A CV video can give you a 3D edge

For today's jobseekers, the CV is no longer the sure-fire way of securing a new role. Many recruiters are now looking for a 30-second video pitch to help them filter applications more effectively.

Ahmad Khamis, the co-founder and chief executive of Bloovo, says a video CV helds companies select their shortlist. Antonie Robertson / The National
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When you’re sifting through a huge pile of CVs you really only get a two-dimensional idea of what a person is like in the seconds you spend per resume. So would it help if those seconds were spent reviewing the applicant in 3D instead?

That’s the concept behind recruitment site Bloovo’s 30-second “elevator pitch” videos. A jobseeker signing up to the site can upload a 4MB file to “describe why a prospective employer would hire you”.

Ahmad Khamis, Bloovo’s co-founder and chief executive, says the feature is not meant to serve as a stand-alone video CV or test; its function is more to help the recruiting company select its shortlist for interviews.

“This is a complementary aide for employers, to better understand the person behind the profile or the CV and reduce the time spent on interviewing irrelevant candidates,” he says. “Thirty seconds is a good time for employers to make an early first impression.

“For truly engaging candidates, the 30-second video pitch is an excellent way to make sure they don’t get lost in the thousands of CVs that might flow towards an application. It helps jobseekers tell employers what makes them stand out.”

Bloovo launched in January and Mr Khamis says it is receiving hundreds of CVs a day, 10 per cent of which contain video pitches.

The long-established classifieds site Dubizzle also has a video feature in its job section, while recruitment site Bayt.com allows users to add an approved video from YouTube and graduates’ site InternsME gives premium members the option to post a video “introduction”.

InternsME says that a video resume, even if well done, “won’t help you” unless you also submit a high-quality written CV. Jean-Michel Gauthier, the chief executive, says that candidates who include video in their application have up to nine times the visibility of their counterparts.

“This is huge, especially for millennials that are likely to have little or no experience in the workplace,” he says. “They are given a chance to express their ambitions and personality, for employers to make better decisions when it comes to culture fit – which is becoming more of a priority in organisations.”

In any format, he says, applicants need to “involve their personalities” to differentiate themselves and stay less generic. “It’s remarkable how many candidates still resort to templates that can be easy to spot.”

He recommends that jobseekers list skills and achievements, not just duties. “A great way of doing that is by using this guide – accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z].”

Mireia Mujika, the product manager for Dubizzle Jobs, which has about 3.4 million visits a month, says recruiters reviewing resumes on the site will see a small video symbol when a candidate has uploaded a video, which can range from 10 seconds to two minutes.

“These will be positioned on top of the pile, immediately giving the applicant with a video CV a competitive advantage.”

Dubizzle and InternsME carry tips for would-be video stars, including dressing professionally, using a tripod, ensuring you have a clear, single-colour backdrop, using good lighting – and remembering to smile.

Suhail Masri, the vice president of employer solutions at Bayt.com, says prospective employees need to take “every measure” to make sure their application flies in a competitive job market.

The site carries 24 million jobseekers’ profiles and, according to one of the company’s polls, 30 per cent of hiring companies love video CVs, he says.

“Creativity is welcomed,” he says. “You can include a video CV as part of your application to really stand out from the crowd.”

According to another of Bayt’s polls, says Mr Masri, almost half of recruiters prefer a CV no longer than a page, and only 19 per cent prefer a lengthy, detailed application. He also reminds applicants to update their CV regularly and to add useful keywords to help recruiters find their CV.

“The recruiter seeing the applicants’ eyes and body language, and hearing them, is a real benefit to see if there is a connection,” says Alan Simpson, the director and co-founder of customer engagement consultancy and training company ThinkOn. “With recruiters receiving and having to surf through hundreds of applications, any way of getting that edge is a winner.” He says the technology would work well for hospitality and customer-facing roles, while technical roles are more likely to need full assessments and testing.

Mr Khamis says the elevator pitch concept is attractive to young and early to midcareer professionals – but the idea is to give a “fair idea” of any applicant.

As Dubizzle warns us, just don’t film it in bed.