10 Things That Make Up a Good Video Resume

If you have been viewing more video resumes (or, what I like to call “vesumes”) recently, then you are aware of a growing trend that is replacing the standard 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper resume. And, with the speed of technology in our future, you are sure to see more.

Since I’m located in Hawaii, I have viewed a number of resumes as a part of my candidate searches, and it gives me a better picture of the candidate. Here is my advice on the 10 things that make a good video resume.

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  1. Video Quality. Just like a paper resume, presentation and quality are important, so attention to detail means a lot. A good-quality video resume can range from something that someone shot at home on an old camcorder to a professionally-shot video that could have been paid for, not unlike a resume writing service. These productions are much better and come with clear pictures, excellent sound quality, and an overall professional look.
  2. Appearance. Did the person invest time and effort in making his or her vesume instead of shooting the entire video in one sitting and at one location?
  3. Language and Business Acumen. Does the person on the video speak clearly and with the knowledge and business acumen that grabs your attention?
  4. Substance. With most good vesumes, you will have the following: an introduction, objectives, history, knowledge or special skills, education, and a summary. It won’t always come out exactly in this order, or you may be missing some of it.
  5. Creativity. Perhaps the best thing about a vesume is the creativity that you see with what may otherwise be a standard candidate on paper. I like to see creativity because, generally speaking, if it gets your attention, it will get the client’s or hiring manager’s attention as well.
  6. Background. You will notice a lot about the quality of the video and often something about the person just based on the background or location.
  7. Character. My favorite part of viewing these videos is that it shows the person’s character and that may play a significant role in a good fit. It is a great way for candidates to show their stuff and be creative in the process.
  8. Editing. Review it for mistakes, errors, accuracy, and content. If you are new to reviewing vesumes, you can miss critical errors like something in the background or something that was said or was not said. So, if you are new to watching video resumes, watch them a couple of times. It will be clear after watching it more than once whether the candidate edited the video for content and clarity.
  9. References. One of the best vesumes I have reviewed actually had three very credible and desirable references at the end of it. It went a long way toward presenting a high-quality candidate.
  10. Length. The best video resumes are not epics. I like three to five minutes in length.

Mike Nale is a managing partner of The Brand Management Group, LLC in Honolulu and is the host and co-producer of the upcoming TV show later this year called ?Help Wanted Hawaii.? Mike has over 10 years of experience as a Recruiting Manager, Work Force Planner, and Advisor to some of Honolulu?s Top companies. As one of Hawaii?s most recognized and respected recruiting experts he enjoys mentoring and coaching recruiting teams and volunteers teaching ?Careers with a Purpose? to high school students through Junior Achievement.


20 Comments on “10 Things That Make Up a Good Video Resume

  1. I have been saying this for some time now with a lot of resistance from the seasoned recruiting pro. It is only a matter of time before they realize the value of the ‘vesume’ (I kind of like that).

    I have a Web site that is just underway to network professional videographers around the country. The site will not host video resumes just promote the pro videographers that can help.

  2. This seems to be a formula for creating better ‘vesumes,’ but should we be encouraging them in the first place? Vesumes seem like a good idea for some industries and a very bad idea for others….

  3. Unless you are in the entertainment industry I can think of no better way to open your organization up for lawsuits than to encourage video resumes. Let’s also talk about OFCCP…how do you think you could reasonably report fair and impartial recruiting practices?

    A video resume recruiting process opens you up to ageist and sexist discrimmination lawsuits by virtue of the medium.

  4. Yes this is a formula for creating better resumes but as far as industries go I dont quite follow you. In time we will see more of these types of technologies intergrated into the hiring process which will become the standard not a trend.


  5. figured he’d have a ‘next gen’ idea for us – but – haven’t heard out of him in a LONG TIME.

    (assume thats ‘cuz hirevue is a video interviewing company & not video resume focused?)


  6. Why do people bring up the ?law suite? card?

    How in Gods name can promoting video resumes (or even requiring one) open anyone up to a law suite? Hmmmm?

    If we are so paranoid about getting a law suite filed because of asking for a video resume? you BETTER close your eyes the next time you interview someone. You BETTER put a headset on and crank the music up all the way so you cannot hear what the candidate is saying. In fact you BETTER put a clothes pin on your nose in case they smell.

    In fact you better not even read their resumes, because if you do you might get sued if you don?t hire them. Especially if they have a tracking system to indicate you read their resume and didn?t even give them a call.

    You people with the law suite through the discrimination card, slay me! Actually, I laugh so hard I almost pass out; I wonder if there is a law suite in that. I could die you know.

    Come on!!! Get real, every time you interview someone and don?t hire them; couldn?t they claim discrimination? Give me something more substantial than discrimination as to why you really don?t think video resumes are a good idea; I get so tired hearing the discrimination word!

  7. Whenever emphasis is placed on ‘Visual’ we allow our defective human ‘instinct’ to interfere with our evaluation.

    If someone is photo or tele-genic – he or she will have an advantage. If not, they will have a disadvantage appearing on a small screen while they may very well be more than capable in real life.

    This is the same issue that compartmentalizes politics. Everyone has one or two minutes to reply.

    But some of those issues are extremely complex and the subject of PHD’s of political science in hundreds of universities world wide – to squeeze a reply into two minutes requires drastic dumming down.

    One of the things I’ve learned from 21 years of national recruiting – ‘Never Judge a Book By Its Cover’.

    I’ve witnessed glamorous actors that can blow you away in a video segment – only to freeze up on the actual job. And visa versa, individuals that appeared disheveled, unimpressive, slightly unkempt go on to prove otherwise to the world.

    – Frank

  8. Sometimes the experienced recruiter is no different than the candidate looking for employment; both have problems going outside the box.

    People need to understand that a video resume is not a venue for a beauty pageant; rather a way to get a feel of how an interviewee might present their demeanor in the interview.

    I don?t see a video resume replacing the written resume; I do see it as a way to assist in the weeding out, not by site, but by the presentation itself. Isn?t the whole idea of an interview to get an idea of what the candidate is all about?

    You don?t hire at the time of interview; so a video could be considered a ?pre? interview. How many interviews have you gone through with a candidate sitting in front of you, and you wishing they were not? Not because of their looks, but that they are not what they said they are on their written resume.

    A written resume can mask everything, since you don?t know if they wrote it or had it done by a professional. I am sure you don?t have a problem with that.

    I have gone through so many people that say they are one thing, but when they show up? they cannot answer some of the simplest questions about the industry they are applying for. A video resume could also be used a lie detector.

    I?ll tell you? video resumes could very well streamline the hiring process, allowing the recruiter or HR manager to spend more time doing what they are supposed to? hire!

  9. Mike,

    The video resume is a staged event, much like a commercial. Just as a resume can be prepared by a 3rd party and make a dud seem like a superstar, the script for a video resume can be prepared by someone else, and after many takes and editing, can mask someone’s true abilities and personality. In an interview – whether it’s over the phone, via videoconference or live, you don’t get scripted answers and can judge the nuance of tone, facial expressions and/or body language. What’s the value proposition of a video resume over a quick phone interview? It doesn’t ‘unmask’ anything as long as they’re telling you what they want you to hear. Unless you need to evaluate someone’s appearance, you have only convinced me that it adds unneccesary time to the process. Don’t mistake scrutiny for a ‘new’ tool as reluctance to change or inability to go outside the box – just due diligence.

  10. Another side of the issue.

    The video resume issue for some are great and for others not so great (you don’t need to be a member of Mensa International to figure this one out) so the issus becomes a matter of choice.

    I am amazed still to this day- that no ‘recruiter’ or recruiting company from a post about two months has taken up the quest to have recuiters be on the side of the video resumes.

    The video resume companies could make a fortune just having recruiters have to use their tool. Why not offer this up to the recruiting companies- and test how they would do in a video resume?

    Why not? With the turnover in the staffing industry, this could provide them with the same problems some of the recruiters who post on this forum complain about, and am sure would have no problem doing. C’mon- there must be ONE of you video resume companies out there who wants to take up this challenge and am sure one of the recruiters who post about these issues would be a willing participant.

    For instance, I read all about the ‘candidate’ and their issues- but no one wants to discuss the ‘recruiters’ lack of skills (except a few of us who have actually come from the technical/functional side here on this forum).

    When I was a ‘candidate’ and received calls from ‘technical recruiters’ who wanted to ‘tech’ me out- most of them could not question me on ONE area of my SAP skills, nor even knew what SAP stands for- and with the consultants I speak with in my niche- this is still the case. The same old ‘teching me out’ was ‘what is your hourly rate- when are you available’ … and other worn out questions that have nothing to do with being ‘teched’ out.
    This might be one of the reasons you cannot get the return phone calls from the sales script/pitch you leave a candidate on the phone/e-mail.

    So yes I would love to see a video recruiters resume about who they are- the job they are supposedly looking to fill- and a bit of their background- since God knows many recruiters (like candidates) ‘fluff’ up their background.

    To complain about one side of the issue- if you are not willing to take the challenge- is akin to the old saying… ‘those who live in glass houses…..

  11. I run a Video Job Board in the UK that allows recruiters to email Video Resumes (or CVs as we call them in the UK) to their clients.

    A recruiter can ‘Invite’ any of their candidates to record a Video Resume, which is kept in a private area for that companies use only. The recruiter then emails the Video Resume complete with Company Branding to their client.

    Whenever I mention Video Resumes to people, I get one of 3 responses;

    *What about discrimination?
    *They WONT work for us!
    *They’re the future.

    I will tackle each of the above topics.


    The recipient of a Jobs2View Video Resume must agree to take an unbiased view on the applicant?s ability to perform the Job and adhere to their Countries Anti Discrimination Policy before proceeding. If they don?t agree to this, they don?t get to view the Video.

    I have spoken to a number of Anti Discrimination Lawyers / Human Rights / Anti Ageism / Anti Discrimination Bodies within the UK and they all have the following to say about Video Resumes; No one is forcing the candidate to record the Video. The candidate is doing so of his or her own free will. Watching a Video of a candidate is no different to seeing the person in a face-to-face interview. So while Video Resumes are new and therefore people are worried about their implications, they are in no way aiding discrimination.

    This makes sense to me and I?m thankful these companies are able to take unbiased views.

    Will companies get taken to court because of a Video Resume – Yes they probably will. And if they are being discriminatory, they deserve to be. But would the same candidate that believes they’ve suffered some form of discrimination have done the same regardless of the medium, they were present in?

    What companies have to do is ensure recruiting managers follow the laws of the land regarding discrimination. When they can do that, there shouldn?t be any problem.

    They WONT work for us!

    Maybe not, but will they work for your client or candidate? I believe that by offer Video Resumes to your clients you will gain an advantage over your competition. You will gain another USP when winning clients and give your candidate the edge over the competition.
    A Video CV is a memorable experience for the client and often puts the candidate at the top of the list. In some instances it removes the need for a first round interview.
    But anyway, isn?t the decision of Video resumes, that of the clients and candidates? From my experience, 70% of candidates are happy to record a Video Resume and 90% of Employers are happy to receive them. They save the candidate from having to attend irrelevant / un-necessary interviews and they save the client time in the short-listing process. The only thing the recruiter has to do is send an email to the candidate asking them of they would like to record a video. And when recruitment companies are charging from 15 – 30% of a candidate?s salary, surely they should at least offer the best available service to all concerned.

    They are the Future.

    As previous writers to this board have mentioned, a video will never replace a written resume and they aren?t designed too. They are designed to give the recipient a more complete picture of the candidate?s ability to perform a job role and they certainly do that.

    Its not that long ago I remember faxing resumes to clients. When Job Boards first appeared myself and colleagues couldn?t see their value either ? ?paper based advertising won?t ever be replaced? ? ?Most people don?t even have a computer!?
    How things have changed. 10 years on I don?t even have a fax machine and I wouldn?t dream of putting a Job Vacancy advert in a newspaper.

    I guess its natural to be wary of change, especially when the thought of recording a video can be so daunting. But the younger generation don?t see it that way. They video message their friends and don?t have a problem in sitting in front of a web cam.

    As time becomes more precious for everyone, doesn?t receiving a Video CV, Conducting the 1st round of Interviews Via Skype, then having 1 or 2 face-to-face interviews sound like a much better way of conducting the recruitment process?

    I for one don?t think it?s a case of if Video Resumes become the industry standard, but when?

  12. As one commentator pointed out, they’re good in some instances and probably not as good in others. If someone is pursuing a sales position, certainly, it’s probably a good idea to see how they present from the outset.

    This reminds me of a rather funny recruiter anecdote of about 8 or 9 years ago involving a local state IT candidate who lived on the other side of the state, and didn’t have time to interview with me in the office before his interview with my client.

    The long and the short of it was that upon calling my client for post interview feedback, he said he would have liked it had he been more prepared, since due to the size of my candidate, he couldn’t fit into the chair provided for the interview, and the situation was awkward.

    In this instance, it was not at all the reason the candidate did not secure the position, but had it been, it would still have been difficult to prove. I don’t agree with the commentator who thinks these ‘vesumes’ will be the source of more age, or otherwise, discriminatory lawsuits. One need only look at a paper resume history to see the approximate age of a candidate. Although we, as recruiters, may not discriminate, it’s evident that many client companies do, and have, with no consequences, since it’s so very difficult to verify, and video presentations will make it no more likely to do so.

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