Spotlight on video CVs

First the paper CV gave way to the e-mail version, and now it appears that the US is moving towards the use of the video format.

New research from career publisher Vault Inc found that 89% of American employers would watch a video résumé if it were submitted to them, although only 17% have seen one. More than half said they believe such CVs will become a common addition to future job applications.

“It’s still early days but they are becoming increasingly popular among American employers,” says Simon Mitchell, director at global HR consultancy DDI.

“We find that it is driven both by curiosity and by social trends such as the use of video website YouTube.”

Missed demeanour

Recruiters also like the idea of assessing a candidate’s presentation and demeanour before meeting them, as well as getting a better sense of their job experience.

In the UK, Jason Atkinson, director at interim management company Russam GMS, says that he is increasingly receiving short video clips as CV attachments from candidates who want to differentiate themselves.

“For us, they’re great, because it means we have greater certainty that the candidate is right for the job,” he says. “It also enables us to see people’s softer skills early on in the recruitment process.

“For employees, video clips are relatively easy and quick to put together and help them stand out from the crowd, which can often be a challenge with traditional application methods.”

Just dabbling

Felix Wetzel, marketing director at, says there a growing number of websites are providing video CV services in the UK.

“But at this stage, the UK is just dabbling in the area,” he adds. “Most employers still prefer more traditional applications,” he insists.

There is currently no standard template for a video CV. Wetzel explains: “This makes them hard to compare with each other, and with paper CVs or applications. Multimedia data management systems could be necessary to manage the process, and these are not cheap.”

Ben Hawkes, director of consulting at global recruitment and retention specialist Kenexa, says there are also other reasons why video CVs are a headache for recruiters, which will ultimately stop them taking off in the UK. “Will people be prepared to sit through dozens of videos when CVs and application forms can be put on a database and searched in seconds?” he asks.

Legal implications

Then there are the legal implications. Many US recruiters won’t even accept CVs with photos attached for fear of lawsuits by candidates who could claim bias based on race, gender or age. These factors are indiscernible on paper, but not on video.

Stevan Rolls, an HR director at Deloitte, believes that some HR departments in the UK would have similar concerns. “I think there is a risk of the perception of discrimination creeping in,” he says.

Rolls believes that the CV stage should deal with only objective facts. “I can see that recruiters get a better feel for the candidate with a video CV, but what you really need at this stage of the process is factual information,” he says.

“For this reason, I’m not sure video CVs will become popular here. But if they do, I think things such as structured scoring guidelines and competency frameworks will become an even more important part of the recruitment process than ever.”

Video factfile

  • Video CVs are most likely to be used in creative industries.
  • Recruiters who favour them believe the best ones demonstrate personality, and provide examples of what the candidate has achieved in their work.
  • It is generally agreed that video CVs should not be longer than two minutes.
  • Poor production is considered one of the biggest potential letdowns of video CVs.

By Kate Hilpern

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