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No Job for Video Résumés Yet

Video résumés may seem like the next big thing to hit the job world but many hiring decision makers such as HR chiefs, recruiters and executives would rather hit the eject button than view another one.

Video résumés may seem like the next big thing to hit the job world but many hiring decision makers such as HR chiefs, recruiters and executives would rather hit the eject button than view another one.

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Until video presented itself, the pre-interview screening process of comparing one résumé versus another was comfortably black & white and decidedly lacking in color. Consider the fairness of an automated résumé screening process where candidates with the right keywords rise to the top.

Still, it’s tempting to call video résumés a classic example of a disruptive technology that rubs old-school managers the wrong way. But it’s really not a technology issue – it’s more a matter of process. The video résumé potentially biases an otherwise imageless talent judgment by recruiters and hiring managers.

Aside from ethical considerations, video résumés lack standards for production, quality or content. Hiring managers complain that they tend to be funky, funny or offensive. The bottom line is that they often don’t reflect well upon the job candidate.

These variables mean that managers who review a video résumé don’t know whether they are about to view something promising or a waste of time. Best case, it takes substantially longer to view a video résumé than it does to read one or two pages of job history, education and accomplishments.

On the other hand, video isn’t the only possible visual bias that comes into play. Many job seekers have video links or photos up on their social media sites. “With a video résumé, a candidate’s face is there for everyone to see,” says Steve Guine, NY-based HR consultant and recruiter in the financial services field. “This makes it easy to reject a candidate out of hand.”

Boston Globe columnist Penelope Trunk, author of the new book, Brazen Careerist, makes the case against video résumés:

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  • “Don’t do it unless your biggest selling point is your charisma because it can only hurt you.”
  • “Hiring managers spend ten seconds on each résumé. It takes ten seconds just to start up a video résumé. So the hiring manager has to invest more time in checking you out if you submit a résumé via video.”
  • Don’t be too authentic! “Corporate hiring managers are used to [viewing] coached video, so authentic video will strike them as sloppy and unprofessional.”
  • “But let’s say everyone hands in a video résumé. There are so many nonverbal issues that will matter way more than what is said, that the person who will look best on the video is the one who had the most coaching.”

Guine, the recruiter, recognizes that it’s too late to put the video genie back in the bottle. “There will have to be more oversight in dealing with this as there is potential for abuse,” says Guine. “Metrics should be rigorous and reporting timely in order to spot trends or biases. On the other hand, this may also be the tool we need to ferret out the recruiters that are biased.”

The prospect of viewing video résumés doesn’t thrill all hiring managers either. “I think it’s risky, risky, risky for people to send a résumé talking about themselves,” says Devin Thorpe, CEO, Thorpe Capital, a middle market investment banking firm in Salt Lake City. “Very few of us look like the people in Hollywood and there’s some risk that you will come off wrong – that you can hurt yourself more than help yourself.”

HireVue’s COO Mark Newman suggests that there are approximately five thousand video résumés in circulation at the moment. These are clearly early days for this technology and even talented videographers should be patient about pursuing them too aggressively. Given the chilly reception that video résumés receive in the job world, the wisest move for now is to carry on without them.

Rusty Weston, My Global Career • San Francisco, Ca • rusty@myglobalcareer.com • http://www.myglobalcareer.com