application, for both employers and candidates?

“For employers, it allows us to see how applicants come across in person, as well as how clear and concise they are in their spoken answers. The Account Management area of Advertising (which our scheme is centred around) is about communicating, presenting and pitching ideas to clients; so it’s important that individuals can verbally express themselves.

“For applicants, the video question adds an element of creativity and personality to the process. It’s a chance to express themselves in a way that a written answer couldn’t. It also gives those who are more creatively minded the chance to really shine.”

Ogilvy Logo

Some graduates feel uncomfortable about video, which can feel more like an actor’s show reel. What do you say to concerns that they are being asked to ‘audition’ for jobs?

“That’s understandable, especially as the recruitment process for most grad schemes is fairly tough as it is.

“Our Fellowship scheme is about finding, developing and nurturing our stars of the future. We are definitely not expecting applicants to be polished, accomplished presenters. We just want to see that they are, at this stage, comfortable communicating their thoughts on a subject (in our case a brand they love).”

What is the number one thing you look for when recruiting for the Ogilvy Fellowship scheme?

“We are always looking for great storytellers, so try to incorporate an element of storytelling into your answers. Stories not only allow you to capture the audience’s attention, but they also make it more likely that they will remember what you are telling them.

“For the written elements of the application, remember to write as you would speak. Try and write it as if you are having a conversation, having just met the reader for the first time. Authenticity is a characteristic that we value highly at Ogilvy, so try to convey your most authentic self, especially in any ‘tell us about you’/personality type questions.

“Finally, check through your application several times once you’ve finished. Then, give it to somebody else to check. Ask them to check for flow, construction and layout. Take any feedback they have.”

Any other tips for graduates applying to for the Ogilvy Fellowship scheme?

“Advertising is all about ideas; we are nothing without our people and their ideas. We are always keen to find people from different backgrounds, from all walks of life, whose life experiences are varied and diverse.

“An entrepreneurial spirit and a go-getting mentality is also very important. We are less focused on academic achievement, especially if applicants can show how they have excelled in other areas.”

There’s still time – applications for the Ogilvy Fellowship scheme close this weekend! Click here for more information

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