Video CVs – The Future?

Technology is really opening up new possibilities for recruitment, and there was an interesting round-up on the BBC News website which was recommended this week.*

The most striking example was Graeme Anthony’s YouTube C.V.I.V – curriculum vitae interactive video, a series of hyperlinked short videos, hosted on YouTube.

It was created in 24 hours using simple video (though with the help of a friend in the video profession), YouTube animations for the links, some basic props, and the most effective part – someone whose personality came across in the video, someone who gave you confidence that you were seeing at least a part of the real person.

Have a look at the video embedded below – the interactive links will take you to the YouTube site itself to see the other hyperlinked videos.

Come back here and read the comments below if you want to read my take on where this might lead, the possibilities and pitfalls – and have your say in our poll.

Impressive, eh?

Over the last few months, companies have been swarming all over the Careers Service, pushing their video or social media linked online CV services. Our challenge has been – should we promote them, or partner with them to offer you this service?

If these take off, we want you to be at the forefront – we should be doing anything we can to help make it easier for you to promote yourself.

As I think the video above shows, it can help get across so much more than a standard CV.

Most people find writing a good CV a real challenge – if you’re new to writing CVs, it’s hard to figure out how to use the appropriate conventions, language, format and still be concise enough to get your message across in (generally) 2 pages.

For some industries (probably media, PR, sales), video CVs are likely to be of interest. Of course, these are the ones which will get written about in the media and on PR blurbs. I don’t envisage such a rush to video CVs for chemists or  … mmm, I was going to say librarians, but they’re some of the most digitally savvy people around – anyway, other jobs where looks or self-promotion aren’t such a big deal.

Most of the video CVs I’ve seen feature scrubbed and shiny faced, suited and booted, aspiring business men and women who look about as natural and “real” as the standard conventional written CV – no real sense of the person behind the video (or if they are real, I’d cross the street to avoid them – and I’ve been a recruiter in business/industry).

I suspect most recruiters would be reluctant to spend time looking for candidates who don’t have specialist skills or experience to offer. In the same way that I’m sceptical about just uploading your CV to general jobs sites, I think lots of new graduates and postgraduates could spend time crafting a video CV which no-one bothers to look at – or at most, only gets skimmed through for the first 10 seconds, while a recruiter tries to find someone they “like the look of”, which brings me to my next point.

I really worry that it’s a retrograde step, where what you look like is as (or more) important than what you can do. That has all the pitfalls of recruiters making instant judgements on candidates based on gender, ethnicity, disability, age, or simply on “good looks”. All the work done in recent years to try to take these factors out of the application stage is undone in an instant.

Digital divide
The other “con” is access to the technology to put your video CV online. This has the potential to lead to digital disenfranchisement where those who can afford to make professionally produced videos have the best life chances.

This is where the online CV start-up companies hovering round careers services come in. Some of them are offering a model where you don’t pay to make your video CV. They make their money in other ways eg from employers paying if they recruit a candidate on their database, just like any recruitment agency, or by promoting training courses to candidates (which you pay for).

Careers Service Conundrum
Our challenge is – should we partner with or promote these services to give you easy/free access to video CV providers to avoid you losing out, in spite of the “cons” outlined above?

UPDATE (later on the same day!):
This is more timely than I realised – apparently we’ve just started a trial on our website using a video CV provider to give you feedback on your “interview technique”. If you want to see what’s on offer, have a look at our “Interview feedback tool” page, and let me know what you think.

Got any views ? (on video CVs generally, or on our trial)

Add your comments to this post and/or vote in the polls below:

(and yes, I do realise that we’ll probably get all the online video CV companies voting in this poll, so it’s just for fun – we won’t be deciding Careers Service policy in this way!)

(* thanks to @tahiramajothi and @cristinacost for drawing my attention to the BBC story)