The Video CV – Will it take off?

Truthfully, nobody knows. But let’s dig a little deeper.

Video CVs are not new. The technology has been available for over 10 years and the concept has been talked about for the last five years as the substitute for written CVs.  So why should we care now?

The answer is that money seems to be pouring into this technology with new video CV production companies and video CV job sites sprouting up in the US and UK.  With the dramatic growth of YouTube and the proliferation of HD quality video recorders on camera and mobile phones, it is hardly surprising that some see the future as video.

In addition, research supports investment into video CV businesses with a Career Publisher survey revealing that 89% of employers said they would be open to video CVs, with 50% expecting them to be de rigueur in the future.

The arguments for their increased usage go as follows:

 

  • They present a view of the individual that is never achievable on paper.  And true enough people with great interpersonal skills or larger than life personalities can make great play of their skills in a video.

 

 

  • You get to see and hear the individual as a human, not a piece of paper.  This means you can get a better handle on that individual, which a CV could never do.

 

 

  • With a mass of written CVs, employers need something else to help them cut to the chase more easily, which proponents believe a video CV can do

 

 

  • To employers, they can act as a replacement for the first interview so saving them recruitment costs.

 

We certainly agree that there is great truth to points one and two, which is the very reason why these aspects are tested at interview. Arguably for some professions the video CV will work – for actors, presenters, bar staff, PAs or sales staff (possibly).  Anyone where your looks, communication skills and personality can be critical factors for the role.  A video CV is less likely to sway a management consultancy, for example.

Having said that we still feel the video CV is an unproven method that will have difficulty reaching the same scale as the written CV.  The reason is that once the video CV becomes mass market, the problems it was intended to solve return.  Today, Video CVs are a novelty for most who receive them.  As the same Career Publisher survey reported, only 17% of employers have ever seen a Video CV. As such, they stand out and so can be effective.

But once everyone does them, we are back to square one.  In an increasingly time poor society, where employers use the contacts of their staff, Facebook and LinkedIn to find good candidates with strong recommendations, and recruiters can spare barely 60 seconds to review a CV, the video CV is going to operate in a tough market.  And as employers are inundated with them, they may find they have little appetite to screen hundreds without a way to skim them.

The other major drawback with video CVs is that tailoring them for different roles is difficult or time-consuming, especially when video quality expectations rise. Perhaps when people become experts at editing video will this problem become more manageable. Otherwise, the video CV may only work well for those applying for fairly standard roles, such as secretarial work or retail sales, where the skills and experiences required are more standardised.

As such, there really is no substitute for the written CV in that crucial first step.  Perhaps there is room for the video CV in future, but first it needs to find the right place in the recruitment continuum if it is to make a major impact.  Hence the current reported problem with video CVs: noone is yet quite sure what a good video CV is from the perspective of employers and recruiters.  It does look like another case of the technology outstripping the demand.

Will the demand catch up? That is the real question.

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