Technology is advancing rapidly and talent sourcing is evolving along with it. The trend for hirers to use tech such as video CVs as part of the recruitment process has really gained momentum recently. Hirers like the fact that videos help them get a personal feel for candidates in a way that might not be possible with a traditional CV. While I understand the appeal, I’d urge them to be flexible when it comes to stipulating which format they want applicants’ CVs to take.
What are video CVs really testing?
Unless there’s a specific reason for candidates to apply using a particular format of CV – such as the job requiring them to be in front of a camera – hirers run the risk of assessing candidates on an irrelevant skill. Although modern technology means video content is more widely shared on a personal level, it’s my belief that video CVs further widen the diversity gap by alienating those without the resources to produce them and creating an unfair advantage for those who find it easy to develop this kind of content. The format of a CV bears little relation to a person’s wider skills set nor is it indicative of whether they’d be a good cultural fit, so I’d caution hirers against being overly wowed and swayed by tech use at the expense of a candidate who could have been perfect. It is better to encourage applications in any format of the candidate’s choice, rather than being prescriptive, or showing a clear leaning towards one type of preference.
Diversity or division?
And it’s not just me that feels strongly about this. When I raised this issue with my contacts on LinkedIn, the replies from other professionals were thought-provoking. Others shared my concern about the impact that video CVs might have on diversity. While many hirers have taken welcome steps to eliminate unconscious bias from traditional CV screening, such as by blanking out names or keeping information on disabilities, ethnicity or other factors which might create discrimination for applicants separate, this is not easily done with videos and may well create more opportunity for bias.
What’s more, the process of making a video might in itself be something which excludes some people, either because they would not naturally choose this medium or because a disability makes doing so much more challenging. Sulaiman Khan, who is the Founder & Chief Purpose Officer of ThisAbility, said: “As a severely physically disabled wheelchair user, typing is very fatiguing, so I like the idea of video CV in theory. However, in practice the challenge is that I’d still need someone assist with filming and help me upload it onto my laptop so I can edit and send the file. I’d be worried about early stage biases in video CV’s as well.”
An alternative to video CVs
Consequently, what we need to see are more flexible ways for candidates to apply for jobs. We are all so widely networked now that I’m an advocate of encouraging people to make greater use of their own contacts and to personally recommend other professionals for roles that they know they’d be great for. This adds the personal element that many hirers seek but don’t get from traditional CVs, but creates a level playing field for all in the process. Perhaps, then, future recruitment processes need to evolve further so that they centre around a more personal peer-to-peer approach with less involvement from intermediaries.
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