Video resumes have been around for some time now, but they have been pretty much on the periphery of mainstream recruiting and used in the more image conscious industries. But, with the prevalence and ease of use of such high quality video technology and the desire for employers to more accurately assess talent, can video resumes open the door to a higher quality and more enlightened assessment process? Can video resumes really improve hiring?
This is a good question, and truthfully, there isn’t much evidence out there to suggest that video resumes are more reliable than a written resume and so the jury has to be out on this one. Although a video resume adds an additional dimension to the written resume, there is no guarantee that a video resume will result in improved hiring outcomes for your business.
In fact, some research suggests that video resumes lack a certain degree of authenticity which will reduce the quality of your hiring process. Take the findings of this Degroote Business School study which shows that people on video appear less attractive, charming and persuasive then the real thing. So, can you really believe what you are seeing? Are you seeing the real person or a watered down, diluted version? Of course, some applicants may be better than others at performing on camera and may come across much better, but this means they they are just better actors and not necessarily better skilled. This means you may just be hiring a good screen actor and not necessarily a good employee.
Another risk of video resumes is that they illuminate characteristics such as: obesity, race, attractiveness etc… and bring them under the spotlight much earlier in the hiring process than in a written resume, so increasing the chance of unfair discrimination.
But, while there are a lot of risks with using video resumes, I do think these can be managed and if used properly video resumes can add value to the hiring process. For starters, recruiters and hiring managers should be trained to use video resumes in a certain way for greater effectiveness.
For example, there should be all or nothing approach to resumes so candidates are equally advantaged or disadvantaged by being on camera.
The shortlisting and assessment process should be documented and based on transparent and fair criteria to mitigate discrimination.
I also think that candidates should be given a specific brief and asked to prepare a standard presentation which means assessors will be comparing ‘apples with apples’.
And to ensure job relevance, ensure the video enables them to actually demonstrate job skills. For example, if you are employing a sales person, ask them to do a 3 minute pitch for your product. If you are recruiting a finance manager ask them to do present a financial analysis of a particular product.
So, I believe that if you can coach and train your managers to follow these best practices when using video resumes, they can become a benefit and not a threat to your hiring process.