The Video Resume

Corporations have been working hard to get us to buy their products and services for decades. Over the years, they have moved from print and billboards to television and movies.

They have learned to be sophisticated and fun. In fact, many of us email our friends funny and entertaining advertisements. Lots of people watch the Super Bowl just because of the commercials that corporations spend millions of dollars preparing.

Yet the only way an individual has had to brand themselves to a prospective employer is by creating a resume. And let’s face it: the resume is almost always a boring document that resembles the price sticker on a new car more than a promotional flyer. Lots of detail, but not much sizzle!

While we may embellish them from time to time or exaggerate the details of what we did, they are essentially a chronological record of our working lives, devoid of personal information that might make us more attractive to an employer.

The Internet has begun changing all of this. Over the past decade I have seen several organizations attempt to profitably provide a service to create and distribute video resumes.

All of these efforts slowly faded away for two reasons. First, they often did not understand how to make a video resume useful, compelling, and cost-effective. Some of the early ones showed candidates in a mock interview or, even worse, reading their resume. They were boring and way too long. Second, distribution was clumsy and slow. Candidates had to mail a CD-ROM to the recruiter or had to send it over the Internet with slow, dial-up connections.

A New Situation

With the advent of YouTube, cheap video cameras, and a sophisticated video-savvy worker, video resumes are now short, often funny, and to the point. If you type “video resume” in to YouTube you get several pages of them.

Some are clearly just spoofs and others are produced for people who are in the visual arts or music business. More and more are being made by people who are not in the entertainment business. Websites are reducing the number of words and adding more graphics, pictures, videos and live interviews.

A recent clip on YouTube shows interviews with a number of young people about how they react to wordy corporate websites. It seems clear to me that recruiters need to learn how to better sell their jobs using video and open up to the idea of video resumes.

Recently the use of video resumes has gained worldwide attention, after a video resume submitted to USB by Aleksy Vayner, a student at Yale University, was spread all over the Internet.

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Some of the claims he made in the interview are suspect and much of it may have been a spoof. Yahoo! Video, on its Current Buzz site hosted by Conor Knighton, points out many of these claims.

However, the publicity surrounding Vayner has revived interest to the use of video resumes as a way to market and brand individuals seeking positions within competitive environments.

A few weeks ago, I was reading a blog written by Frank Mulligan, an executive recruiter and RPO leader in China. He referred to a service now offered by Wetjello that allows individuals to create video resumes and send links to prospective employers.

A simple Google search leads to numerous services that either help you make a video resume or provide a way to distribute your resume to employers. There are even job boards such as Virtual Career Agents that specialize in posting video resumes.

Here are a few thoughts on the use of video resumes:

  • Video resumes may result in more applicants. Realize that if you are doing a lot of college hiring or are looking for entry-level people, the video resume may be a good way to differentiate candidates and a way to get more qualified people to apply. Many younger people who lack in-depth experience but feel they have other qualities might rather put together a short video than write a resume.
  • Be clear on your website about your position on video resumes. If you think video resumes may be a way to improve your understanding of candidates’ abilities, let them know that. Give them some guidelines of length and what kind of content would be useful. Perhaps show a generic example. As this is new to lots of candidates, they would appreciate tips on what is helpful to you.
  • Make the video interview something you initiate. Provide a list of two or three questions that you ask candidates to respond to via a video. This way you get them to show their verbal skills and creativity without the need to bring them in for an interview. By providing the list of questions, you ensure you will be comparing apples to apples as all the answers will be focused around the same issue.

John Younger, president and founder of Accolo, a San Francisco-based RPO provider, says, “While I don’t think videos designed to replace a complete resume will ever take off, short videos where a candidate answers one or two particular questions will become very popular and useful.”

If any of you accept or are using video resumes, I would love to talk to you or hear about your experiences and get your comments. Send your thoughts to kwheeler@glresources.com.

As I have frequently stressed in other articles, the Internet is quickly changing everything about recruiting. Video resumes, guided by thoughtful recruiters, can provide more depth and understanding of candidates at a lower cost than a face-to-face interview.

Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for ERE.net, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at kwheeler@futureoftalent.org.

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16 Comments on “The Video Resume

  1. Once again another interesting article and concept by Kevin Wheeler.

    I think video is more likely impact the way that job seekers find employers rather than the way employers find job seekers. I?ve written more on this here.

    Think about it. How active is an applicant that has the time and commitment to create and distribute a video resume?

    Regardless of how easy some of these services make the process, it still requires hours planning, filming, editing and distributing. As you and we all know, those most qualified are far less active in their job search and this whole process requires far too much actively.

  2. TalkingCV from the Iteba Group based in the UK offer a 3-D CV in a neat software program that allows for audiosiual presentation of candidates where recruiters can scroll up and down a written text CV/Resume at the same time. Its a very user friendly program and has a great deal to offer all parties. The Hiring authority saves a great deal of time, fuss and effort, the candidate gets to control the job search and to put him/herself in front of more people that not, they also don’t waste time going on fruitless interviews etc etc and so on. As a Recruiter working out of Johannesburg in South Africa, my clients love it, its fair, it can be tailor made to suit both clients and candidates depending on who is using it, and it actually promotes stable workforces for many reasons. IT IS NOT the whole process by any means, its a screening introduction for all. And that is what makes it so neat. More than anything it is very very cost effective. There is much more that can be said too, they also have extended the use to TalkingInduction and TalkingJob. I would say anyone interested should go to http://www.iteba.com and follow the Talking links. Having been in recruitment for many years, I wish I had had this technology long ago!

  3. I wonder what the potential for disparate impact or treatment would be on this one..

    Even in today’s society it is best to remove pictures from resumes – and of course remove any information that show any personal information that are not related to the qualifications..

    This seems to be a hot bed of trouble.. Kind of reminds me of a current case with the EEOC right now. Large Chain of stores (will remain nameless) loved a particular candidate and as Quoted from the EEOC
    ‘One of the most significant evidentiary points here arose from the fact that one of the African American applicants included in the EEOC?s suit seemed to be well on the way to landing at job at Target, until the store realized from her name and voice that she was likely to be black ? and then the job disappeared’

    Interesting to see how this would play out..

  4. Ok – This is where I think we are going to see clear generational lines. Personally – I can’t wait until the day this is the norm. As a recruiter, I HATED reading a fantastic resume only to bring in a candidate that made me fall asleep during an interview. Then, you are stuck for 30 min’s or so trying to wrap it up without seeming rude. Imagine having a paper and personality all at once!

    The ‘time and commitment to create and distribute a video resume’ questioned above is sooo 2004! I can easily shoot a video of myself, attach a resume and email it out to a group of 100 companies, all without having to blink. It takes just seconds with the new phones. People don’t even need to have a video camera available.

    As for the companies, the idea of having the whole first impression and resume at the touch of the button will definately improve productivity and reduce unneeded interviews of people that were never going to get the job. It will also allow for the recruiters to review and access anywhere in the world from a hotel room, to an airport, to a hot tub in vegas, baby. (I love that commercial, sorry)

    As soon as an ATS will get on the ball and integrate a program like this, I think we will see a whole different ball game. The question is, who will take the time and money to create a program that will integrate the video. Whoever does it best will truly revolutionize the world of recruiting?

  5. There used to be a company that promoted video resumes for sales people but our corporate lawyers wouldn’t allow us even preview a sample video because they were concerned about the barn full of potential lawsuits it would expose our company to.

    With video resumes, managers not only get to discriminate by race, but instantly get to discriminate based on age, figure, hair color or style, facial expressions, voice tone, clothes and a thousand other things that have nothing to do with job capability or performance.

    Just out of curiosity, how would you ever get a video resume to pass an OFCCP audit? Just by its nature, it would fail on every level.

  6. At this time, neither the job seeker, nor the interviewer have demonstrated sufficient skill to make video resumes an effective tool. On tv or other video media, we are observing professionals. On YouTube, much of what is funny are the attempts at being serious . . . like the Vaymer interview. And, as others have pointed out video makes bigotry far easier–that’s racism, sexism, age-ism, classism (remember, less advantaged people the expense of doing video puts them at a disadvantage.

    So, as I told a reporter last week (published this past Monday), when asked whether to do a video resume, I answered, DON’T DO IT.

    Now from the recruiter perspective, I have to commit to minutes of time to disqualify someone who I know disqualify in seconds.

  7. Will this be the wave of the future?

    It makes me wonder if this will hinder some people rather than help them gain fair access to opportunities. I wonder if video resumes are really about self promotion (self center) or ones ability to do the job?

    Have we constructed barriers so high that candidates are resorting to off the wall tactics to get noticed? I believe we live in a society that promotes certain ‘images’ or ?illusions’ which, in some cases blind us to the truth. How easy it would be to click delete if we did not like an image. So does this mean that the flashiest or most appealing wins? Are we hiring for talent/qualifications or meaningless other criteria?

    While video resumes are innovative, as a society, I wonder if we are really at the point that we can fairly assess people based upon qualifications vs. images/illusions.

  8. How many of us gasp or laugh when we receive a resume with a photograph?

    We and the market are not yet ready for video resumes, unless we are in talent related industries.

    Jeff Altman
    The Big Game Hunter

  9. I would argue that employers – and not candidates – should investigate video.
    Video-enhanced job postings can differentiate
    companies, and motivate candidates, in ways
    that we have yet to fully explore.

  10. I am concerned that people are far enough behind in technology to feel society as a whole is not advanced enough to use this application properly. I am also alarmed at comments suggesting video resumes would be laughed at because of personal appearance of the candidate. I hate the internet more than the next. However, I assure you we are to and past that point with current technology it is acceptable, cheap and user friendly. From a position of ‘authority’ I say with confidence independent films have won awards with shoe string budgets and equipment from run of the mill retailers. The availability to obtain quality equipment to make a feature length film at an affordable budget opened the industry to almost anyone who is serious(even slightly). So, imagine the user who wants nothing more than to highlight a few key points about themselves in 4-8 minutes. If this is a concern the local library in most areas has a few thousand dollars worth of professional quality video hardware and editing software for community use. Typically the staff is trained in the basic use of this equipment as well.

    How many times have we sent out a candidate only to hear, ‘have you seen this person?’ If my candidate is unable to properly apply makeup (I’ve heard that), unable to select wardrobe (check that too), unable to match wardrobe, unable to choose professional accessories or unable to purchase nice clothes wouldn’t you want to know? With the progression of video technology you will know! If you knew wouldn’t you address and fix the problem? At very least give the client the heads-up. ‘Candidate X is the best, I assure you – I would not waste your time. However, he will be wearing tennis shoes with his suit because his dog ate the leather ones, shall I proceed or reschedule the IV?’ I personally have my neck tattooed (daughters name & symbol for family). Both are big, bold and mean the world to me. I know first hand discrimination and hatred based on nothing more than physical appearance exists. At very least this is irrational possibly illegal. I assure you my tattoos do not limit or affect my ability to properly do my job. If you disagree I will gladly compare 2005 numbers with you.

    Discrimination on age, warts, tattoos, pimples, clef pallets, pattern baldness or race is alive but ?not well? in the work place ? in my opinion. It is only alive because we allow it to be. ANY such discrimination must be acknowledged, delt with and deleted from the work place immediately. Tip-toeing around the topic because you may offend the racist or lose a placement is not an effective long term method.

    To end my rant. . . Although I do not always agree with I understand accept and conform to the necessity of ?personal? presentation being in tip-top shape in most business situations. My objection here is to the objections(racism) by a hiring authority based on ?physical? appearance. I assure you I can pull off the Armami pin stripped charcoal silk blend houndstooth sport jacket as well as you. I also assure you my choice of shoes, tie, pinky ring and cuff links will complement the jacket and trousers better than yours almost every time ? tattooed or not. Ignoring or accommodating racism based on physical charistics should not be tolerated. If after discussion with the manager they are unwilling to not be racist and you are unable to take legal action or address the situation otherwise drop the client – period. Lou Adler reminded us of an old adage in a 10/27 article: ‘Managers have difficulty hiring people stronger than themselves.’ He failed to mention they have difficulty hiring people physically different than themselves, regardless of the candidate?s ability to effectively do the job. Possibly wearing the same argyle socks as the manager is what is really important?!? This is racism period. This is not acceptable and we must refuse to accommodate such behavior by sending only white candidates here, females here and 24 year old candidates there. If the candidate is qualified they must be sent out and given the same amount of consideration as the next. We would most likely dismiss a client who requested female candidates with only 34D breasts or larger. The same is true with all other forms of racism or sexism ? no matter how small they seem.

  11. Simon,
    interesting comment – As a person who has a ‘european’ last name I reflected on what you said.. the interesting thing that came to my mind is that my last name is Danish, but I am actually a biracial female — hmm you would not get that from my resume though.

    See a resume only give my information, date, qualifications; you don’t know anything about my age, race, appearance, religious preferences, from my resume

    Now Simon, let’s say that due to my being bi-racial and my religion was one that I wore dreadlocks as I was a rastafarian, or that I wore the hijab – which is common for Arabs and my religion was Moslem or Islamic..

    Or even that I was a black male and had a beard due to a medical disease..

    Hmm let’s even go a step farther, and maybe due to a physical disconfirgument I had scars on my face, or lost an arm.. A speech imparement that caused me to stutter on certain stresses..

    Well Simon these things would not have been obvious in a paper resume and would have disqualified me from being considered for an interview.. and would have only been seen in a Physical interview, where at least I would have a chance and opportunity to ‘sell’ you on my skills
    BUT —– here comes the problem.. with a video resume you have the option of not considering me immediately for interview thus I lose that opportunity to ‘prove’ my worth and value to the company and you Mr Client

    Re I would also have a harder time to prove that you discriminated against me based upon discriminatory unconsious bias rather than my experience if I didn’t have the opportunity to meet with you.. rather than just based upon my submittal of a Video resume.. as we know – resumes do tend to get Lost —

    But, if I had the chance to interview with the hiring manager who decided to implement discriminatory practices – well then there is more of a chance to prove that you did discriminate.

    Anyways, Discrimination is alive and well – it isn’t just about race – it is about Sex, Age, Disability, religion.

    It covers deeper issues than just getting rid of the hiring manager who promotes discrimination — it can go all the way to the top – where corporate implements a culture of discrimination throughout the corporation.. One good example in this would be Abercrombie and Fitch whose discriminatory values were widespread throughout all of their stores in the U.S – Abercrombie it had been discovered had consistently reinforced to its store managers that they must recruit and maintain an overwhelmingly white workforce — the settlement was quite large..

    Anyways, yes, indeed this could definitely have potential of being a problem for many a diverse candidate who would not get the fair opportunity to even get themselves interviewed for that great job they were qualified for

  12. What many recruiters/hr do best –

    Get 100 resumes for a job from Monster or other career board.

    Quickly go through the 75 that obviously won’t work in about 5 minutes

    Spend a little extra time ~20-30 minutes going through the rest to get it down to the top 5 to bring in for interviews sometime in the next month.

    Could you imagine an inbox filled with 100 video resumes? You can’t flip through those in less than 10 seconds because what are you basing your decision on?

    Just a thought – I don’t think there is much of a business there which is we are staking our claim somewhere else in the hiring process (think interviews).

    Mark Newman
    COO, HireVue

  13. Jeff Altman talks about how the Video resume can make it a lot easier for employers to show racism, sexism, age-ism, classism. At the same time I would like to say that the opposite also applies. We have a lot of ‘non-european’ looking people living in our country (New Zealand) who are discriminated against because of their looks. People naturally assume that they are recent immigrants with poor english and a poor understanding of our country. Actually, there are many New Zealand born ‘non-europeans’ living here who speak with a New Zealand accent and understand our culture and country as well as anybody. Video resumes would really help these people – especially if they do not have European names on their resume.

  14. I applaud Kevin for his vision and insight on this matter, which has prompted some interesting, although not surprising feedback from a variety of quarters.

    The writing is on the wall (no pun intended!) for the traditional R?sum?/CV as the primary tool for jobseekers, but there is no doubt that it will always play an extremely important role in the selection process ? so the Luddites amongst us can rest assured that they will be able to rely on the good old ?pen to paper? approach if that?s how they want to represent themselves or their candidates to their clients.

    Streaming video is percolating through the recruitment/RPO industry at the moment like the stench of roasted coffee, however, all but a few forward thinking companies/individuals have yet to wake up to it.

    Mine is a double espresso with the richest, darkest roasted bean you can grind please!

    The video r?sum? enables each individual to represent themselves ?as they are? and if done properly (I will come onto this later) it will differentiate them from every other person in the world, even if their r?sum? looks exactly the same as the next person?s.

    Nobody is suggesting that the written document will be discarded in favour of video, however, to be able to view even a short clip (5 minutes +) of audio visual information (recorded responsibly and for the purpose of job seeking) next to a written document (written responsibly and for the purpose of job seeking!) is far more valuable than either media used in isolation ? surely this is logical?

    I know a collection of national and international clients who have video profiled over 1,800 candidates and have saved tens of thousands of ?/$?s on single assignments ? to the benefit of the candidates, the consultants and themselves. So the sceptics have not acquitted themselves well in our book.

    A few of the existing applications are designed to integrate with common recruitment databases, HR and ATS systems, optimising each link in the supply chain with video enabled content, without the need to replace existing technology. This is surely the way forward?

    YouTube is a good example of the consumer led revolt ? but there are many more ?self generated? video profile sites in the pipeline designed specifically for the job seeker.

    I don?t agree with the view that candidates or interviewers don?t have the skill to create effective videos ? what sort of excuse is this not to take advantage of the best platform to market yourself, short of a prime time ad on national TV?

    If you are an interviewer and can?t interview then what on earth are you doing in recruitment/resourcing (get some training and raise the bar!) and if a candidate can?t interview, well then they need good advice and input from a professional ? this type of advice is freely available.

    Sure, there will be a few people who will make mistakes at first, but why would someone who is genuinely interested in finding a new job or developing their career, knowingly sabotage their chances by creating and releasing a clip that makes them look silly ? unless they are very badly advised or ignore the advice they are given (sorry Aleksy)? If they do then they will almost certainly be doing the same on their resume.

    The content of a video profile should be defined by the type of role the person is seeking, i.e. a personal assistant looking for a job will create a very different profile to that of an oil engineer. ?If you want work as a clown or a stand up comedian then don?t tell me you are funny ? make me laugh!? ? is a phrase that comes to mind.

    Not every client wants a standard format ? some will want specific questions answered during the interview, others will just want to see how candidates react to questions, respond to pressure and handle the situation. A sophisticated client/user will see through the blarney and will focus on the individual?s competencies and character.

    There is an opportunity for clients, recruiters and professional career advisors alike to take advantage of this phenomenon, to advise and guide the inexperienced through the process of creating their video profiles to enhance their chances of attracting interest from the most relevant employers. Only by embracing this opportunity will they develop the experience and sophistication to overcome the inadequacies of the current process.

    I have read with despair and frustration, article upon article about how discrimination is rife in the recruitment process (society, business, schools, etc) and how withholding ever increasing amounts of information will eradicate the problem ? it won?t (as Karen Mattonen?s comment illustrates). You could argue that the phone accelerates discrimination, but could we ban the use of the phone in the recruitment process? It is a ridiculous suggestion. Discrimination is discrimination irrespective of when it happens in the process ? i.e. when a client first picks up the CV, after a telephone conversation, after interview, after seeing a short video clip ? trying to eradicate a problem by reducing the access to information is not going to make people behave more responsibly.

    Discrimination is a social issue, which will only be eradicated from the workplace over time, through education and through cracking down on the individuals who perpetuate the problem. By monitoring how users view and make decisions on information over a period of time, it is possible to identify trends and to nip this sort of bad hiring management behaviour in the bud (the financial services industry have tackled the ?insider trading? issue in a similar way), whilst at the same time providing responsible clients with hard evidence to support any potential claims that may arise. I know of at least one of the video application providers that monitors and provides insight into these dynamics as part of the service.

    The legal issues should not be ignored (and must be checked in each jurisdiction) but in practice the issues that initially spring to mind (discrimination, privacy, human rights, etc) just haven?t materialised. ?Candidate video profiling? is no more likely to get you into hot water than a CV/ r?sum?, or even your interview notes, for that matter. If you manage the process properly and inform people before they arrive about what you will be doing with the information and how is going to be used, then we have found very few issues. In fact, in a number of cases our clients have given examples of where candidates have been selected following video interviews where they have struggled to get interviews in the past, on the basis of their written CV/r?sum?. So, if you have behaved professionally and only use the information for the purposes for which it has been collected then you should not expect any issues.

    Candidates gain from this process too – fewer wasted interview trips result in higher interview to offer ratios – that has to be a good thing? Why waste the time, money, effort and emotional anxiety, meeting clients who would have rejected you anyway? If like me, your time is important to you then the last thing I want to do is waste it meeting someone just because they thought I looked good on paper.

    A responsible, professional client will make every effort to achieve diversity within the workforce – they aren’t all biggots and racists.

    My final comment is that the use of video in the recruitment/resourcing/executive search industry is inexorable – Video CV?s/r?sum??s and the systems that collate and distribute them effectively will significantly enhance the recruitment process for everyone involved, if they are used responsibly by professionals and consumers alike.

    They aren?t going to, nor were they designed to resolve all the world?s ills!

  15. Mark,
    you made an excellent point, and I can see what you guys at HireVu do working well

    Using a video resume for interview AFTER a client has seen resumes and selected the candidates will indeed be effective and of course follow EEO and OFCCP guidelines – if records are kept well.

    The resume is viewed in lieu of the expense of having the company pay for the expense of flying someone in for an interview.. Excellent idea.

    FYI the Video Resume in itself is NOT a new idea, in fact as was mentioned previously back in the 80’s-90’s several individuals did try their hand at this little development. It was squashed in no time due to the discriminatory issues..

    Anyways.. I can see a trend rising in the aspect of video for interview..

    Mark, does the client have a way to keep the records of the Videos — how do you guys participate in OFCCP tracking and compliance?

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