Why a Video Resume Could Get You Hired

Mike Blackford, 23, wants to stand out from the rest of the job-seekers in a tough economy. So in addition to a website with an online portfolio, he now has a one-minute video resume to introduce himself to hiring managers.

“I hope it gives employers a quick idea of who I am and it lets them meet me before an interview,” the Ball State University construction major said. “When comparing me to the other applicants, they will hopefully have a better time remembering who I am. ‘Remember that guy with the video? What about him?’”

In an increasingly competitive job market where 12.7 million are unemployed, many looking for jobs are willing to try video resumes in hopes of making it to an interview or to differentiate themselves from dozens, or even hundreds, of other applicants.

[Read: Five Tips for Making a Video Resume]

“Employers are busy and I don’t want to take up a lot of their time, so the video is only a minute long,” the student said. “I only have a short time to catch their interest or they toss me in the trash.”

The Competitive Edge

Stephen Stelios Stylianou, 28, is looking for a job in the finance industry in London and has already uploaded a video resumeto YouTube. Similar to Blackford, he believes his video resumegives him an edge over other job-seekers. “It shows employers that I have put effort and time into my job search,” he said.

After reading an article on employers using video resumes to search for job candidates, he became intrigued. “I liked the idea, and being good with cameras and editing software, I decided to make a video,” he said.

In addition to more applicants creating video resumes, more job sites are also incorporating video into the hiring process, such as GetHired.com and JobOn.com.

“Job-seekers are looking for every competitive advantage they have to get through the first round of interviews,” said Suki Shah, GetHired.com’s chief executive officer and co-founder. “And sometimes employers ended up hiring people who they would have passed up if they had just seen a résumé.”

Jody Presti, chief executive for JobOn, calls using video a “huge advantage” in the job hunt because it’s a way for employers to see and screen dozens of applicants in only a few minutes.

Keep the Audience in Mind

When possible, doing a video resume tailored to the specific job can be very beneficial. Ali Abbas of NYC recently applied for IGN's "Code Foo" with a video. Along with submitting a write-up of his technical skills, IGN asked for a video explaining why he would be a good applicant.

"My video was the first thing my interviewer wanted to talk about after I made it to a final round of selections. He said the office that watched it and thought it was very funny." Ali Abbas paid a friend who was a recent grad student from NYU to shoot and edit the video. "I feel like the video really broke the ice because it represented the type of person I am and the people I am used to working around."

Ali Abbas was accepted into IGN's Code-Foo a week later.

What Hiring Managers Look For

Keesha Galindo, human resources director at Moolala.com, has used JobOn to look for a finance director and an advertising coordinator for the daily deals company. “I suspected it would save me time by being able to hear from the candidates without having to conduct a phone interview,” she said.

She learned a lot about candidates by watching their short videos and used them as a screening tool. She quickly realized those who weren’t interested in doing a video, or “extra work” for the application, weren’t as serious about the job.

Applicants that caught her eye gave thoughtful, not scripted, answers, smiled a lot and had decent lighting and audio. Those who read from their résumé, had piles of laundry or gave vague answers didn’t move on to the next round.

“If someone has a video resumeup, you stop and watch it. It gives you stuff you can’t get from a resumeand that makes a huge difference,” said Chris Morrow, director of business development for Boston Medical Group, which used GetHired.com to find employees.

“It’s not any one thing in particular I look for,” he said. “It’s not so much the content, but their personality and how they carry themselves .... And what works well in the office environment.”

Morrow said he would also give a job candidate a second look if the applicant had a decent video résumé, even if he previously wasn’t interested. “It really is about someone’s personality and whether or not they took the time to do one.”

The use of video resumes can also be more cost-effective. Morrow, who heads 21 men’s health clinics nationwide and in Puerto Rico, said he can’t always make it out to each office and video resumes give him the ability to screen prospective hires without having to meet them.

Super-useful or Superficial?

Although video resumes can save companies time when screening candidates, it could also lead to discrimination based on race, ethnic background or even one’s looks.

Shah said discrimination occurs without a video résumé. Employers already know a lot about candidates after scouring social media networks and search engines. “Besides, employers are not looking to screen based on race or how good-looking you are,” he said. “They are looking for the best person for the job.”

However, there has been research that hiring managers definitely are looking for good-looking job candidates. “Newsweek” conducted a survey of 202 hiring managers and found that most (57 percent) said a qualified but unattractive candidate would have a harder time being hired. Looks also came in third out of nine character attributes, just below experience and confidence but above education.

Not every company is using videos to screen applicants. A spokesman at Google reported it does not use video interviews in its recruiting process. Other companies contacted for the story, including Portland, Ore.-based digital design firm and app developer Visere, also said it relies on portfolios and traditional recruiting, not video.

According to Silk Road, which provides social-technology-based employee management services to companies around the world, most employers find external hires from job search engines (36 percent) but the majority of hires (63 percent) come from internal sources such as referrals, current employees or walk-ins. Moolala’s Galindo said she isn’t committed to the video resume process.

“The verdict is still out on if this will be a long-term solution for our size company,” she said.

Bottom Line

Blackford and Stylianou insist a video resume helps them in the job hunt. In a competitive job market, job-seekers are willing to try anything for a slight edge, and all they need is one employer to give them a second look to make their video worthwhile.