James Marable Interview

How to Use Video in Your Employer Branding Strategy: An Interview with James Marable of Eli Lilly & Company

James Marable is an Employer Brand Leader at Eli Lilly and Company, a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis. With over a decade of marketing experience, he’ll be presenting at this February’s Talent Acquisition Week virtual conference.

His session, “Utilize Video to Demonstrate a Changing Environment to Actively Engage Talent,” will teach attendees how to connect with incoming and current talent during a time when most people are still working remote.

James took the time to answer a few questions I had about how to showcase your organization’s culture through video, as well as other thoughts on employer branding during a pandemic.

How have you kept a focus on collaboration and creativity while working remote, especially when it comes to video creation?

Collaboration was already a huge part of Lilly culture, but due to COVID the majority of our workforce has been remote (since week 2 of March 2020). Since going remote it’s become even more important to connect as much as possible to keep lines of communication open and to build trust especially for our new hires. As an organization we have been able to stay connected through leveraging the technology that we’ve invested in over the years, including video conferencing, cloud collaboration and storage tools, as well as regular communication with leaders and peers.

Can you walk us through last spring? How did your team react to the impact of COVID on recruiting and what changes did you make?

My last day in the office was March 6, 2020. The following week there was a lot of uncertainty as to what our company would do, but our CEO Dave Ricks stepped up and charted our direction as an organization. He assured us that we would be supported, and he has kept his word!

From a personal standpoint I was already working a pseudo-remote schedule as I would work from my home in Cincinnati 75% of the time and in the office in Indianapolis 25% of the time, so I wouldn’t say I had to change a lot about how I work; however, the majority of our company worked from our office so there was sort of a learning curve for a lot of our associates.

I made it my mission to help as many people feel comfortable with our remote setup as possible. Hosting virtual 1:1s, training colleagues on best remote working practices, hosting weekly small team video calls and bi-weekly broader team calls to check in on everyone’s well-being as well as their productivity. By connecting with colleagues as much as possible and making sure everyone is comfortable, our productivity never missed a beat!

Do you have any advice to share for those in employer branding who may be struggling to get stakeholder buy-in on video and social media?

First things first, you must establish yourself as an expert and build a strong rapport with your leader and potentially your leader’s leader. From there I would stress that video and social are the most effective means of communication in our world currently and the best way to get your point across. Candidates have an unprecedented level of choice when it comes to selecting employers, and video allows you to share your story in a way that will connect emotionally with your target audience and social media allows you to cast a wide net and/or target specific groups with real-time analytics (no other medium allows you to see your direct impact unfiltered by an agency).

[Read More: 13 Social Media Video Content Examples]

Tell us three of the most important things to keep in mind when creating an engaging virtual experience for new talent.

  1. Understand who your ideal candidate is
  2. Understand how you want to make the candidate feel and actions to take
  3. Make sure the content hits on points that connect with your ideal candidate

What is a social media campaign you’ve executed that you’re most proud of and why?

My Latinx Experience @ Lilly Video series is my favorite as we were able to tell the stories of individuals from an underserved population in our country who have grown to be leaders in their fields. These stories connected with the Latinx community, but it also spoke to all persons seeking an organization that encourages individuals to bring their whole self to work and not be required to be someone else in order to grow.

What do you wish you knew when you first started in recruiting and employer branding?

I came from a marketing background so EB was a natural fit. What I didn’t know about was recruiting. However, as I learned more (my director in my first EB job in 2013 made me source candidates exclusively for my first month) I realized that Recruiting is to EB as Sales is to Marketing. As EB professionals our job is to create content and vehicles for our recruiters to “sell” our jobs. With that said it’s super important to connect with your recruiters as much as possible, understand their role and what they need to reach their goals, then create the content and show them how to best leverage it.

When walking into my first EB role I didn’t realize how much educating I’d have to do. To have a successful Employer Brand you need the whole TA team and eventually the whole organization to share your content so you can’t be afraid to jump in front of an audience to teach them how to share your message.

[Read More: How Your Content Marketing Supports Your Employer Branding]

Do you have any predictions on what channels or tactics will be most successful in 2021?

It’s all in the air right now, but video and social will be driving the boat!

After a year like 2020, how would you define company culture?


Catch James at Talent Acquisition Week online from January 25-29, 2021

Follow James: LinkedIn

Follow Eli Lilly and Company: LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube

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