Video Resumes: Getting Your Next Star Employee

by Michael Haberman on April 12, 2007 · 3 comments


I read an article today on the SHRM site today about VIDEO RESUMES . It talks about the increasing use of video to present a candidate and his/her qualifications. I think we are going to see more and more of this as Generation Y enters the workforce in greater numbers. It is not hard to see video on MySpace or even in blogs where something from YouTube has been inserted. People send video by phone all the time, with no other message attached. I get to see my granddaughter weekly by looking at my son’s MySpace page. So obviously there is value to the use of video, even beyond the ease of creating it.

What is this value? To the candidate it is a good way to get across their ability to speak well as they cover their background. For the employer you get to see this same ability. You can measure presentation skills. However, there is a downside as well. Not every resume will have the same production value. Not every position needs to have good presentation skills. Good “on camera” skills may mask a lack of other skills.

The article points out that HR professionals (and legal professionals) are torn. The naturally conservative types see the opportunity for descrimination on race, disability and “looks.” The less conservative see the opportunity to make decisions about candidates in situations where speaking ability, charisma and leadership potential are important.

So my questions for readers are:

  • How do feel?
  • Have you viewed one?
  • If yes, how was it received?
  • What do you see as the value?
  • What do you see as the pitfalls?

Let me know.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather May 25, 2007 at 11:42 am

Videos have been used for applications for some time now, but only in cases such as applying to be a game show contestant or a participant on a reality program. In those cases, a video application makes sense for the position being applied for. I’m not sure that expanding the use of video resumes would be beneficial at this point in time.

In addition to the visual discrimination issues already mentioned, there are obvious technology issues. A person may not be comfortable using video cameras, video editing programs, or other associated technology, which could decrease their chances of being selected for an interview, regardless of the abilities actually related to the job. Someone in charge of hiring could perceive poor video quality as an indicator of remedial computer skills, even subconsciously. While we know that creating video has no bearing on the ability to type or produce spreadsheets, managers would need to be very careful about their perceptions and what could be unknowingly discriminatory views.

If video resumes are to become a common technique, norms will have to be established. The proper use of soundtracks and background visuals greatly affect the overall perception and emotional response to a scene in a movie. Those factors could easily influence anyone in charge of hiring and selection. Standards should be set such that (for example) all videos must be shot from the shoulders up, on a plain, white background, and with no soundtrack additions besides the candidate’s voice.

As video resumes become more popular, this will also open up a new business. Video resumes could become a career service at universities, a separate preparation business altogether, or even as common as passport photos at drugstores.

Even internet applications are still not fully regulated, so it seems that standards need to be set before regulations lag yet again. If a company is thinking of accepting video resumes, it should establish company-wide standards for video submissions as well as some form or training or preparation for those who will be viewing the videos.

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C.M Russell June 5, 2007 at 11:16 am

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HireMeNow.com June 6, 2007 at 2:15 pm

We believe it is only a matter of time before all of the major job boards allow candidates to upload a video resume, and then candidates that don’t have a video resume will be at a disadvantage. This will drive fairly rapid adoption of video resumes.

One issue we’ve had with almost all job boards is that they are a closed environment. So a job candidate that posts a written resume or even a video resume will only be seen by companies that pay to be part of that job board.

We’ve turned that around – at http://www.HireMeNow.com, candidates can post a written resume, a video resume, a picture, and we walk them through a questionnaire that asks all of the key questions employers want to know (skills, willingness to travel, salary expectations, etc.). The candidates then invite employers to view their profiles at HireMeNow.com. Each profile is password-protected, so a candidate’s profile will only be seen by the employers that the candidate has invited.

All of this is free for both candidates and employers. Even better, because an employer has to enter the password to view the candidate’s profile, we send the candidate an e-mail as soon as that employer views the profile. No more wondering whether your written resume was tossed in the Delete folder. By knowing when your profile has been viewed, and by whom, you know exactly when to follow up with a phone call.

Sorry for a little shameless plugging, but we feel very strongly that video resumes are here to stay and will quickly become a standard part of everyone’s cv. And we think candidates should have a free, secure, professional place where they can send any employer to view their qualifications.

We put out a press release today, including a podcast – it’s available at http://www.HireMeNow.com – look toward the bottom of the page.

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