CDW Gets IT with Realistic Job Previews

August 31st, 2017
Jared Bazzell & Cassie Floersch, CDW
Video Interviewing

Between YouTube, Facebook Live, Snapchat, and others, video has emerged as the medium of choice for nearly every form of online communication. As of 2016, video content accounted for 73% of internet traffic, up from 64% in 2014.

It is up to modern talent acquisition to meet candidates where they are. Video previews, job descriptions, and coworker testimonials are key to engaging today’s candidate: 76% of consumers list video as their preferred medium for consuming brand information.

You Don’t Need a Production Team to Create Relevant Video

Many organizations assume that a stellar (and expensive) video production team is necessary for creating candidate-friendly video content. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, we’ve seen that low-budget, employee-created video can create a level of authenticity that high budget video does not. Overly polished video can sometimes come across as overproduced, corporate propaganda; and many candidates become skeptical when all they see are flashy graphics, superb acting, and perfect teeth.

We put this theory into practice for two of our summer internships. As we’ll show, a limited video budget is no excuse for dismissing a video-centric candidate experience. 

Building a Brand on Campus

At CDW, we offer a few different internship programs. As a leading B2B technology solutions provider with nearly $15 billion in revenue and more than 8,800 coworkers worldwide, most college students are more familiar with our more than 1,100 technology partners than they are with CDW.

This puts the impetus on us, as talent acquisition, to build a brand students on campus recognize.

Authenticity is the Best Brand Builder

When we set out to bolster our brand on campus, we started with our strong suit: authenticity. Our reputation among current and past coworkers is stellar. Our internship programs carry a rating of 4.9/5.0 on Glassdoor.

Our challenge was to convey that internal excitement and pride to external candidates. 

The solution? Video job previews, recorded by current interns, shown before every HireVue OnDemand interview. 

Our strategy when making these videos was threefold:

  1. Provide a realistic preview of the job. We want candidates to have an accurate understanding of what the role is and what will be expected of them, beyond the job description. 
  2. Give candidates a glimpse into our company culture. Our videos are authentic. The CDW coworkers featured are real coworkers who want to demonstrate what CDW is all about and share their experiences with their potential coworkers.
  3. Make the candidate comfortable. Our casual approach is intentional - it allows us to connect with our audience. We want our interviewees to relax, not to stress, and have a successful interview experience. Our informal approach helps candidates calm the nerves they typically have before an interview.

We also employ video in the actual interview. Candidates are given much more than a text prompt - our recruiters and hiring managers record themselves asking the questions, as well as a brief introduction. Candidates are able to personally connect with our recruiters and hiring managers from the start. 

This results in a better live interview experience, too. Many candidates are pleasantly surprised to see they’ll be interviewing with the same recruiter who asked the questions in the OnDemand.

CDW's dedication to providing candidates with an authentic view of our culture has also helped us earn a spot on Glassdoor's list of "Best Places to Interview" for the past two years.

Getting Coworkers on Board

Encouraging current coworkers to film themselves might seem like a difficult task, but it is not.

As it happens, receiving quality recorded submissions from coworkers is self-fulfilling: the most motivated and passionate coworkers will be the first to record themselves, and these are the responses you want anyway.

When we invited our Campus Interns to record themselves, we included a short document detailing some best practices. These included:

  • Have a friend record you (rather than propping up your phone on a desk).
  • Record yourself in a setting that is relatable to the job (in front of a well-known campus building is great).
  • Good lighting is critical.
  • Dress in business casual.

They were then prompted to respond to the following four job-related questions:

  1. What does CDW do?
  2. My favorite thing about interning for CDW is…
  3. My typical day as an intern is…
  4. The professional skills I’ve gained are...

After recording their responses, interns simply uploaded their video(s) to a shared drive, where we reviewed and selected the best submissions.

Implementing Realistic Video Previews and Coworker Testimonials

The feedback we’ve received from showcasing the experiences of our current coworkers has been overwhelmingly positive.

Any TA department looking to boost their employer brand should provide an authentic view of its job offerings, current coworkers, and coworker experience. When building out your own realistic job previews, keep these five guidelines in mind:

  1. Put it in the hands of your coworkers. The most passionate, motivated coworkers will be the first to share their experiences. These are the stories you want to share with candidates.
  2. Make it easy for coworkers to share their story. Provide tips for coworkers to follow when recording themselves. Include a dress code, lighting instructions, and general video-taking tips, as well as the questions you want them to answer.
  3. Don’t overthink it. You get authenticity by embracing what comes naturally. Don’t be intimidated by competitors with large video production budgets. Many TA departments end up spinning their wheels in the “idea” stage.
  4. Get the most out of your video. Once you’ve built a coworker-centric video, you’re sitting on a branding goldmine. Don’t be afraid to repurpose the content on other channels and platforms: host it on your careers site, share it across social media, and encourage featured coworkers to share it with their networks.

All in all, CDW’s internship programs have grown exponentially over the past two years. Attracting high performing talent is key to our strategy, and our coworker-driven videos demonstrate a level of transparency absent in other internship programs. 

"I am beyond honored to have finally made it! Before I begin I would like to thank you sincerely for your efforts and help while guiding me through not just one, but both processes. You’ve made both processes smooth, clear, and easy for a busy college student and with that I give great thanks." - CDW Summer Sales Intern Candidate

About the Authors:

Jared Bazzell.jpgJared Bazzell is a Talent Acquisition Leader with CDW. As the head of CDW’s University Relations and Campus Recruiting Team, Jared drives the strategy and vision necessary to attract top collegiate talent. Innovation through the use of performance based data analytics and technology continue to be key focus areas for CDW’s evolving recruiting strategy in 2017 and beyond. Find him on LinkedIn.  




Cassie Floersch.jpgCassie Floersch is a Internship Program Specialist at CDW. She is responsible for the coordination of CDW’s more than 150 interns across our Summer and Campus Internship Programs. CDW’s focus on early talent identification enables pipeline development and fostering of future coworkers for a growing Fortune 200 technology solutions provider. Find her on LinkedIn.