Twentysomething: Video resumes are a short-term fad


By Ryan Healy – Video resumes are the hot new topic in recruiting these days. It seems that everyone has an opinion. And job listing sites like CareerBuilder have even launched video resume services.

At first glance a video resume seems like a natural step in the recruiting process. But here are five reasons why video resumes will be a short-term fad:

1. Looking good on camera is a learned skill
Professional newscasters, anchors, and reporters, go to school for years to learn how best to present themselves on camera. Others of us have never practiced. We don’t know how to sit, we don’t know what to wear, we don’t know where to look, and nobody has taught us how to appear relaxed.

As I recently found out in a brief media training session, there are actually people who teach you all of these things before an on air interview. And, I can promise, they are not cheap! If video resumes become the norm, colleges will be forced to create semester long classes on how to present yourself on camera, and those of us out of school will need to hire personal media trainers just to get a job. For most people these are totally unnecessary expenses.

2. Written communication is more important
The majority of my co-worker interaction takes place via email or instant messenger. This is true for most large technologically advanced companies, and the trend is only going to continue. Phone calls are a rarity and face to face meetings are even rarer. Having face-to-face people skills is important when selling or giving live presentations, but in general, written communication is much more critical.

More and more companies are finding a wide range of benefits to promoting remote work arrangements. These new ways of working lead to decreased one-on-one communication and increased written communication. Occasionally I will receive an email with misspellings or terrible punctuation, and this typically makes me think the person is not up for the job or just plain lazy. So ditch the camera and create a blog to show recruiters what you’re all about.

3. Most jobs never require you to be on camera
How many jobs actually require you to be on camera? I can’t think of more than a handful. Unless you are a media professional, public relations expert or high-level figure in a large organization you will not be on camera. Even if you are in one of these positions, you better believe you will be professionally trained for hours before going on camera.

Further, lets face it, we are all different. Some of us are a little shy, some might panic alone in front of a camera, and some are energetic, charming and charismatic. These traits don’t necessarily have any bearing on how well we will perform our jobs as a desk jockey. If the average person will never be on camera during their career, why does it matter how they appear in a video?

4. Video resumes will lead to discrimination lawsuits
Most recruiters spend less than a minute looking at a resume. When receiving a typical paper resume, that one minute will be spent actually reading the words on the page and judging an applicant based on skills, prior experiences and education. If a recruiter spends less than a minute watching a video of a potential candidate, it will be impossible not to notice if the person is white, black, Hispanic, Indian or anything in between.

Whether they want to or not, this brief first impression will play a role in deciding whether or not to pursue a candidate. “Just don’t even deal with them,” says Dennis Brown, an attorney from San Jose, Calif. “This is one of those instances where a little bit of unnecessary knowledge is dangerous,” Rightfully so or not, somewhere along the way, video resumes will turn into a discrimination suit that recruiters and companies want nothing to do with.

5. You can see all my pictures on Facebook
If the real issue is that recruiters want to see pictures of their candidates, all they need to do is jump on Facebook or Myspace. Type in the candidate’s name and check out all the pictures you would like. I highly doubt that recruiters have the time or desire to stalk recruits on Facebook, but if it’s really important, you don’t need a video resume to get a sneak peak.

It’s the 21st century; the fact that we even consider a video resume to be the future of recruiting is almost laughable. It didn’t work in the ’90s, and now the success of YouTube has brought it into the public eye, but I’m sure we can get more creative if we try!

Ryan Healy’s blog is Employee Evolution.

23 replies
  1. Matt Bingham
    Matt Bingham says:

    I agree that video resumes are probably not going to stick around that long, but in your opinion, where do you see recruiting going in the future? Will the old fashioned resume still be around in 10-15 years? Interesting to think about actually – with all the business evolution that has happened, the resume has held fast as the main recruiting tool.



    It really is interesting to think about where recruiting will go in the future. I would suspect personal websites or something more interactive than a piece of paper, but who knows. I recommend getting out there, networking like crazy, and making the right connections. That way there is not much need to worry about a resume.

    Interestingly enough, I would bet the same people who are charismatic on camera aren’t as worried about normal resumes or video resumes because they do a better job of networking then the reserved folks.


  2. Tyson
    Tyson says:

    I don’t see the problem with video resumes. If anything, wouldn’t they just give recruiters more to look at? Traditional resumes are so old school, but for some reason it’s held on as the preferred reference style.

    If recruiters don’t have the ability to look past a candidates race, sex or physical appearance, they really don’t deserve to be recruiters in the first place.

    My opinion is that if recruiters would stop being lazy about watching a few videos they would be amazed by some of the great recruits they passed up on a piece of paper.

    So why not give it shot?

  3. TDavid
    TDavid says:

    “Written communication is a more important”

    A more important … what? Ahh, wait, that was fixed in a follow-up edit. That pesky publish button!

  4. College Knowledge
    College Knowledge says:

    Employers can’t see whatever picture they want of a prospective employee if the prospective employee decides to turn up their privacy settings on Facebook (for instance, not allowing non-friends to see pictures/photo albums)

    Anyways, just a heads up. Good post.


    Very true. But if they really care, I’m sure they could find a way. Thanks.


  5. Jon Morrow
    Jon Morrow says:

    Well, let’s think about this for a second.

    Why does a video résumé have to include a talking head? A web designer might do a screencast, narrating as they went through their work. As shown by sites like tubetorial, videos can be successful without talking heads.

    Granted, many jobseekers don’t know how to record a screencast either, but that could change in the future.

    In any case, I don’t see video résumés becoming required anytime soon, but I do think they could be a great way to differentiate yourself against all of the other people that send in a boring paper résumé.

    Just some thoughts.

  6. Quasar9
    Quasar9 says:

    I thought video resumes were the fad twenty years ago when hand held video cams became avaiable for not much more than £1000 with prices going down day by day.

    I guess it’s all down to watch job you are applying for:

    Marketing & Design might want to see your portfolio whether photographic or electronic on DVD, samples of your flower arrangements? samples of your dress designs? samples of your interior design work? samples of your garden design? samples of your website or blog design? …

    But most firms just want to know that you fit the bill, ie have the ‘verifiable’ experience and qualifications – and the interview is where you need to shine (hey even if you look good on video, you still have to be able to shine in real life or face to face – unless you are a porn star)

    And funally at least in Europe most government or civil service like jobs come with application form only. You have to be able to fill in the boxes, and not scribble outside the margins – lol.

    Of course you do get a section where you can add anything that may make you stand out above the rest of the crowd.

    However employing people is still a very random selection with smaller firms or those with HR employees with less experience simply looking for either the highest qualification (to be awed by), or the lowest common denominator – someone who will not make insecure people feel uncomfortable.

    The measure of any business & any firm employee is the measure of the boss and/or recruitment. Those who are not intimidated by those who know more and hire the better quality people, and those who try to maintain an established hierarchy and employ people ‘beneath’ them.

    I shall not give any examples here, but I think it is clear to most of us which kind of circumstances we are talking about. After all a football manager/coach will want a high scorer a winner, whereas a player/coach may want someone who follows his ‘orders’ … and so on.

    Qualifications don’t make the person but are an easy way to limit number of applicants, experience doesn’t make the person but it certainly counts for a lot, but though pesonality cannot make up for qualfications or experience, it goes a long way in the hospitality industry.

  7. Kathryn
    Kathryn says:

    Sorry to rain on the parade, but didn’t Penelope make these same points a few weeks back? Although the Facebook one is new.

  8. Carolyn Elefant
    Carolyn Elefant says:

    I disagree. And the reason? The i-phone. I-phone makes it incredibly easy to scroll through videos posted on YouTube. I think we’ll see lots of job candidates posting links to online snips that i-phone owners can flip through while riding the train or eating lunch. Video is the next big thing.

  9. DJ FunkyGrrL
    DJ FunkyGrrL says:

    Unless one is trying to acquire a job in Hollywood as an: actor, dancer, model or commercials, I don’t see the positives for average people using video resumes.

  10. leslie
    leslie says:

    I think learning some acting skills can help job hunters in the interview process, whether we have video résumés or not, eventually we all end up talking to a stranger in a one on one situation.

  11. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    Video resumes are also “noisy” and in many work environments there are fewer private offices. If a hiring manager (whether HR, or the team leader looking for help) receives a video resume, he/she would either have to go somewhere else to view it, or force others around them to listen to it.

    Employees should be wary of confidentiality in the latter case (and an employer could get into legal trouble on this issue). Hiring managers will not want to move every time a resume is e-mailed to them.

    And I agree with the other commenters — as a job seeker, don’t give the employer too much irrelevant information as your skills and experience will get lost in the flood. A resume is a focused document, a video is not.

    “A picture says 1000 words” and videos are hundreds of pictures sewn together, so a video is like sending a million words.

    But with a resume, you really only want to say 100 targeted words about why you are the right fit.

  12. Shefaly
    Shefaly says:

    Wendy says: “"A picture says 1000 words" and videos are hundreds of pictures sewn together, so a video is like sending a million words.”

    All of those million words can be used by the employer firm to defend themselves when a discrimination lawsuit lands on their doorstep. There is a reason why some practices are not common. Employers also want to be safe against such potential issues.

    Way back, when I was graduating b-school, one smart-arse in my class stuck his photo under ‘any thing else you wish to tell us’ on the Procter and Gamble paper application form. Needless to say despite perfect grades in Marketing etc, he was not even short-listed in campus recruitment! The P&G guys, whose form did not even ask for gender, an otherwise common question, took great exception to it.

  13. Working Girl
    Working Girl says:

    Thank God. So nice to know that “written communication” is turning out to be again important. I, too, have never been able to help judging people by their spelling and punctuation. For a while the attitude was that really smart people don’t need to care about spelling, etc., and that those who did care were just anal-retentive types.

    Anyway, I think videos in general are more time-consuming than print. You spend more time getting less content.

    Good post.

  14. Jessi
    Jessi says:

    I mostly agree….I think it is a good opportunity for spokepeople,actors,and such….but, for the general job-seeker I agree that written communication is the best source for getting to know someone before the in-person interview.

  15. Jason Warner
    Jason Warner says:


    As a senior recruiting leader, I agree that video resumes in their present form are not compelling. Yes, most recruiters spend less than 1 minute (I would estimate 20 seconds tops) on a resume… we certainly don’t want to hear candidates read one.

    I do predict that video will become an increasing part of the candidate experience for several reasons:

    1.) As a pre-screening tool, it allows recruiters to quickly review a candidate’s communication skills and similar core traits, but it also serves to shift time in the same way Tivo does. This creates significant talent marketplace efficiencies; but most importantly, it does so for both candidates and employers (dual economic gain).

    2.) It allows potential candidates to be screened for multiple jobs, creating significant candidate-side efficiencies, which will become more important as the demographic landscape continues to shift. ie, if I am a candidate, I can answer several core questions (tell me about a time when you were really challenged in your career… What was the situation? What actions did you take? What made you successful…)on video and then submit that video to multiple companies.

    Video won’t die in regards to the job hunt. We’ll just have to incorporate the technology more smartly than we do today.



    Interesting points. I do believe resumes will evolve in some way, recent advances in technology make this inevitable. The videos you are describing actually sound a lot more like “video interviews” rather than “video resumes,” but maybe that is the future of resumes. A sheet of paper cannot be the best way to represent each candidate, but the current video resumes actually seem like a step in the wrong direction. It’s the Web 2.0 era, we can be more creative.


  16. Mark Radoff
    Mark Radoff says:

    Well, I don’t think they’re going to disappear, but I don’t think they’re going to revolutionize the market either. I think they basically augment the current process. One of the biggest problems in the hiring market for many employers is a torrent of applications. If you add videos to the mix, they could be a differentiator for some, but that would require the recruiter to break their regular filtering process. And if everybody does videos, the initial screening becomes that much more time consuming. Furthermore, you can’t scan a video for data like you can scan a CV or resume. So they are not effective for first pass. By second pass you’re already at a brief phone interview anyway. So unless the person is candidate is doing a job that’s appearance-intensive (TV anchorperson) to the point of eliminating lawsuit liability, I just don’t see that video resumes are going to revolutionize things.

  17. Rachel Evans
    Rachel Evans says:


    I agree with you that video resumes will not replace the traditional paper resume as they present a number of unique challenges for both job applicants and recruiters.

    A more creative way to use video within the job application process does exist. Webcam recorded interviews can offer many unique advantages, including the fact that job seekers can complete the interview at a time most convenient for them, and that job seekers now have the opportunity to be considered for positions in different geographic regions. Without a video component within the application process, recruiters often pass over these candidates over due to high travel costs.

    I am not suggesting that the traditional candidate screening process be replaced, but enhanced by the use of video. A combination of employer-specified questions requiring recorded video, audio and/or text responses helps applicants to highlight their personality, communication skills and fit not apparent on their resume. I have several years of experience as a recruiter and know that good candidates are passed over because they do not have a strong resume or a resume with the appropriate keywords. Recruiters simply don’t have the time to meet the person behind each resume.

    Using a webcam is easy and any initial discomfort is quickly eliminated as there are clear advantages to showing the recruiter who you are. For the majority of occupations, verbal communication continues to be an increasingly important skill – €“ written communication can be very efficient, but is subject to misinterpretation and is unable to convey emotions as effectively as a face to face conversation. Emoticons give it their best shot – €“ but a real smile can never be replaced, especially within the job application process!

    Of course we are all different! This doesn’t deter us from in-person interviews, so I think it is a moot point when discussing the use of video. I would argue that applicants are more comfortable doing a webcam recorded video interview as they are able to create one from the comfort of their own home!

    Indeed it is the 21st century, and the traditional recruitment screening process needs to catch up! That being said, it must be done in a way that benefits BOTH job applicants and recruiters. By using webcam recorded interview questions in addition to a resume and written text responses, job applicants can now show recruiters and employers that they are so much more than their resume.

    Rachel Evans, MBA, BSc.
    InterActive Applicant

  18. Darrin
    Darrin says:

    This is a pretty good conversation. I am still torn because I am seeing the trend shift. I started doing some research on the validity of the video resume and have to say that I can see both sides clearly. To date, the platform for the video resume is horrible. Where does someone post it on youtube or Is this a destination site for employers? I think there is so much here that video resumes definitely cannot be ignored. I want to argue that today is the day for this medium. This is the first of now 3 part series on video resumes with a lot more to come. Thanks for your comments.

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