Worldwide Sports Leader ESPN Keeps Candidate Connections Strong Through Video Interviewing

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If you’re a sports fan, you’re familiar with ESPN. With eight domestic television networks, 24 wholly or partially-owned international TV networks, the largest sports radio network and popular websites, ESPN is everywhere. The company enjoys a strong, healthy brand that brings out the passion in its fans. While this might ensure a deluge of candidates for open positions, it can make it challenging to efficiently separate qualified candidates from the rest. A multitude of loving fans means that ESPN also knows the importance of its candidate experience. With limited job openings, most candidates won’t receive an offer, but everyone must walk away continuing to be a fan of the brand.

"The partnership we have with Montage has really helped. Our job at ESPN is to connect with sports fans, our job in talent acquisition is to connect with the candidates, and I think this is just a fantastic way to do that.”
- Brian Morton, Manager of Talent Acquisition at ESPN

Business Concern

In order to stay ahead in an ever-changing sports marketplace, ESPN launched a program designed to attract, recruit and retain diverse talent - ESPN The Fellowship. Targeting college graduates with less than five years of experience, this program will offer two candidates an intense 24-month fellowship, exposing them to writing, anchoring, interviewing and studio production. Normally, on-air positions are the responsibility of the talent department, which operates separately from human resources. However, knowing the amount of interest that such a unique opportunity would likely drive, as well as the importance of creating the right application experience, the ESPN team knew it would have to approach this fellowship differently.

The team needed to address these critical issues:

  • Ensure the application process reflects the brand
  • Create a streamlined, efficient way to review candidate submissions
  • Engage candidates throughout the process, so that all candidates stay fans

Strategy

“This was a unique opportunity, and we knew we needed to reinvent the way we were looking at it,” said Brian Morton, manager of talent acquisition for ESPN. Having used Montage live video interviewing for the past two years at ESPN and at parent company Disney, the company was already familiar with the benefits offered by the technology. This time, ESPN utilized Montage on-demand video interviewing to create a unique application process. Candidates were asked to complete a number of tasks, including writing their own commentary and creating a highlight reel. “This allowed us to get an idea of who they are, how creative they are, how passionate they are about sports and how well they can articulate that and engage the viewers,” said Morton.

"This allowed us to get an idea of who they are, how creative they are, how passionate they are about sports and how well they can articulate that and engage the viewers."
- Brian Morton, Manager of Talent Acquisition at ESPN 

 

Montage Results

Montage’s video interviewing solution has helped ESPN generate strategic results:

  • Within a month, received 600 applications from 53 countries
  • Gained significant operational efficiencies
  • Established strong connections between the brand and candidates
In its first month, the program received 600 applicants from 53 countries. According to Morton, reviewing the candidate submissions was an extraordinary experience, since it was clear how much the opportunity to work at ESPN meant to each person. By following the process developed with Montage, the team quickly narrowed the submissions to the top 200 candidates, gaining significant operational efficiencies along the way. “You hear a lot about operational efficiency, everyone is striving for that,” said Morton, “I think that’s helped us significantly.” With a brand as powerful and well-known as ESPN, engaging with candidates is vital. Branded content and landing pages helped bridge the connection between the applicant and the organization. “The partnership we have with Montage has really helped,” said Morton. “Our job at ESPN is to connect with sports fans, our job in talent acquisition is to connect with the candidates, and I think this is just a fantastic way to do that.”

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