The YouTube Job Hunt

It had an inauspicious start—this Yale student was widely ridiculed—but the video resume trend is gaining steam. For just a sampling, check out Allen, Chrissy, and Greg. My colleague Douglas McMillan wrote about the concept recently here. And CareerBuilder, the online job search site Microsoft recently invested in, even announced in mid-April that it plans to launch a new video resume service.

Perhaps it’s a way for job seekers to stand out from the crowd. But for managers, it’s a more complex issue. Recently, I chatted with Cheryl Behymer, a partner at national labor and employment law firm Fisher & Phillips about this trend. Her advice? Don’t hit play. “You’re seeing a physical representation of the candidate, you’re seeing what their race is, their national origin, their age, and whether they’re attractive or not,” says Behymer. “By seeing it that potential applicant might say the reason you didn’t hire me is because you can tell I’m a minority.”

Behymer advises first that companies don’t solicit video resumes. If a candidate sends one in anyways, it should be ignored and returned, with the request that a traditional resume be sent instead. Finally, she advises, managers should be trained so that there’s a buffer between the person who initially screens the resume and the person actually doing the hiring.

What do you think? Is this an overly cautious lawyer? Or are there real liabilities that come with the YouTube-ization of the job search?

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