Video is About to Become King — Are You Ready?

Dec 18, 2008

Let’s face it: YouTube, Break, Hulu, and Veoh have changed the way we view movies and videos and, more important, they have changed the way we use the Internet.

We rely more and more on pictures, graphics, and videos to display data, deliver the news, give us instructions, and keep us up-to-date with our families. The facts are amazing. Using Quantcast as my source, here is a rough idea of what’s going on. The online version of the New York Times, for example, has a monthly readership that averages about 14 million people in the United States. And that’s the largest readership of any print media I could find. The online Wall Street Journal does a paltry 4 million and even the prestigious Economist does only 3 million globally and most are seeing declining readership.

On the other hand, YouTube averages about 71 million viewers monthly — just in the U.S. And its rivals are also doing well and growing. Veoh does about 23 million, Hulu about 19 million, and Break about 15 million globally.

This indicates a decisive trend: more and more of us are getting information and education from video, rather than from words – whether in print or online.

We have already seen video slowly gaining in popularity and importance in recruiting. All top-tier career sites incorporate both pictures and video. Usually the videos are of employees talking about their jobs, but some include campus tours or chats with the CEO or a hiring manager. Many recruiters have received a video resume, and chat rooms have buzzed with concerns over the legality of such resumes and whether they should be accepted.

I don’t believe there is any serious legal issue in using video resumes, as long as your organization has a policy about how they are used. They are no more discriminatory than a face-to-face interview and may actually help to showcase communication skills and other positive traits. They can speed up the pre-screening process and may even eliminate the need for the number of interviews we subject candidates to.

Younger candidates, who are just entering the job market, may prefer to create a video resume as it reflects the media with which they are most comfortable. I can also easily imagine a time when the face-to-face interview is replaced with a live, virtual interview, perhaps with the hiring manger and several others also present virtually. The use of video lowers costs, expands the number of people who can participate in an interview, allows asynchronous viewing, and makes it more convenient for a candidate.

Here are just four of the ways organizations are using video.

  1. Branding and position promotion. Many organizations are including videos that showcase the organization or promote a specific job or group of jobs to prospective candidates. For example, KPMG, Starbucks, and Nike all incorporate at least one video on their careers’ homepage. Many other organizations include clips of chats with employees or even take you on a guided tour of the company, as does Tivo. Just as the Internet allowed sites such as Amazon to provide more product information and user ratings, candidates are now starting to expect the same from career sites. The practice of incorporating videos about the organization and about available positions will expand over the next few years as candidates expect a much higher level of information and awareness than they did even two years ago. Several companies produce these types of videos. One is a Dutch company, C-Looks, which is able to provide videos for a variety of purposes, including promotion. Another is RecruiTV, which allows you to make and embed videos in your career site. Still another in this expanding arena is Vipe, an organization that serves both the corporate marketing effort as well as the candidate.
  2. Screening or interviewing candidates. Another growing use of video is to screen candidates. Sites such as InterviewStudio and FaceHire allow a recruiter to set up an online interview easily. InterviewStudio was founded by Colleen Aylward who is the author of a fabulous white paper that I recommend you download a video called “Unmuddying the Waters.” Here is an example of a tool that allows a recruiter to video chat with a candidate. Candidate screening via Skype or other webcam service seems to be inevitable and a great way to expand the limited capabilities of a telephone.
  3. Resumes. The practice of candidates submitting their resumes as video clips is just beginning. From as far back as the first CD/ROMS, candidates have been intrigued by the idea of submitting their resume in a video format. Video has advantages – it allows candidates to show their communication skills and it is often easier for a candidate to be expressive about past achievements when telling a story to a camera. Although these are not a substitute for an interview, they are a way to pre-screen candidates and develop a more complete picture than one gets from a written resume. If you are doing a lot of college hiring or are looking for entry-level people, the video resume may be a good way to differentiate candidates and a way to get more qualified people to apply. Many younger people who lack in-depth experience but feel they have other qualities might rather put together a short video than write a resume. The Dutch site C-Looks allows candidates to easily make their own short resume using a webcam. John Younger, President and Founder of Accolo, a San Francisco-Based RPO provider, says, “While I don’t think videos designed to replace a complete resume will ever take off, short videos where a candidate answers one or two particular questions will become very popular and useful.”
  4. Outplacement. Videos are a wonderful gift to outgoing employees as part of their severance package. A creative organization could provide the tools and coaching to help each person create a video summary of their experience and capabilities that could be circulated to organizations that are hiring. A copy could be given to the employee to use on their website or as part of en email job-seeking campaign. Once again, C-Looks provides this service as well.

Over the next few years, all recruiters will come to embrace and more effectively use video to brand, inform candidates, receive resumes, provide information to candidates and hiring managers, and provide onboarding for new employees. Are you ready to join?

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