Video did more than "kill the radio star". They could also seriously handicap your job search if you are not careful. Read this brilliant article by SmartMoney that in my opinion perfectly frames the discussion about the value (or lack thereof) of video resumes.
What really burns me is that there are companies out there who are completely taking advantage of desperate job seekers and convincing them that these types of gimmicky job search tools will actually help them. While I'll admit that there actually are a few good applications for video during the job search process (will post on this next), for the most part I'd say this is a perfect example of a "can't help...might hurt" idea.
PROBLEM #1: The first problem is that most Hiring Managers and HR people won't read them. This means the time and money you'll spend to produce these will be a big waste. Here's why:
Most video resumes will be anywhere from 5-10 minutes (some even longer!). The audience will need to toggle with the controls to get to the speaking part of the resume section they are most interested in and then will have to suffer through the candidate's lengthy discourse on that section. Picture yourself as a recruiter who just had 250 people apply to your job. Resumes are sorted and filtered in a matter of seconds if a computer is doing it and no more than 20-30 seconds if a person is doing the filtering. Are you really going to stop and spend 3 minutes to find out if someone is qualified?
Resumes need to be sourced and parsed into a company's candidate management platform (otherwise known as an Applicant Tracking System: ATS). This allows profiles to be weighted and fed back to the recruiter in a sensible way. A video resume lives outside the ATS inventory which means you cannot be ranked and called up on a relevant search with the ATS database. Unless you've also submitted a hard resume, you'll be left out of any traditional internal candidate search.
Once the recruiter has seen that this person is of a certain age or race for example, there is a real issue if the recruiter rejects this person and doesn't have purely qualification-based reasons for doing so. And even if no discriminatory intentions or actions were taken, the second that a recruiter looks at the video, they put themselves in a position to be judged on this. This is the similar problem recruiters deal with when using Facebook or other more personal profiles during the application phase.
PROBLEM #2: You'll have even more problems if they do actually view your video!
Let's face it. Unless you hired Martin Scorsese to direct it, this is likely to be a low budget kind of thing you film in your basement. Cheap audio, bad lighting, no stylist handy and...oh yeah...the camera adds ten pounds. Is this really your idea of putting your best foot forward??
Everyone will feel the need to fill up the time and will no doubt "wax on" too much at some point during the video. You could be the perfect candidate for them until the manager hears you go off on a tangent about a project you managed 5 years ago. The risk you run of unintentionally boring the manager at some or many points during this video is way too high to ignore.
There could be some useful clips about certain aspects of your background and these could end up being used as a substitute for picking up the phone and calling you or inviting you in for an interview to speak about these skills in person. You might say...that's good right? No! The goal is to get an actual interview - an interactive
setting to discuss the job opportunity and your qualifications. One-way, asynchronous communication can hurt you here if it pushes off the need to meet you. Let a strong resume be your bait to land an interview with the hiring manager.
Bottom line: Videos can be a good tool during the job search process (stay tuned for the next post on this topic). But do NOT use it as a flat-out substitute for a traditional application and assume this novelty will give you some sort of upper hand. Video resumes are more likely to do harm then do good. You've been warned.
Any video resume evangelists out there who think I have this wrong?? :)