Would an A-Player use YouTube to compete for a sales position?

If my own experience is any indication, video resumes are becoming more popular.  I’m definitely seeing an uptick in the number of resumes I receive from sales professionals that direct me to a link on YouTube or another website to view their video resume.

For me, it creates a dilemma. There are some very real discrimination concerns because videos reveal information about the candidate such as race, gender, disability and age that, by law, cannot factor into the hiring decision. Should a candidate be turned down, the video can become fodder for a discrimination lawsuit.

Beyond the legal issues, video resumes can spark personal biases. We’re only human, which is why we’ll almost always come down on the side of a candidate who is most like ourselves or who is most like our best employee.  It’s not legally wrong, but it can lead to a major hiring mistake.  Just because someone isn’t photogenic doesn’t mean they won’t be a great sales person (although if they haven’t bothered to invest in a professionally produced video, that’s pretty telling on its own). But we’ll never know if we automatically disqualify them based on their video.

Then again, I question whether an A-Player would risk calling their professional judgment into question by using a video resume, knowing how subjective the hiring manager’s response can be. The A-Players I work with wouldn’t take that chance or, if they did, would make sure that their video resume was polished and professional.

What’s interesting is that this dilemma is apparently not shared by the majority of hiring managers. According to the annual employer survey from Vault Inc., 52% of employers said they were receptive to video resumes and 89% said they would view one if they got it because it’s a good way to determine the candidate’s professionalism, presentation, attitude and dress. However, the survey also found that only 17% of hiring managers had used a video resume to make a decision on a candidate.

For me, video resumes are not an effective job hunting tool.  Where do you stand; should we encourage (or at least not discourage) candidates from using them?

One thought on “Would an A-Player use YouTube to compete for a sales position?”

  1. The use of video in the recruitment process is becoming more and more popular. More companies and hiring managers are seeing the benefits to both the applicant and the company of making better company fit and skills decisions prior to first interview invitations. And, let’s face it, sales is a perfect spot to help sales people and companies find the best fit.

    Being a former sales director in the pharmaceutical industry, I do understand team fit very well. Team fit does not mean only “photogenic”. If you are not as photogenic as the next applicant, but have much stronger communication skills, conviction, and passion – you will get the interview. Any sales manager who screens only on how the applicant looks should be in another profession. They won’t be successful for very long. Sales involves so many different facets/skills that video screening is an ideal solution – and will grow in the coming years.

    That is a very interesting question as to whether a sales “star” would submit at video resume. A star player should be the first to step up. Often the “stars” on paper are not the “stars in person” for a particular company or a particular manager. Often, personality is a big factor as to whether a “star” and his new manager will get along. And, using video will allow a better evaluation of this – before any time is wasted (by both the applicant and manager) on a first interview.

    The discrimination issues which you refer to really depend on which video interview system you are using. A video resume is very non-specific – not specific to the position being applied for, not specific to the company and way too general to allow for any type of protection from discrimination issues which can arise. However, companies like InterActive Applicant (www.interactiveapplicant.com) have done much research in this area with HR professionals. We have built a system which helps to protect employers as well as give the applicants the best chance to represent themselves for the specific position they are applying for. Job-specificity and built-in functions will allow the entire recruitment process to work much for efficiently for both applicants and employers.

    And let’s not forget – the video interview online is not the end-all/be-all for hiring. It is one tool, which if used properly, can add significant time and cost savings for both applicants and employers.

    Darryn Severyn, MBA, B.Sc.
    InterActive Applicant

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