Is a video resume better than a paper CV? A simple question, but the answer is nuanced. 'Candidates mainly see the added value of it when they think that they can put themselves in a better light,' says professor Eva Derous.

quote icon

'For extraverts, video-resumes deliver a more accurate assessment. For friendliness and openness, this is not the case.' Eva Derous, professor department Personnel policy, Labour and Organisation psychology at the UGent university.

video application is an extra trump for extraverts

In the labour environment, the use of video resumes is rising strongly, especially in the Anglo-Saxon countries but also in the Netherlands. 'They are not only better known over there, but they are also more often used than in Belgium,' says professor Eva Derous, associated with the department Personnel Policy, Labour and Organisation Psychology of UGent. 'But even though we see an increasing occurrence of video resumes, there is at this moment little scientific literature to be found about the value – the honesty, acceptability and validity – of such resumes.'

What has already been researched? The way in which candidates and recruiters consider the honesty – scientific literature calls this fairness – of video resumes. And this depends very much on the traits of the candidate. In this way, members of an ethical minority experience a video resume usually as more honest than a paper CV.

Higher educated profiles are less positive vis-à-vis the video resume and prefer the paper version.

quote icon

'Candidates especially perceive the extra value of a video resume if they think that they can put themselves in a better light by using it'' clarifies Eva Derous.  

no guarantee for a better judgement

HR managers are worried that they might make a too subjective assessment in the case of a video resume. Nevertheless, research proves that candidates of an ethical minority receive a better judgement on the basis of a video resume than on the basis on a paper CV only.

In principle, a video resume must lead to a more correct assessment. The more (function-relevant) information a recruiter has, the better he can judge. And a video sends out more 'signals' than a paper resume. 'Extraversion is a good example,' says professor Eva Derous. 'For this personality trait video resumes deliver a more accurate assessment. For friendliness, emotional stability and openness this is not the case. This means that although recruiters can make a correct assessment of somebody's personality traits based upon CV's, this is not necessarily so. Neither when they base themselves on a video resume.'

the more structure the better

Eva Derous points out that video resumes differ widely and offer far more possibilities than paper CV's. 'Research teaches us that the structure of the video resume is important as well. The more you imbed structure, the better you can compare people afterwards. Ask candidates for instance in their video to answer three function-related questions. If you leave the answer completely open, you appeal to a certain profile of candidates, while resulting in the loss of others.'

The question remains: what shall we do with these video resumes? 'HR managers should not have cold feet for new technology,' is the opinion of Eva Derous. 'It is important however to be well trained and well prepared to cope with innovations. Be aware that something is really different.'