Idealpeople Blog: Video CVs: The Future of Job-Seeking?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Video CVs: The Future of Job-Seeking?

Building on something we mentioned in the first instalment of our CV tips - in which we made a point about how CVs are taking a little bit of stick for being unfit for their purpose, we thought we'd open some dialogue on Video CVs. To the unitiated, a Video CV is a presentation of your skills using Video, and not a traditional paper-based medium, as the format.

According to some commentators, the Video CV could well be the future.

So, true to form, here's our viewpoint.

First, we'd stress that to date, we've not yet seen what we would term a true Video CV. So, to form a truer opinion, we had to do some digging. Thanks to the wonder that is Youtube, we were able to sit down and watch some.

Looking through some of the examples, there appears to be a common structure, and that is people standing in front of a camera, reading their paper CV. There are some more creative efforts, but the "evolving format" seems to be one of adding a name and a voice to a CV.

We found this a bit surprising. We have seen some brilliant video-based presentations as extras to CVs: presentations, showreels, portfolios - and we have seen the benefits that these extras can make to an application.

We decided we needed to know the benefits that Video CV's are supposed to give candidates. So we did some more research, and here you go:

- More chance to get noticed: the central premise is that a Video CV is different, and creates an impression, giving you a higher chance of sticking in the mind of the person reviewing the application.
- Offers a unique chance to really put forward your personality, abilities, talents and motivation.
- Demonstrate your personality, experience and communication skills far better than you can do on paper.
- Give yourself a competitive edge over rival candidates.

All of these are fair enough as differentiators in support of Video CVs, but we think that unless people are careful about how they create their Video CVs, then all of these will be missed. Video as a media format was created to deliver content in a different way. Newspapers portray their content in a different way to Television News. Written newspapers allow depth of information, and they allow people to digest information in whatever order they please, and at whatever pace they decide on. TV on the other hand has to portray information differently: the ordering of the information is fixed - but the visual element of television allows for information to be presented differently.

You wouldn't see the value in a TV newsreader sitting in front of the camera reading the newspaper, so where's the value in a Video CV consisting of a candidate reading their CV?

If this is as far as the Video CV ever goes, then there are other problems with the format in general. These are:

- It takes longer to watch a two minute video CV than it does to read a CV. As crass as this sounds, most CV readers are able to review a CV very quickly: they're looking for specific information which indicates the suitability of someone's background. Irrelevant applications can be screened out quickly. With Video CVs, you'll have to keep watching until the end.

- Video CVs aren't searchable. Technology already means that if you put your written CV on-line, Recruiters can find it and get in touch. A Video CV can't do this.

- It potentially opens a candidate up to discrimination. Just imagine if the hiring manager doesn't like your haircut or the clothes you wear.

We fully support the use of Video CVs. But we do so with a bit of a plea added on: if you're going to produce one, make it something more than just you, stood in front of a camera. Make it something which showcases what you've done and what you've achieved - but take it completely away from the traditional CV format. Think if I were asked to make a TV show about me, what would I do? not If I were asked to read my CV out loud, how would I do it?

We look forward to seeing some examples....

1 comment:

Darren said...

This is an interesting opener and it raises a number of issues that I'm currently involved in attempting to better understand in relation to Video CV’s.

I'll start by pointing out that this is the first time I've ever responded to a blog posting in any shape, way or form, however, when this posting came through via my Google alerts I really wanted to post a comment due to its timely & relevant (to me) nature.... and hopefully to receive some feedback from others involved in this field.

I have spent the past week or so talking to various recruitment agents, jobsites and employers about a service that the company I work for launched just over a week ago and no surprises for guessing that it's an online Video CV & Virtual Interview service (face2faceCV.com).

A key factor behind developing and launching this site is that a large proportion of the UK's employable population is now online and is also increasingly comfortable in front of a webcam. Millions of individuals ‘sell themselves' to their friends and peers every day (in similar ways & using similar techniques) through social networking sites. It seems a logical progression for individuals to be selling themselves to potential employers in the same way.... given time and the right tools; coupled with a reasonable assumption that this ‘comfortable' proportion is only ever going to increase from hereonin.

Before I comment on some of the points raised in the original posting its worth giving a very brief summary of our current status;
- Jobseekers and Candidates record generic Video CV and/or Virtual Interview responses online; direct from a webcam and are able to edit and change this as often as they like. They are also able to create multiple video profiles in response to specific invitations (and questions) set by employers and recruiters.

- Employers and Recruiters are able to create individual campaigns; set their own unique question(s) and then invite any candidate of their choice using the e-mail templates, which include a unique campaign code. Invited candidates enter the campaign code and are then able to respond to a specific virtual interview.

That’s the ‘plug’ over and now onto the points raised...

(1) The Format of Video CV & Virtual Interviews
In agreement that there is no point (or value) in candidates simply recording an audio-visual replica of their paper CV. This is the reason we included the option for employers & recruiters to shortlist candidates and to set their own questions; then invite those candidates to record responses to specific questions, either separately or in conjunction with a generic Video CV.

(2) Candidate Recording & Responses
Again in agreement, candidates DO need guidance on recording. If not, they may as well not bother since it could actually have an adverse affect on their chances. We’re currently looking to add a Candidates Do/Don't list and ‘best practise recording guidelines'. We’re working with a film production company to help put this together, however any input from others is very welcome.

Some other points raised that we’re also trying to understand…

(3) Searchable Video
This is one aspect that I would be really interested to receive some feedback. The reason being that we already own and use this type of search technology in other streamed-video applications and we’re currently trying to determine its ‘value’ to all concerned within face2faceCV.

We have a KM / search & retrieve application that's already in use in a number of online training solutions. We work with a number of video & film training-production companies who each have an online video archive(sometimes thousands of productions) that we make ‘searchable’ in such a way that we can actually return search results to users andthen take the user directly to the section of a particular training video where the search-phrase is 'spoken'.

We have no idea of the value of integrating this facility into the existing face2faceCV service but really would welcome feedback as to the potential usefulness/value. Our current thinking is that if the employer/recruiter is already able to set their own questions, as well as well as being able to view as much (or as little) as they choose of the candidates generic VideoCV, then is a ‘search & go direct to video section’ really necessary? All commentary and thoughts welcome thanks!

(4) Aspects of Discrimination
What we (and others) are trying to understand is;

“Is the likelihood of discrimination any greater using VideoCV, than may currently be prevalent in the traditional decision making process"?

From the companies that I’ve met with in the past 2 weeks the response has been a complete mixed bag and hence once again any other further thoughts are welcome.


Summary
My personal view is that the market will ‘pull’ the use of VideoCV over time…..
- Quality candidates and jobseekers will use it to gain an edge
- Employers and recruiters will use Video CV to reduce screening costs
and it will become a case of having to be in it to win it or as the old saying goes ‘cream rises to the top’.

That said, there are a whole variety of issues relating to legislation; discrimination; individual company procedures & guidelines; recruitment industry guidelines etc etc, any or all of which may be a roadblock for certain organisations. Not to mention the fact that for some positions there may always be little to no value in pre-screening candidates using Video CV’s or virtual interviews.

I certainly don’t have all the answers but if anyone does then I’d love to hear back.