Recently, there was an article on smh.com.au about a company in the U.S. who has announced that they are never going to advertise a job on a job board ever again. They won't 'reject' a candidate with an 'inhumane' rejection template and instead will encourage potential employees to create a video cover letter and connect with the company via social media. I am unaware of any Australian businesses doing this, but I would be mortified if I were a job applicant and was asked to do a video application. Oh, and in case you are thinking that the company mentioned in the article must be a state of the art advertising agency where they wear their undies on the outside and invent the next 'quiche'/happening thing, you are dead wrong. They are, in fact, an online shoe and clothing company. Here is why I think this is one of the more misguided ideas I have heard in a LONG time:
1. A resume serves a purpose. It allows you to present your experience and skills in a way that engages and attracts a potential employer without them having made any judgement on what you look like.
2. The ability to apply online or by email with a resume protects your privacy; there is no record on any social media sites that you have been schlepping your skills all over town.
3. Email rejections ARE inhumane. In an ideal world, someone would call you and give you feedback as to why you are unsuccessful, but as this is nigh on impossible, at least an email goes to you and you alone.
4. Video interviews are useful when you cannot meet a person face to face, but unless you are fully prepared for the interview, it can be a recipe for disaster.
Legend has it that most people make up their mind about a potential employee in the first 90 seconds of meeting them – basically, it's based on how the interviewee looks and if the interviewer likes them. I am not photogenic. I am pretty confident that if I did a video interview, someone would think I was using an avatar of Jabba the Hutt when, in fact, that is pretty much what I look like. I am pretty sure that I would not be successful in my job application and that the staff at Zappos would be sitting around on Friday night with a few beers, replaying my video while they literally ROFL.
And do they do this for ALL their jobs? A video cover letter might possibly work for a sales role, but what if they are looking for a part time boardroom attendant, someone responsible for making coffee and clearing up after meetings? A video cover letter is probably the worst idea in the world for that role. How tempting would it be for the candidate to demonstrate their skills by showing how they polish the table? Given that this company doesn't do the inhumane email thing, how are they going to let me know I have failed to make the grade? Do they tweet me? Post to my Facebook? Send me a message on Google+? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to find out that I didn’t get the job on Twitter. Send me an email. I would rather that than have my video with a can of Mr Sheen go viral.