Only Video Applicants Need Apply

To find personable staff for a new campus branch, Listerhill asked applicants to submit videos that became a clever marketing tool.

When Listerhill Credit Union ($645.2M, Sheffield, AL) opened a campus branch at the University of North Alabama in 2010, the cooperative knew it needed a special kind of employee to attract members from the mobile generation. Affectionately known as The Hill, the branch already had the ambiance. Smack in the middle of the student commons and open on all sides, the branch is more student hangout than stuffy financial institution, complete with couches, a TV, a charging station, and an eating area.

Instead of ordinary tellers, a team of universal employees called financial gurus staff the student-run branch, which also has a manager. Like a credit union version of Apple store geniuses, gurus offer quick and easy expertise, doing anything for campus members that can be done at a regular branch, says Ann Davis, vice president of human resources at Listerhill.

But such a high-profile, front-line position also meant rethinking how students should apply for those jobs. Consequently, in addition to a standard resume, Listerhill asks applicants to submit a video application as well. The credit union even offers to help applicants put together the video portion of the application if necessary.

We were looking for a certain personality type, outgoing and easy to talk to, says Kristen Mashburn, vice president of marketing at Listerhill. It’s easier to see that on video.

Video Applications With Style

The videos show tons of personality and are downright clever, with most taking a page out of Saturday Night Live using songs, spoofs, and skits. One video applicant even posed as a caped superheroine–Listergirl–offering her services to the credit union so that together they can save the world from bank fees.

The idea to use video applications came from the Young Free program, an organization that 31 youth-friendly credit unions from the United States and Canada help sponser. Each credit union in the program has a spokester, who represents the young people in that cooperative’s state.

In 2009, when Listerhill served as Alabama’s Young Free credit union, it started accepting video applications from 18-to-25-year-olds who wanted to be the spokester. Chris Anderson submitted the winning video application, complete with a catchy tune that he co-wrote and helped sing, to become spokester for Listerhill’s Young Free campaign. After graduation, Anderson joined the credit union’s marketing department and now works as marketing manager for Listerhill.

After the success of the Young Free application process, Listerhill decided to use the same tactic in 2010 to find staff for its new on-campus branch, and Anderson, who by then had become part of the Listerhill marketing team, made a video to launch the financial guru search. He even gave applicants tips, suggesting they make the video entertaining and just have a good time with it.

A Built-In Marketing Tool

There was an added benefit of collection video applications–free marketing. Because students shared their application videos with friends and family, Listerhill became the beneficiary of a waterfall of good publicity. Those video applications helped promote Listerhill’s new presence on campus.

We wanted to do something that would build recognition, Mashburn says. Something that would be interesting and get students involved.

The videos were the perfect tool, simultaneously bringing quality applicants while announcing to everyone else that Listerhill was opening a branch on campus. Meanwhile, the credit union made sure to get the word out that it was hiring.

We had flyers all over campus and signs. We went and talked to certain classes that we thought might be more interested in those types of positions, Mashburn says.

The credit union also gave out prizes, including an iPad for the job applicant whose video won the most votes on Listerhill’s website. The voting drove traffic to the site, bringing in even more attention to the soon to open branch.

Although the credit union doesn’t ask applicants for other positions to submit videos, the unusual application process for campus branch jobs certainly livened up things in human resources.

From an HR standpoint, it was innovative and it was fun, Davis says. When your main job is reading resumes all day long, this was a fantastic change.

Now in its fourth year, the campus branch is graduating its first batch of four year employees who started as freshman in 2010.

June 2, 2014

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