Video CVs: What employers need to know

Video CVs have been on the radar of recruiters and hiring managers for some time now. We saw the rise of video interviews a few years back, with Skype and FaceTime interviews proving a popular way to get to know candidates when it’s not been feasible to meet in person and a phone interview feels too impersonal.

But a video CV is different. They are sent directly to the recruiter, pre-recorded and alongside (or instead of) a CV document. So what are the benefits of video CVs and what could their limitations be? What do employers need to know before requesting them from a candidate?

Making the job application process more accessible

A recent initiative by City College Peterborough caught our eye – Digital CVs. The project focuses on providing job seekers with disabilities or learning difficulties a way of creating a CV that works for them.

Often, a video CV gives the job seeker an opportunity to personalise their application more than they would be able to in a written document. In many instances, a written CV is inaccessible and daunting for candidates.

With this in mind, it may be worth considering roles for which you would be happy to receive video CVs.

An added tool in your recruitment process

Beyond making the application process more accessible for some, a video CV can be an extra tool for hiring managers.

Soft skills are notoriously difficult to portray in a traditional CV. If you need someone who is going to be a confident speaker, able to influence stakeholders or particularly driven then you’ll be able to see whether they have these qualities much better via video, than in a document.

Consider your objectives and think about whether a video CV will be helpful in helping you decide whether or not to shortlist a candidate.

Request a video CV at the right time in the recruitment process

Look at your current recruitment process and consider when you could fit in a request for a video CV. Do you want to request a video CV as the very first point of application? Or is this a particularly sought after position, with a lot of applications, where you could request a video CV after an initial application form or traditional CV has been submitted – as a two-tier way of shortlisting candidates for interview?

We would also recommend giving applicants some clear guidelines on how to complete and send a video CV. Explain how they can send the video and what format you would like it in. You may also want to give them some tips and advice on how to record a video CV.

Could another tool be more appropriate?

There are so many new tools becoming available to hiring managers to help them improve their recruitment process – video CVs being one of them.

If you are keen to explore ways of integrating video into your hiring process, you may want to consider other options beyond video CVs.

For example, could a first-round interview be conducted via video call? Or might you want to put questions to candidates for them to record their answers in a video – giving you a more structured response to key questions?

Video CVs may not be right for all jobs – or candidates

A while ago the Anne Corder Recruitment team attended a talk where a local Peterborough business spoke of their success using video CVs – for sales roles.

It was interesting to hear how the video format really let candidates shine at this early, CV sifting stage of the recruitment process. It allowed the recruiter to understand more about candidate’s personality, whether they were digitally savvy and meant future interviews could be more tailored to the individual.

However, as stated, this was for a sales role where the successful candidate would have to speak to and influence new people on a regular basis. They needed to be a confident communicator. A video CV is perfect in this instance but it may not be suitable for job roles where people-skills aren’t necessarily a top priority.

As an alternative you may want to consider making a video CV an optional part of the application process. Ask yourself whether a video CV is really crucial and whether it could potentially exclude good applicants if it is made mandatory?

In addition, some hiring managers exploring video CVs choose to make it an entirely optional application format. Some express concerns regarding employment legalities and discrimination when you can see the candidate and as a result avoid making it a mandatory part of the application process.

Your views on video CVs

We would love to hear from you if you’ve had an experience in receiving video CVs – whether it helped the applicant at all or even if you felt it was unnecessary. If you have any advice for hiring managers considering them as part of the application process, please leave a comment below.


Featured image: Creative Commons “Camera operator setting up the video camera” by jsawkins licensed under CC BY 2.0

About the Author

Anne Corder

Anne Corder


Whilst still actively handling recruitment assignments, Anne specialises in Human Resources with many years of experience in that sector. She blogs on wider recruitment issues affecting both candidates and clients, commenting and offering tips and advice to help achieve the right outcomes.