Video Resumes: from a Recruiter’s perspective

There are many discussions among HR Professionals regarding the effectiveness of selecting talent using video resumes. Many consider it on the one hand as an additional  marketing tool, on the other hand they are convinced that it will never be able to replace a traditional CV and the opportunity to meet a person face to face. However, in an annual employer survey conducted by Vault Inc. it showed that 89 % of employers would watch a video resume if it were submitted to them. In comparison to that, only 17 % have actually viewed a video resume so far. The main reason why employers (52 %) would welcome video resumes is the opportunity to see a candidate’s professional presentation and demeanor. 

When would it be appropriate and effective to ask jobseekers to apply with a video resume? 

I would say it depends on the job you are hiring for and the skill set that you are looking for  in a candidate. There are jobs for which a video resume would be appropriate, such as teacher, salesperson, actor, flight attendant etc. But there are also jobs, for example an accountant, a chef or a software developer, for which a video resume would not be the right selection strategy. Candidates with these jobs might be brilliant in their area of expertise but might lack presentation or communication skills. These skills might not be relevant for the new job position but it would become evident in a video and not allow them to be shortlisted. 

A video of (ideally) 2-3 minutes would give you a quick glimpse about a candidate’s personality, attitudes and skills (e.g. presentation skills, communication skills, creative thinking skills, self promotional skills etc.) before meeting in person (should you decide to follow up). You need to remember that there are jobs in which dealing with people face to face and being presentable is paramount. This “video approach” would help you to save a lot of time and filter the right candidates quickly. 

If you are planning to hire your next talents based on an impressive video resume then

use the following checklist: 

  • Is the person able to speak freely, naturally without reading from a script? 
  • Can the person present the main points of his application in a short period of time?
  • How professionally is the person dressed?  
  • What does the body language of the candidate reveal?  
  • Does he look straight into the camera or does he try to avoid it? 
  • How confident does the person generally look, sound and act? 
  • What does the background tell you, in which the video was recorded? Is it a private room with a total mess or a clean, tidy, professional setting? 
  • If “creative thinking skills” is one of the essential or desirable skills for the job, it will give you a good idea to what extent the person is really able to “think outside the box”. Does he apply his creative skills also in this online video?
  • How good is the video quality? (Bear in mind that not everyone might have sophisticated technical equipment or money to spend on a skilled video-editing professional).   
  • How good is the person in promoting himself as the best candidate? Do you know afterwards why he would be a great hire and what benefit he would bring to the company?  
  • Did the candidate go the extra mile and even include some testimonials in which he lets other people talk about his past performances and achievements? 

There are also some disadvantages which should not be overlooked. A Hiring Manager might miss out on some competent candidates because only those who have good technical equipment, are tech savvy or have the financial resources to ask for professional video-editing support, will be able to apply. Furthermore, an organisation could be accused of discrimination due to the fact that a video resume would show a candidate’s age, race, sex, disability etc. These kind of details would not have been apparent from a paper CV. 

Last but not least, try to watch the videos of the short-listed candidates twice to make sure that you don’t overlook anything. 

Karin Schroeck-Singh
Karin Schroeck-Singh is a passionate Public Speaker, eBook Author, and a freelancing Online Content Producer. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 18 years of international work experience in Italy, the UK and India.