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Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Video Resumes

by
Dave Lefkow
Mar 21, 2007

Video resumes and video interviews are here. Yet some employers, afraid of the legal ramifications of reviewing videos of people in the hiring process, are curling up into the fetal position and taking steps to avoid them altogether. Here’s why you should do the exact opposite and fully embrace them.

I recently had a conversation with a director of recruiting at a large organization who said that he had just put a policy in place to reject all video resumes. “And why would you do that?” I asked.

“Because I don’t want the EEOC or OFCCP breathing down our necks and want to be protected if we are ever sued for discrimination,” was his response.

As I’m about to illustrate, legally protecting yourself from video resumes or interviews would require locking all of your recruiters and hiring managers in a broom closet with a copy of the Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership.

I also fully expect pigs to fly well before the EEOC or OFCCP can develop sensible regulations that address the unique challenges presented by these new tools. This is exactly why you should embrace them for all of the benefits they can provide to hiring managers, recruiters, and candidates.

What Videos Can Do for You, Your Hiring Managers, and Candidates

Within the discourse on video resumes, I think we’re really talking about two different things here: video resumes and video interviews.

A video resume is something that someone uses to talk about their experiences as part of an online resume. It’s essentially an advertising tool for the job seeker. A video interview is something that an employer initiates to get a better feel for a candidate’s competence to do the job.

In short, a video resume can help you learn more about a person than you can on a resume, without expecting the candidate to undergo formal questioning or having them take the time to answer questions you design.

This may sound superficial, but sometimes you just know that someone’s not going to work out; every recruiter I know tells me stories about candidates who looked great on paper, sounded just great over the phone, but were loony tunes in person.

Recruiters won’t ever have time to sort through hours of video, but if videos are tied to resumes or profiles that provide more structured data, the unstructured video portion of their profile helps fill in some details that the resume wouldn’t (for example, if it’s a job that requires executive presentation skills, can the person deliver information on themselves confidently and credibly?).

Video interviews, like those provided by HireVUE or (coming soon) InterviewStudio, can save you the time and expense of flying in candidates for interviews, lengthen your memory about the interviews you had earlier in the hiring process (people who interview later in the process usually have a better shot than those who preceded them), and provide a more courteous experience for candidates, who can avoid flying all the way across the country for roles that they’re destined to bomb in the interview process.

There might be some shades of gray in between, such as a video resume that includes answers to stock interview questions. See The Vault’s recent contest winners for an example, most of whom treated the opportunity to create a video resume as more of an interview than anything. To be fair, the contest was for investment bankers, and we all know the danger of getting too personal or cocky with your video resume in that industry.

Why Your Recruiters Can’t Avoid Them

Video resumes can be anywhere, which is why your recruiters and hiring managers simply can’t avoid them.

Video resumes can pop up on YouTube or any number of sites like The Vault, Resume Movie, TalkingCV, personal websites, or even Jobster, which was recently one of the first major career sites to allow video resumes within profiles.

Unless you keep your recruiters off the Internet altogether, which would be foolish given the number of great candidates out there and the fact that some recruiting inevitably happens on home computers, you really can’t keep them from seeing video resumes.

So your range of options for regulating this phenomenon are:

  • Discourage people from sending video resumes. But candidates are famous for taking whatever advice you give them and doing the exact opposite in large numbers.
  • Don’t accept video resumes. You can write whatever policy you like on this, but someone, somewhere is still going to receive a video resume. I’m not a rule breaker, but if I got one I’d look at it. Curiosity is a powerful thing.
  • Tell your recruiters to close their eyes. You might even give them a video resume blindfold that they can put on anytime they accidentally click on a link.

All of these policies are clearly unenforceable. The underlying fear here is that people in your company will discriminate against someone because of race, age, gender, and any number of other, more superficial factors not related to this person’s ability to do the job.

Well, there are plenty of other opportunities to do this, like job fairs, networking events, chance encounters with candidates, blind dates, and of course interviews just to name a few. You might as well outlaw recruiting if your goal is to eliminate all places where a subjective and discriminatory judgment could be made.

Why the EEOC and OFCCP Can’t Regulate Them

Any time a new technology comes out, you can bet dollars to doughnuts that someone in the recruiting industry will immediately start asking about how this will be viewed by the EEOC or OFCCP.

I know that risk avoidance and mitigation are necessary parts of our business, but come on, people. I’m not saying we shouldn’t look before we leap, but let’s not let it get in the way of figuring out how a new technology can add value in our recruiting process and to our constituents.

I would argue that video resumes simply can’t be regulated by the EEOC or OFCCP. It would be rather foolish for them to try. Any attempts at regulations are also likely a long way away. Keep in mind that these are the organizations that took 12 years to define an Internet applicant.

The OFCCP’s much-publicized recent guidance in the Internet-applicant arena sent companies scurrying to figure out how they start tracking every single search their recruiters perform. This is close to impossible given the number of sources a recruiter may search, from their own applicant tracking system to Google, Windows Live, or Yahoo!, at home in their pajamas late at night while watching The Matrix trilogy.

I can only imagine their guidance on the definition of a video-resume applicant. Any link to that video must be captured in the applicant-tracking system; a transcript of what the individual said must be documented along with their gender, ethnicity, race, and clothing preferences; and all websites with videos that recruiters visit (at home or at work) must be retrievable at any given time.

Whether you like it or not, a candidate might one day (if they haven’t already) use a video resume in a lawsuit against your company. They could argue that, because their video resume is out on the open Web, your recruiters might have seen it and their appearance, gender, ethnicity, etc. is why they didn’t get interviewed or offered the job. It would be quite hard to prove that your recruiters never saw it.

Perhaps there’s some good that can come out of this. Instead of focusing on how we restrict access to information that could allow someone to discriminate, perhaps we could focus on educating our employees on how to use this new medium and why we shouldn’t discriminate against anyone in the first place.

Here to Stay

The digital world we live in is like the Wild West: hard to live in at times and even harder to regulate. With social networks, personal blogs, and now video resumes, we’re reaching a level of transparency that a lot of people may be uncomfortable with.

But all of these phenomena are here to stay. It’s how we use them that will make a real difference on whether they positively or negatively impact the recruiting industry.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. Bryan St.Laurent

    Dave, I agree with many points you make although I might have made them differently. But, on first blush, it not the ‘big bad EEOC’ that anyone has to be concerned about in the short term, I would suggest it’s the Trial Lawyers Association as far a video RESUMES are concerned. Attorneys will have plenty of opportunity to insert themselves into the equation before the regulators get involved, and in the meantime the possibilities and opportunities to bring incredible rigor to video INTERVIEWS could make them very sophisticated tools in the next 3-5 years. Tools that will allow as much automated data management, accountability and reporting functions as resumes provide today, with reduced legal exposure and increased EECO compliance.
    Just as you cited an employer creating a policy to not accept video resumes today, there are employers and other entities jumping on video interviews exactly because they are determined to begin positioning themselves for where they want to be in service delivery 3 years from now. These folks are clearly leaders and should be congratulated.
    Did you see the video resume on J**ster that has a guy with a photo of himself surrounded by Playboy bunnies, or the young lady with a corp ‘video resume’ that introduces 5-6 other people in her organization, but not her? I digress….all this kind of stuff has been on inappropriate sites like MySpace from the beginning….
    Bryan St.Laurent

  2. Steve Guine

    Our society has not evolved to the point where every person is given fair and equal treatment. I hope that day gets here. Meanwhile, it is not a best practice to encourage video resumes.

    The sad reality is that there are recruiters, and hiring managers in the business world who possess biases. I use as an example the fact that resumes containing ethnic-sounding first or last names are less likely to be contacted for an interview.

    Now, with a video resume, the hiring manager, or recruiter will only need to use their eyes to pick the desired candidate. Who do you think will be the obvious loser?

    Dave, your article is excellent and heartens me. There are good people in our profession. The article speaks to the very best about what we do. It is an ideal that should be worked toward as one of the ultimate goals. Unfortunately, the day when we are all judged by our experience, skills, and the content of our character is still a ways off.

    Best,

    Steve Guine

  3. Merlynn Bertini

    As expressed in the comments above. I do not think it is the EEOC that is the issue, but rather attorneys/litigation that is the concern. One potential ‘landmind’ issue would be recruiters (and depending on the work environment others around them) being exposed to ‘questionable or offensive’ images and/or sounds–video images and/or sounds are more invasive then the written word.

    The ‘workplace harassment’ case that could potentially arise out of this type of situation (however unintentional)is not a pleasant thought.

    Best,

    Merlynn Bertini

  4. Dave Lefkow

    Steve – thanks for the comments. Don’t hiring managers and recruiters end up meeting the candidate in the interview itself, which they can use to make a subjective judgment based on factors other than ability to do the job? What’s the difference between that and what they’d see on video?

  5. Steven Levy

    People in HR and recruiting once believed that searching for resumes, peeling back URLs, or (gasp!) ‘x-raying’ websites was illegal – like taking someone’s wallet off a table. Some still believe that checking MySpace or Facebook before a hire is bad, bad, bad. Please. We’re running organizations…remember? Integrity and judgment do make a difference.

    Just like Sarbox is being scaled back, so too will the ‘power’ of the Internet Applicant and equally arcane Uniform Guidelines. Sorry but the framers of the Constitution really weren’t that prescient to develop a document that was to stand the test of time. Society is fluid and dynamic: Are there any reasons to believe that recruiters are higher and mightier than everyone else?

    Welcome to our profession’s Y2K problem.

    Nice Dave.

  6. Karen Mattonen C.A.C., C.S.P

    Dave,
    excellent article, but I echo the comments here. Unfortunately the world may just not be ready for the resume as yet, as it may be for the interview.

    You posed a great question to Steve, and hopefully I may take the chance to answer.

    If I submit a resume and have a chance to be interviewed, I then have a chance to know I was picked because of my skills, my accomplishments, and abilities. My appearance, age, race, background, weight or any factors that could be considered discriminatory did not play into the equation.

    Unfortunately, the video interview disqualifies that opportunity. One can start play, see my appearance and personal characteristics within a Second, and hit stop, before I even have a chance to discuss my attributes that could be brought to the company.

    With the interview, it is easier for someone to be able to determine that they were not chosen because of personal characteristics.. unfortunately that becomes even more difficult with the delete button..

    Which as a previous post stated, with better automation and tracking, the video resume may onedeay become ‘acceptable’ – but that may be some time to come.

    Personally as a woman, who is bi-racial, over 40, this is a concern to me. Is it possible that companies will not consider me one day because I am unwilling to do a video resume. (I really don’t do camera very well, and I am very self conscious) Will they automatically wonder that something is ‘wrong’ with me because I submitted paper.

    Karen..

  7. Karen Mattonen C.A.C., C.S.P

    Steve,
    Not to be controversial, (okay, maybe I am), but do you not see some of the positive attributes that these regulations actually provide not only for the Citizen, but for the companies as well.

    Granted it does mean more paperwork (I have to be compliant re OFCCP due to a contract signed w/client) ? and it can be a bugger, but, at the same time, I realize that should I ever become audited, my good faith efforts are duly noted, and will lessen the time for an extensive and costly audit. Many Businesses have lauded SOX compliance as a good thing ? Investors, managers and owners have found that SOX actually allowed companies to SAVE money, reduce fraud and waste, they are able to count on more reliable documentation, more positive internal controls, with better use of those controls. Companies have actually found they saved money http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/article/0,1002,sid=36513&cid=114561,00.html Unexpected benefits of Sarbane

    You mentioned good faith efforts of individuals; Individuals having integrity and good judgment to make a difference. It is a great ideology, to allow us to be able to make our own guidelines, and believe that mankind is so gregarious and honorable that we will treat all well.

    But, if that was the Case, then situations like Enron would not have occurred. The impact that had on Millions, not just the employees well deserved much of the revision that came about from SOX

    I am not a Pro for Regulation, and thankfully the Government will revise much of what they bring to the table, but, in a way, Regulation may serve a purpose. To help guide people who A) don?t know better, B) who don?t want to know better, C) who don?t give a darn about anyone else but making more green for themselves.

    You asked are Are there any reasons to believe that recruiters are higher and mightier than everyone else? ? I respond with a Emphatic NO! we are not.. The same caution should apply in the delivery of our process, what we do on a day to day basis, because the same rules do apply to us, and we should be aware of how those actions that we implement may impact not only ourselves, but others as well.

    It is my personal belief that the OFCCP regulations will become more challenging as time goes by, but, yes, will include some minor changes as well, that may ease some burdens ? but until then, why should a person take risks that can create concerns? That is unless the financial Risk is worth the Return on the Investment.

  8. Steve Guine

    Dave,

    In answer to your question, I posit the following:

    A hiring manager/HR representative reviews my resume, and finds my background and qualifications a match for the position. I am contacted, and an interview is scheduled. I interview with the hiring manager, and the human resources rep. Now I get the opportunity to showcase my experience, and other skills that I can leverage for my prospective employer, and in the process convert a nay to a yes.

    With the video resume, which assumes that the playing field is level (as does the resume to a degree), there is no opportunity for me (ME) to engage the hiring manager in an interpersonal exchange. I am literally at their mercy.

    I hope this clarifies my position.

    Thanks, and best,

    Steve Guine

  9. Dave Lefkow

    Say you actually do get in front of the hiring manager in an interview and then somehow get the job. Would you really want to work for someone anyways that would rule you out for a job because of age/race/sex from a video interview? Isn’t it likely that the same person’s stereotyping would come up again in a potentially worse situation, like when you’re up for a promotion, in a performance review or on a layoff list?

    I understand your issue when it’s a recruiter that acts as a gatekeeper and rules someone out from interviewing with the hiring manager because of a video interview – but I think that most video interviewing systems are built for the hiring manager to see the person on video, not just the recruiter. Video resumes are of course another story, and it’s buyer beware for candidates – but I would argue that recruiters, many of whom are the most fervent supporters of diversity hiring goals, are perhaps the least likely group of people to discriminate against people because of age/sex/race biases, although of course some stereotypes exist regardless of intentions.

    Thanks for all of the thoughtful dialogue on this important topic.

    Dave

  10. Karen Mattonen C.A.C., C.S.P

    Dave,
    With respect, it really doesn?t boil down to would I want to work for a company that would consider discrimination, but more to the issue that Companies should not be utilizing discriminatory tactics in their hiring processes. Can you imagine if every company were to decide that this was okay, and should be based upon individual preferences, how far back in time this would take us?

    Every one should have the same opportunities for employment. If someone has a hiring manager who feels that discrimination is okay, and creates that type of atmosphere, well, obviously something is wrong, and it will be up to the company to change management, and the environment.

    Social responsibility starts within the company – The accountability is on that of the shoulders of the Employer, not the employee..

    There are many hiring managers who are not a) aware of the legal process, b) don?t care about the legal process, and not lastly, the hiring managers will make hiring decisions based upon their own internal value system, even prejudices, not really being concerned about the outcome.. Many of the times, because of ignorance, or also because they don?t personally bear the legal responsibility. The company does.

    This is why companies take extra steps to Protect themselves from the risk. It costs them ? sure they can fire the manager, but unfortunately the firing of the manager for ill advised behavior does not remove the repercussions and fallout that will come from poor hiring decisions.

    Quite often the legal implications are just Not worth the Return of the investment. If one were to consider Walmart?s latest Fiasco.. well this can ultimately run them to the tune of 1.5 potential million plaintiffs.. that will be very costly.. Home Depot settled for 104 Million for sex- discrimination in 1997
    granted, it isn?t the same type of scenario.. but it shows how expensive a lawsuit can ultimately cost a company ? it also shows that though the individuals who worked in these situations were not excited with the company and the treatment they received, but ultimately the companies will change their processes (hopefully) along the way.. and adopt more work friendly environment.

    Regarding recruiters being more fervent in supporting diversity.. well what is surprising is that many people are even unaware of the legal liability that recruiters face in discrimination of candidates. Also, what has been a frequent comment of recruiters is that they work for the client, get paid by the client, and thus they will respect the customers risk.

    The biggest problem that I see because of this lack of knowledge or complacent attitude is that many lawsuits are not highly published, and many in this industry are not aware of the many lawsuits against recruiting companies.. thus out of sight usually leads to an out of mind attitude. It doesn?t happen much many think, so obviously I must safe. Unfortunately that is unfortunately not the actual situation.

    I will close that there are 450 employment lawsuits a day (recruiters are included in this number) ? a 2000 Percent increase since 1974 ? so with that in mind one could only say it may be a priority for companies to create a more Employee friendly environment.

  11. Abel Gonzalez

    Dave: I take most of your comments on this forum without reservation but is there data out there that supports your comment that…

    recruiters, many of whom are the most fervent supporters of diversity hiring goals, are perhaps the LEAST LIKELY group of people to discriminate against people because of age/sex/race biases..

    The staffing function (and particularly the head of talent aquisition) is mostly populated by white men and women. It would be encouraging to beleive that they are ‘less likely’ to discriminate but I think that is wishful thinking.

  12. Larry Woods

    Wow! I had no idea that there were 450 lawsuits filed every day against recruiters /companies that ‘hired improperly’. That’s at least 90,000(ninety thousand ) a year. It’s amazing that this epidemic is not recognized.I plan on contacting my congressman and the press to find out why this is not being looked into.
    As for WalMart, you seem to have determined that they are guilty of whatever offense that you refer to as ‘the latest fiasco’. WalMart is also the largest target of slip and falls in the country. Apparently you would believe that they are guilty of having floors, ergo they are guilty of causing slip and falls.It’s funny that when WalMart was a regional chain of less than 200 stores (yes, I remember that and yes, I dealt with them then ) these things did not happen and people were happy to have them in the community, providing jobs and an alternative to the high prices of competitors.
    Home Depot, the same. Funny how a company like Home Depot is great until they reach that $80 billion mark, as HD has. Then they become a target.So if we agree that there are 90,000 lawsuits against employers/recruiters for hiring malpractice, do we say that there are 90,000 attorneys who have jobs because of companies like WalMart or HD? How about 9,000, that’s one attorney per 10 cases. Then take the support group, paralegals, legal secretaies,couriers,judges, transcriptionists…gee, the unemployment rate should be about 0%. Effective immediately,we should all go into the legal recruiting industry because companies like WalMart and HD will keep us all active for the next 40 years.And we haven’t even approached the defense or government side. Of course, that also doesn’t take into consideration that any idiot can file a lawsuit and there is always a lawyer who will take the money and file suit and the government is obligated to follow up complaints and that keeps people, many of whom(not all) would be unemployable in the private sector, working.Thank you so much for enlightening us with statistics, though you don’t say where they came from, and thank you for pointing out that WalMart and HD are Satan in corporate attire. Thank you also for issuing a blanket statement that WalMart is obviously guilty of whatever fiasco you refer to and that HD paid out money to cease whatever it was that you refer to. Can you say slip and fall?Nuisance? Follow the money? A good lawyer will tell you that it is far better to sue WalMart or HD than to sue Mom’s 5&10.That’s where the money is and they get tired of messing with a nuisance. My congressman and the news media will be amazed. 450 a day, 90000 a year. Please let me know how to contact these people so that I can ask for $2 a case, that will get me by for the next year and I won’t worry about being one of the defendants in one of these cases.As for employee friendly…how about if we agree that companies are bad for giving these people jobs and let the poor downtrodden employee sit at home and draw a check?Obviously, you have determined that the company is always guilty of something that makes them ‘employee unfriendly’.I plan on doing whatever possible to make these terrible people suffer, to bring these ‘out of sight ‘ cases to the forefront so that all might see how terrible these corporate Simon Legrees are.90000 a year!450 a day! That should pretty much wipe out all the companies in a couple of states.Wow! Corporate responsibility. Social responsibility.I missed the part about employee responsibility but I am sure that you covered that , didn’t you?You refer to WalMart and a fiasco. Since they employ almost 2 million people, how many are involved in this fiasco? Since they serve 180 million customers per week, donate to and support over 100,000 charities with over 90% being at a local level, where is the lack of social responsibility that you refer to? Where is the lack of corporate responsibility that you refer to? Where is the fiasco that you have decided they are guilty of? Is corporate America cleaner than clean? Nope. But you might want to back up your allegations with facts….all the facts. Have WalMart and HD paid off to stop some lawsuits? Yup. Are your ‘facts’ supported? Nope.Are bigger companies easy targets? Yep. Do some folks assume that corporate biggies are guilty without knowing the facts? Apparently so.

  13. Larry Woods

    Sorry, I forgot to add that WalMart, those socially irresponsible corporate devils, gave over $245 million to charity last year.Or $6 a second.Quite a fiasco,huh? When suing for discrimination, sue the biggies,they are the easiest target to hit.

  14. Pierre M Coupet

    Thank you Karen for your very insightful response. I guess there is nothing more to add to your comments.

  15. Karen Mattonen C.A.C., C.S.P

    I made an error in my previous post.. Meant to say Over 450 employment lawsuits a day.. Not the Exact number.
    My apologies for any confusion
    Karen

  16. Karen Mattonen C.A.C., C.S.P

    Larry,
    now I missed your post in my previous response.. don’t know How I managed that.. but I guess I wonder, what is your point???

    As I pointed out, I made a typo regarding by not putting in the OVER – which makes those numbers actually worse.. and No, I used the words May, regarding Walmart, and do I think them Guilty.. nope, they haven’t been tried, but I guess the Courts think there was enough solid evidence for it to be continued on as a Class Action..

    Now I didn’t read your whole post.. may I ask you to try putting spaces between what you write, it is hard on the eyes.. but let me just make the One comment which was the Point I was trying to drive home

    Yes, there are a lot of lawsuits.. Too Many of them.. Many of them are totally frivoulous..

    BUT – why Make more risk? why take More Risk than is necessary?

    We don’t hear much about how lawsuits are settled, or even if they are, but we sure hear about them happening.. They are EXPENSIVE to go through, even if it is to Prove one’s innocence. And unfortunately with discrimination cases One doesn’t have to have intent to be found guilty,., nope, one just has to have a pattern of discrimination, and wham! Even if there was no intent..

    Due to the expense of lawsuits many companies will settle.. Even if they are innocent.. They are Long, tedious, and time consuming.

    So Larry the point I was trying to make.. Companies try to avoid these risks, they also try to make sure they document carefully, keep clean records, so that the process of investigation will be faster.. which ultimately is cheaper..

    Would I keep resumes with pictures on them.. Heck No; Will Tell the candidate to resubmit.. I Don’t want any personally identifiable information on my computer unless it is a government mandated self ID form.

    Anyways, that was the point of my earlier post..
    I hope this helps
    Karen

  17. Larry Woods

    Karen,
    To reply to you I will try to remember to type slowly so that your eyes don’t get strained and I will leave spaces.

    First , the courts have not decided, as you stated, that there is solid evidence against WalMart. They have agreed to allow it to become a Class Action. They have not heard evidence as the case is , court wise, still in the demurrer stage.

    Secondly, the decision will most likely be appealed, based on the fact that this court has previously turned down a class action that was argued on the same merits as the arguments presented in this case, as has the Supreme Court.

    Third,the cases that you referred to in your kind reply to me by e-mail, refer to cases such as:
    ‘Depressed Employee Who Calls Boss A Bitch and Threatens To Kill Her Is Protected From Termination By ADA’

    ‘ADA Covers Hostile, Tardy, Sleepy and Distracted Workers’

    Employers Can Be Sued for Positive and Negative References’

    Next, in looking at the past lawsuits that you reference, Home Depot leaps out. You reference the settlement of $104 million for a discrimination suit. That’s true. Never got to court.None of the large cases that one normally hears about went to court. That figure includes the cost of diversity training, as well as the attorney fees.The ‘winners’ received less than the cost of a good used car. The attorneys received the cost of a bunch of new luxury cars.I mean a BUNCH of them.I digress, but the point of this is: Home Depot has been sued each year, at least once, for discrimination, for the past 10 years.Stock price?Up. Sales figures?Up. Profit? Up.Attorney BMW purchases? Up.

    Back to WalMart. Before this, the same argument was made against Sears,1986, and the case wound up being lost by the plaintiffs. Again, follow the money. Sears was the biggest at the time.

    Now, I can and will send you chapter and verse to rebut whatever it was you said, but my point is this:
    There is nothing in your diatribe that is relevant, pro or con, to using video resumes. Your references do not point , pro or con, to the use of video or other media.

    Video would not tell whether a person is likely to call the boss a name, go to sleep, be tardy, be distracted, or become disgruntled over a stalled career. You will have a difficult time convincing , or getting people to admit, that they would not hire based on the fact that someone is not photogenic. The only point of law that applies, I think, is that if you do it for one, you do it for all. Picture of one applicant, picture of all applicants.

    There are no cases that I can locate that are based on a picture of the applicant.Would a picture prevent an in-person interview of a qualified applicant? Doubtful.

    During an interview, would the interviewer not notice that the applicant is male/female,Hispanic, African American,Vesuvian,Rastafarian,whatever? Would they notice that the applicant will one day call them a name, threaten to kill them, fall asleep in the display racks, show up late on a consistent basis, become disgruntled over their career track and sue?

    In closing, let me ask you a few questions.
    1. Where do the plaintiffs in the WalMart case work now?
    2.Have you seen a picture of the plaintiffs?
    3.How would a picture or video have made one whit difference in hiring these people,one way or another?

    Lawsuits that I can reference that include recruiters are the Mohawk case, which is a RICO case, and two others that were dismissed due to frivolity.None regard using pictures and/or discrimination based on race,creed, religion,gender.

    That’s my point.
    Let me know if you require references to the ‘fiascos’ that you initially referenced.I’ve got them.

    ‘As long as verdicts approach the stratosphere, there will be plaintiff counsel willing to bathe in the blood of employment litigation’

  18. Karen Mattonen C.A.C., C.S.P

    Larry
    walmart was not the basis of my post.. this was not meant to be about walmart or home depot..

    You seem to focus on that, but unfortunately it detracts from what the purpose is..

    Do I think that Walmart is guilty, No, they have not been found to be guilty in a court of law.. Do I think it is a Fiasco.. Absolutely, due to the fact that there is a potential for 1.5 Million Plaintiffs..

    Anyways, please review the Meat and Potatoes of my post, to determine what I was discussing.. It isn’t about the Lawsuits, whether one is guilty or not, it is aobut the Expense in Defending or Settling them..

    Hope that clarifys..

    Karen

    P.S – The Court of Appeals has already confirmed the Class action. (it was already appealed) based upon over 1 Million Pages of significant evidence..

    I hope this helps.

  19. Aaron Grant

    The nature of all resumes, whether they are written or audio-visual, the point is that they are meant to discriminate between applicants – that is the purpose they serve. For any company to reject video resumes out of the fear of prosecution is short sighted, and in itself suggests that the recruitment processes that your company has in place is poorly designed . If you set in place a hiring process that accepts and welcomes diverse applicants from all walks of life, you should ultimately only be hiring people solely based on the skills they poses and their aptitude to be able to succeed in the chosen job position. Indeed discrimination is the point, when hiring there is a need to discriminate between the person most suitably qualified for the job, and those that don?t. If your company is hiring people based on anything other then the person?s aptitude for a certain position than you are setting yourself up for trouble.

    This is not to make light of the potential hazards out there, the number of law suits filed each day against recruitment agencies highlight the need for diligence and social responsibility. A smart recruitment firm will have in place a transparent system with extra steps and protocols, to ensure that they protect themselves from the risks associated with this industry. Recruiters should learn to embrace technology; video resumes can be highly effective and may just revolutionize the job-search process as we know it. At http://www.stafftube.com the firm I work for, we certainly believe video resumes are the way of the future, and actively and spiritedly promote this new tool. The point is discrimination can be both good and bad; it is how it is applied that is important.

  20. Mike Mehrle

    Was I discriminated against 35 years ago when affirmative action was put in place to hire only women and minorities? At that time I was a firefighter with three years experience fresh out of the Army. I took the test to get on the Columbus fire department and scored high; but a large number of people (women and minorities) were given points before even taking the test, but did I sue? Nope, just went on with my life.

    I get so tired of hearing about discrimination; of course there is discrimination. Isn?t that the job of a hiring manager or recruiter? OK!!! So you say you do not discriminate against race, sex, religion, (someone just down right ugly) or any of the other typically known reasons for discrimination; but, I guarantee ?you do discriminate?.

    My point here is if you people (the nay Sayers of video resumes) are so hung up on discrimination, then every single person who applies to a job has grounds to file a law suit. So I guess you better hire everyone!

    What?s to say you didn?t just discriminate against a candidate that could have excelled past the individual of your choice? Your candidate looked (on paper and through the interview process) like the ideal candidate, but six months down the road they move to a different company and the person you didn?t hire has been secured by another company who goes on to retire there as VP of operations. Our industry is a crap shoot!

    A video resume ?to me? is a ?tool?, not to discriminate, but to discover if the applicant has motivation and desire to really warrant being interviewed. There is absolutely nothing that will replace the written resume; fact is in my opinion, if an applicant does not have a written resume? I will discriminate! I will read the resume FIRST then if it looks good I would go on to the video (if they had one). I feel the hiring process would be streamlined for the recruiter or hiring manager, with less time wasted on setting up interviews that turn out to be dead ends.

    I see the video resume in addition to one written as a way for me to weed out who has the desire, motivation and yes the ?qualifications? to get the job.

    I think we should file a law suit on the individual (probably a professor, and I might get sued for saying that) who discriminately developed the word discrimination.

  21. David Rees

    If I had to view a significant number of video resumes each day, I would probably require medication after the first week.

    Seriously – a lot of recruiters are ADD or hyper or twitchy or just plain impatient.

    A video format makes consume the resume at a fixed pace and in the order presented by the candidate. That is obnoxious and presumptive.

    For me, I work specifically in the niche of RF Semiconductors – one slightly annoying problem is that there are essentially two kinds of ‘RF Engineers’. There are the ones that design hardware and the ones that go install cellular base stations. They are frequently both BSEE/MSEE and use the same list of buzzwords (making filtering a problem). If I had to sit through even 1 minute of video before I could determine – ah, you install cell towers, I cant help you, I would gouge out my eyes with a flip phone.

    Paper resumes let you scan and quickly find the information you need to make a decision about your interest – video resumes remove this ability and waste time – for what benefit?

  22. Mike Mehrle

    I never stated to watch all video resumes…

    That is where many recruiters and HR people are missing the point!

    As I thought I pointed out, the video resume is a ‘tool’ not to replace the written resume. Again, as I said, I too would scan the resume, and then if I liked their resume and the applicant had a link to a video attached, I ‘definitely’ would watch it.

    To answer your concern; and I am with you… who wants to listen to ‘even 1 minute of video before it could determine – ah, you install cell towers’.

    OK… Here is the real waste of time:

    I don’t know about you but I want to know as much as possible about an applicant ‘BEFORE’ they walk in to my office sit down and tell me they install cell towers. Should I just be rude and tell them to get out; or, site there wasting time knowing I am not going to hire them?

    Again, a video resume is a tool; don’t use it, no sweat off my back. But if I were a betting man the HR person or recruiter that does not start looking in to this technology is going to get left behind.

    As for recruiters that are ADD or hyper or twitchy or just plain impatient… they are in the wrong business.

  23. Jim Cargill

    David,

    Great comments! I doubt you would last a week without meds…maybe 2 hours!

    Actual video resumes are going to be the hot, chic way to present oneself until viewers become bored, or comatose, which will be nearly instantaneous, for most of us.

    A video introduction, however, lasts about 10-15 seconds, and acts as a teaser to attract attention to the candidate. That format has legs, and will likely become part of a candidate’s emailed resume package whenever possible.

    Just my thoughts…

  24. David Rees

    Point taken Mike.

    The way you have described it, its like an intermediate point between having read and liked a paper resume and scheduling a phone screen.

    If people are sending out links to their video resumes, I dont think it will be ignored.

    As for recruiters being ADD or hyper or twitchy, have you ever listened to Danny Cahill?

    Just curious.

    I don’t think anyone in my office is particularly patient (or overly impatient) – its all about how fast you can OODA loop…

  25. Marc Nolan

    OK- For all those ‘video proponents’ on the recruiting side- I would suggest that each of you, put your money where your mouths are.

    Simply, if you think it is a great tool- then why not post a video link on your website- or personal page and see how effective you are- and maybe you can start this with the ERE site?

    I am sure all the companies that are espousing this latest and greatest trend- would certainly offer this as a free service to you! How about it recruiters?

    I can see it now- when recruiting the skilled talent we are searching we can send them our video bios and if they are interested in speaking with us about a contract or new FTE slot- they’ll have an up-front view of who we are and our backgrounds! The old saying of ‘what is good for the goose…..

  26. Jonathan Weinstock

    Dave,

    Great article. We always are interested in views and feedback from all parties.

    We launched a Video Resume business in Australia this year called Candidates Alive – and our comments are below, including the issues of privacy, confidentiality and anti-discrimination.

    http://www.candidatesalive.com.au

    Some real feedback we have received so far:

    Candidates Alive have had an excellent response from jobseekers, recruiters and especially employers who have used video resumes. Jobseekers relish the opportunity to stand out from other candidates and be seen and heard first by employers.

    Recruiters finally have a way to win new clients by offering them an innovative solution to the recruitment process which ultimately saves employers tremendous amounts of time.

    Candidates Alive launched in October 2007 holding seminars in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland and the response from all parties including the media has been fantastic.

    We provide recruitment agencies with the opportunity to create high quality candidate video resumes from their offices and then showcase these candidates to employers.

    We spent 12 months researching the market and trialing our system to ensure the needs of recruiters, jobseekers and employers were met. Currently we have a number of recruitment agencies using the system and creating video resumes for their clients.

    We are not a job board and privacy and confidentiality are of the utmost importance to us and our clients. The recruiter controls and manages each video resume and can discontinue a video resume link at any time. Candidates have the option of going on video if they choose and many of them see this as a great opportunity to stand out from other jobseekers.

    Recruiters have found it frustrating at times to get their candidates in front of hiring managers. There are many candidates who have outstanding communication skills and vibrant personalities. To convey this to an employer in black and white or over the phone is can be difficult.

    Through our user-friendly system, an employer can instantly view a candidate video simply by clicking on a URL link that has been sent via email by a recruitment consultant. In such a tight labour market, responsiveness wins in this game and it is critical to get good candidates in front of hiring managers fast.

    With regards to discrimination, video resumes are just like any other step in the recruitment process. Whether it be an initial telephone conversation with the candidate or a face-to-face interview, all employers must abide by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act.

    Ultimately, if an employer uses video resumes in the right way, while abiding by anti-discrimination laws, they are at no risk and will enjoy the benefits of a faster recruitment process.

    We believe that with the technology now available, video resumes are the logical next phase in global recruitment. The feedback we have received from jobseekers, employers and recruiters suggests that video resumes are here to stay. Like any new concept, it takes time to evolve and some will jump on board quicker than others ? and that?s ok.

  27. Moshin Manji

    Good Article, thank you for sharing. I do like the concept of video resumes, but after doing my reading and asking how other employers and HR individuals feel about using video resumes, we all seem to be on the same page. Overall, its overwhelming the biggest reason video resumes may not take off is due to discrimination issues. You want to decide on candidates based on knowledge, skills and abilities on paper. By using video resumes, its time consuming and its just human nature that a person may be judged differently based on looks or communication.

    Video resumes may be valuable for students submitting a highlight video/resume to get into a athletic program or a model for a designer…but it won’t work for general employment.

    Regards,

    Moshin Manji
    Partner
    HRinmotion.com, Candidate Preparation Software
    “prepare your candidates, build your brand”

  28. Samson Blackwell

    Moshin, I have to question the idea that a video resume would increase discrimination. How is a VR any different than a face-to-face interview? Logically, if someone is the type to discriminate he/she will do it at some point in the process, be it at the resume or the in-person interview level. And one need not see the applicant’s face: I’ve heard discriminatory statements about applicants based simply on their name.

    The time argument is a better one, but again this is yet another indicator of the candidate’s abilities, is it not? We’ve all seen the six-page resume filled with nonsense and grammatical/mechanical errors. In the same vein, a VR that runs for 10 minutes and doesn’t really say anything is a very telling resume indeed.

  29. Teresa Lindsay

    Dear Dave,

    I just read your article in regards of Video Resumes which is by now almost 2 years old. Currently we are seeing quite some interest in the use of Video Resumes and our web site http://www.Mayomann.com gets quite some attention. I was wondering what your thoughts are now on that subject. Recession, Unemployment rate rising, etc. People need to get creative to apply for jobs and now they have certainly gained enough knowledge with Video editing.

    Please feel free to contact me anytime.

    Sincerely

    Teresa Lindsay

  30. Eric Schifone

    I agree with this article. As the Co-Founder of InovaHire.com
    we are the first job board that allows “LIVE” online interviewing. Live webcam interviews allow recruiters/employers the ability to conduct live, un-rehearsed interviews with no different legal implications than conducting an in-person interview

  31. Sylvia Dahlby

    Great dialog going on here. There are some other articles here on ERE on this topic in case you missed them:

    http://www.ere.net/2009/08/14/why-recruiting-has-to-go-video/print/
    http://www.ere.net/2009/06/29/interview-from-anywhere-live-video-interviews-are-now-a-best-practice-part-i-of-ii/print/

    Video resumes are only one facet of emerging video technology. I recently facilitated a roundtable discussion at a recruiting conference on live, virtual interviews; it’s saving a lot of money – but the consensus is that it won’t replace face-to-face interviews any time soon.

    As an ATS vendor, one problem with video resumes (which our system accepts) is they are not searchable by keyword or boolean string. And they can be every bit as deceptive as a piece of paper, soft copy or Linked In profile.

    I think Jim is on the right track, that the video will eventually replace the cover letter as an introduction.
    Meanwhile, the lawyers are going to make money until the employment laws catch up with the technology.

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