In the most recent Ask the Coach call, career guru Randy Block noted that the biggest challenge facing job seekers is having their resumes get noticed, which is part of the reason for the growing popularity of video resumes. But video resumes offer their own unique pitfalls, legal and otherwise, as outlined in a particularly interesting article I uncovered by Michael D. Young of the law firm Alston & Bird LLP
“Should employers fear potential discrimination lawsuits if they receive them? Are the candidates themselves at risk for what they put on their videos? We are not aware of any lawsuits that have sprung from the use of video resumes (either by the employer or employee); but with enough imagination, we could foresee the following possibilities…”
As Young notes, video resumes open up possibilities for discrimination. If you use a video then you have a WYSIWYG resume – what you see is truly what you get. This could open the door for weeding out candidates based on age, sex, race, accent, and other factors. Of course, the same argument could be made for in-person interviews, but hiring managers will have to be carefully trained to mitigate the risks of using video resumes for screening job applicants.
Applicants also run other risks with video resumes. For example, if you decide to liven up a video with a soundtrack or visual background, do you have the necessary copyright clearance for the music, photos, etc. You can claim fair use, but then again, given how aggressive the music industry has been of late prosecuting online music sharers, do you want to take the chance?
You want videos to be interesting and entertaining, which could lead you to exaggeration and possible misrepresentation. If you choose to be funny in your video resume, are you opening yourself up to slander, trade libel, or some other issue (and is that kind of humor casting you in the best light to begin with)? What about misrepresentation? If you misrepresent your background by exaggeration or inflation on a video, it’s the same as misrepresenting yourself on paper, with the same potential consequences.
There are some interesting potential pitfalls that accompany a video resume. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use one if it’s effective, but beware of the potential consequences if you get carried away in front of the camera.