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Lights-Camera-Action-LAND-A-JOB!
Sriparna Chakraborty
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
A recent graduate from United States Washington State University, Benjamin Hampton set out to do something different to impress employers. He posted a 5½ minute long video on YouTube. The communications major student with his brother at the camera starts with “the résumé took me 45 minutes to film and 30 minutes to edit.” The video continues, with him playing a short song on the piano, information about his job experiences all accompanied with a background song by band Coldplay. This was enough to impress Microsoft’s PR firm Waggener Edstrom, and he was called for an interview soon after.

Hampton is not the only one to have resorted to a video résumé; there are thousands of job seekers who are trying out this innovative method of presenting themselves. It’s a way to stand out of competition and boost chances of getting hired. The Internet has been a major force behind this. With faster bandwidth and availability of numerous video-hosting sites, job seekers are trying to create an impression through the video format, online. While some include in their video résumés conventional personal introductions, wherein they answer common interview questions or read out their résumé, others opt for a more creative approach.

Take the example of Trent Willis, a political consultant was seeking a career change. Willis is not from an Ivy League college and therefore to beat competition, he turned his résumé into a parody of campaign advertisements. The advertisement begins with “Do you know who Trent Willis is?” His résumé e-mailed to various firms included a link to his video résumé in YouTube, had him lined up for interviews all through
the month.

However, sometimes landing a job might not be that easy. Yale student, Aleksey Vayner’s video became a YouTube classic. It made its way from the investment banker UBS, where he had applied, to the video hosting site and became a thing of ridicule. It was titled ‘Impossible is Nothing’ and showed him lifting weights, doing karate and dancing with a scantily clad woman while his voice echoed behind in the 30 minute show.

YouTube, Google and various other job hosting sites across U.S. have already latched onto video résumés. YouTube opens up
1, 500 entries to the search query ‘video résumé’. Jobster, an online jobsite, has teamed up with a social-networking site Facebook to launch a career site featuring video résumés. And vault.com another jobsite concluded its first video-résumé contest last week; its prize – a lucrative job in an
investment bank.

Vault.com also conducted a survey on video résumés and said that 89 percent of employers in U.S. would watch a video if it were submitted to them. However, the trend is still to catch up in India, with some employers / employees not even having heard of the term. Others opine that since it is happening in U.S., it will trickle down to India soon.

Elston Pimenta, HR Manager at Cybage Software has conducted video conferences with candidates before but has never come across a video résumé. He calls it an effective method of judging the candidate before moving on to the interview level.

“One can get an over-view on who the candidate is, how he presents himself and how effective his communication skills are,” says Dr Srinivas Kandula, Vice-President and Global Head-HR, I-Gate. Employers can then decide whom to bring into the office for a face-to-face interview, which could save them time and money as it acts as a virtual interview. “One can watch 10 videos within an hour, rather than bring in 10 people that will take two to three days to interview,” says Srinivas. This can be possible if the videos are crisp and short. Thus it is recommended that videos should not to be more than two or three minutes long.

A short and crisp video is a pleasure to watch. It brings forth the creativity of the candidate and his demeanor and personality is portrayed. It also gives HR managers an idea of how he might fit into the work community.

However, many employers still remain wary of the concept of video résumés. They feel that seeing a video résumé would only make decision making a little harder in comparison to reading through a paper résumé. Also turning down candidates for interviews after seeing what they look and sound like on video could leave employers open to discrimination cases, feel recruiters.

Nonetheless, it is too early to say when video résumés will take off in India. But, when they do, they might be as ever-present as their paper counterparts.

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