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Are video resumes a good idea?

Are video resumes a good idea?

November 1, 2021

Gone are the days when applicants must submit job applications by snail mail. The internet makes it easier than ever to apply for a job, either by email or clicking a single button on LinkedIn.

When social distancing was introduced in 2020, the recruitment industry ground to a halt. With no in-person meetings possible, how could they possibly get to know candidates? The video resume offered to fill this gap, but the popularity of this format means it could stick around long after social distancing is over.

Younger generations are more comfortable on camera than older generations. This is because they have grown up in a world of TikTok and Instagram Reels. However, applicants also want to bring their whole self to work – they don’t want to feel like they have to leave their personality at home. This could pave the way for video resumes to become the norm.

What is a video resume?

A video resume is an application in video format. So instead of the applicant typing up their experience on two sides of A4, they can instead talk about their experience on camera. While this might be daunting for some introverts, the format is proving very popular with many.

It’s an opportunity to get creative with the format and share information that might not make it onto a printed resume. A video resume typically lasts around 30 seconds to two minutes and can be tailored to a specific job or offer a general overview of an individual’s experience.

How can video resumes help the hiring process?

Video resumes offer hiring managers and recruiters the chance to get to know an applicant before their first meeting. It could therefore streamline the recruitment process to enable those in charge of recruitment to make decisions faster.

Video resumes are also popular as they can help companies get the right balance of skills to culture fit. However, it’s hard to get an idea of a person’s personality from their written CV – primarily because individuals struggle to describe themselves. But with a video CV, their personality is on full display.

And finally, video resumes are also popular with hiring managers as it’s far more difficult for an applicant to stretch the truth. If you’re hiring for a customer service role and want bright, bubbly personalities, you will quickly be able to see who has the required skills from a video CV.

How can video resumes damage recruitment?

While some are in support of video CVs, others recommend caution. The biggest risk of video resumes is the possibility that unconscious bias may lead to accusations of racism, sexism or ageism. 

A video resume reveals more than a paper CV ever could, and some might use this information to consciously or unconsciously exclude individuals from the recruitment process. Some worry that using video resumes could increase discrimination claims if applicants feel they have been rejected for a reason other than their skills and experience.

There is also the risk that applicants could be put off by the request to record a video. Introverts might find the idea of recording a video terrifying and avoid applying altogether. This could skew the type of personalities applying for a role and lead to companies missing out on great hires.

And finally, there is the criticism that video producing skills really shouldn’t be put to the test – unless the job role calls for these skills. Asking for a video resume from professionals such as engineers, accountants or forklift operators might unnecessarily limit the applicant pool. Unless the role requires the individual to be confident on camera, is there any sense in putting these skills to the test?

Should my company use video resumes?

It’s certainly possible to start requesting video resumes now, but don’t stop accepting more traditional formats just yet. Giving applicants an option will help you to avoid missing out on some great applicants. However, until video resumes are more commonplace, some people may be reluctant to try this new format.

If you decide to accept video resumes, you should also offer guidelines to applicants to help guide their submission. For example, let them know the time limit, give them a few questions to answer, and let them know how you want to receive the video.

You should also consult with your legal department to put in safeguards to ensure unconscious bias does not influence hiring decisions. For example, your legal department might fight back against the sole use of video resumes. Instead, you could ask applicants to submit a paper and a video resume.

And don’t be surprised if applicants send you a video resume without being asked to. This format is popular with applicants who want to stand out from the crowd. It will be down to companies to decide how to compare traditional paper resumes with a video format in a fair and balanced way.

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