When technology project manager Neeraj Uppal was looking for a new job, he prepared a video preamble to his resume so companies could assess his presentation and communications skills. "That was definitely a first for me," say Uppal, who credits the video with playing a part in helping him land his current contract position at a large bank.
"I don't know if he was hired based [only] on the video, but it made an impression," Nandan says. "It gets people's attention. If I get 50 emails, and there's one that says, 'Please watch my video,' I will watch the video first."
Video can also function as a second chance for IT hopefuls whose resumes might otherwise be rejected by scanning software looking for specific keywords to quickly, if not always accurately, match qualifications with the position. Those same candidates might be able to hook a hiring manager's interest with a well-crafted video pitch.
Video interviews, pros and cons
Video is playing a larger part in the entire hiring process, not just as a resume accompaniment. For example, many companies now use Skype or other videoconferencing technologies for first-round interviews, rather than in-person meetings, to save time and money while still getting a sense of candidates' interpersonal qualities.
Some companies also use videos, recorded by candidates responding to specific questions, as a screening tool. "That's where I've seen a greater evolution on the video side, because the convenience factor is tremendous," says Dan Pollock, senior vice president of the tech-staffing firm Modis.
Typically a hiring company comes up with five to 10 questions and passes these on to Modis. Candidates for a developer position, for example, might be asked about their responsibilities on a recent project, how they approached those responsibilities and how the project turned out.
Candidates typically travel into a Modis office to record these screening sessions — Pollock says this ensures good audio and visual quality — although some candidates do it from their own computers. A SaaS platform from HireVue allows Modis to set a time limit for each response (three minutes) and control the number of retakes (one).
Hiring managers can then view the videos at their convenience, using them to replace phone calls that they had used in the past to screen candidates. "It's much more tailored to the position that they're trying to fill," Pollock says, adding that the videos also show hiring managers whether candidates know their stuff, can think on their feet and can communicate concisely.
Video dos and don'ts
If you plan to submit a video as part of a job application or online profile, or if you've been asked to take part in an interview via teleconferencing, here's what you need to think about before you turn on that camera:
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