Since YouTube changed the game in 2005, the application of video technology to the recruitment industry has been the next big thing. It hasn’t happened. Despite its obvious utility, Video CV’s remain very much on the fringes of the debate in the big recruitment tent. Why is this? I’ve come up with three reasons
1. It’s a School Disco
Remember School Disco? Actually how could anyone forget. As a teenage rite of passage, it’s as excruciating as they come,
inflicted on the impressionable by the well intentioned yet horribly
misguided. The iconic moment is of course, at the very beginning, when
the music comes on and nobody wants to be first on the dance floor. Twenty years on, the embarrassment hasn’t even begun to fade.
I think the Video CV market is like a school disco. The music is on, but no one wants to
go first on the dance floor. Not the employers who could be running video CV only recruitment campaigns, not the recruiters who won’t spend on tech if they don’t have to, not the job seekers who see little point when there is no overt demand from the other two. The Video
CV market is waiting for a decisive first mover, and for that mover to
be quickly followed by the market they are addressing. So far, we
haven’t seen it.
2. There is an asymmetry of production vs consumption
CV’s are marketing collateral and consequently, they need to look good. So far, every attempt at video CV’s has failed in this regard. Whilst the production technology
available to most home users is good enough to do a Skype call with
Grandma in Hong Kong, it’s nowhere near good enough to make it case for
it to be on your CV, much less be a replacement for your CV. It makes massive difference that we live in a media saturated age where we are inundated with HD and 3D quality video’s – we now have enormously high expectations of what a good video needs to looks like. In effect, we have an asymmetry between production and consumption – we consume a far better class of video
quality than we can produce ourselves. Can it really be any surprise
that our own speak-into-the-camera moments look so excruciatingly bad,
when our internal reference point is the latest Lady Gaga vid or HBO’s Hard Knocks?
3. You can make terrible, terrible mistakes
The margin is for error is small, and yet the penalties for a mistake can be enormous. When it comes to the Video CV, one man more any other knows this is to be true: step forward Aleksey Vayner. A Yale graduate in 2006, Vayner’s Impossible Is Nothing video resume, featuring the karate chopping, tango dancing, weight lifting
protagonist himself became an Internet sensation when that went viral
later that year. If you haven’t viewed this piece of Internet history,
it’s because poor Aleksey has spent the better part of the decade
tracking down and deleting the video
everywhere it has appeared online. Fortunately, I’ve tracked down a
copy on one of the remaining sites that still host it, and so for your
education, click this link.
Amazing, I’m sure you agree. To be fair to Vayner, I think he deserves credit for his give-it-a-go, pioneering attitude. That
said, there’s no getting away from the fact that the video
was an unmitigated disaster when measured against his intentions.
Instead of becoming a showcase for his employability on Wall Street, it
became a viral comedy piece which was widely lampooned across the globe.
The chastened Aleksey Vayner has by all accounts since disappeared from
public view, and it wouldn’t be unkind to say that his mistake has had
significant, long lasting, career limiting impact. When a video
CV carries such a degree of risk, compared to a very low level of
reward, is it any wonder that the format hasn’t been widely adopted?
Right now, it is only for the fearless, desperate or satirical
So where does this leave us?
It’s not here yet, but it’s got to happen at some stage. The quality of candidate information captured through rich media is clearly more compelling than that conveyed by a two page text based
document. And if Seth Godin’s right in saying that the interview is
really a 5 minute sniff test – then the savings that could be provided by a video bio would be tremendous value to job seekers, recruiters
and employers alike – potentially the elimination of some of the stages
of interview. We just need for these three obstacles to be overcome.
This post was reproduced with the permission of Wise Man Say Ltd. For original copy see: