The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Video Resumes

I saw a glimpse of the future at the recent HR Technology Conference here in Chicago, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. There were 3 or 4 companies all pitching video resume services. As someone who is passionate about managing remote teams,which means finding the best available people, I should be thrilled, but I'm also slightly creeped out.

The thing about technology, is we reach the point where something is inevitable. Part of our brain thinks this is a very good thing (Hey, everyone can have a car!) and then the reality of the situation hits with its unintended consequences (Jeez, everyone has a car: millions of people with cars means traffic, pollution and insurance commercials!).This is the case with video resumes.

The good:

  • Good teams are built on relationships, and human beings form deeper, truer relationships when we can see each other. You can get a preliminary feel for the person and tell whether you want to know them better
  • Finding and recruiting the best people is not easy or cheap. If you can size someone up before putting them on a plane or going to Cleveland yourself you avoid wasted time and energy
  • You might find that "diamond in the rough" that you'd never find otherwise.
The bad:
  • There's a reason HR people don't want to see pictures on a resume- that first cut should be about qualifications, not what you look like. There are all kinds of subtle and not-so-subtle biases that can (and have) screened out good people from getting jobs. Now you can see for yourself what someone looks like. Can you be objective when hiring about whether they'll "be a good fit?"
  • People who look good on camera don't always know what they're talking about. Have you learned nothing from the local news?
  • There is the potential to put more weight on video resumes than other sources. People are both visually oriented and lazy. I can't prove it, but I have a suspicion the average hiring manager will assign more importance to a video resume than other potential sources of information.
The Potentially Ugly
  • There are a lot of HR laws and policies that haven't caught up with the technology. You have to keep a paper resume on file for an extended period of time. There are EEOC and other laws that vary state by state- will video resumes adhere to those laws? What about the inevitable lawsuits when someone claims bias- you can guarantee these videos will be admissible in court. Before you start using them, understand your company's rules.
  • There are already companies coaching people on how to do these resumes. Those job seekers who can afford the help will be at a great advantage. Fair or just good business?
In the meantime,if you're considering creating a video resume, here are 10 tips from to creating a strong impression:
  • Dress professionally in business attire, just as if you were going to an in-person interview.
  • Keep your video resume short: one - three minutes.
  • Look at the camera not at the desk or table below you.
  • Don't speak too fast.
  • Make sure there isn't any background noise and that the wall behind you isn't too busy.
  • Practice what you're going to say ahead of time.
  • Start by mentioning your name (first and last).
  • Focus on your professional endeavors, not your personal ones.
  • Discuss why you would be a good employee and what you can do for the company that hires you.
  • Thank the viewer for considering you for employment.
Read more photo by flickr user ctaloi CC 2.0