Thursday, March 08, 2007

Video Curriculum Vitae : disparate impact?

Time magazine, March 5, 2007, p. 51, has a provocative story by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, "It's a Wrap: You're Hired! Recruiters, get your popcorn. The YouTube generation is discovering the video resume." They are talking about home movie -- that is, individual shot digitial videos CV's -- what we call a filmed curriculum vitae, a detailed discussion of your professional background, emphasizing accomplishments related to the job you are seeking. It is more detailed than a resume. If done with video, the job seeker should do a good job with the filming, lighting (be careful about glare and shadows), sound (use a shotgun microphone if possible) and video editing (use a package like Adobe Premier (Windows) or FinalCut (Apple), both of which are gradually coming down in price. Larger or better funded high schools now often offer elective technology courses that include video editing skills; it is a good skill to learn. And, of course, be well-dressed for the presentation.

There are numerous web references. Here is one on "about job searching", and here is an article "The Video CV: The Way to Get a Law Job."

(By the way, when looking at this subject in search engines, the other term that this acronym refers to is "composite video", a term related to television monitors and color mixing.)

For some jobs, a visual resume sounds appropriate. What would be the most obvious example? Perhaps as a cast member, actor, or any job where you appear in public regularly as a spokesperson. In that business, the "head shot" is a staple that agencies expect. It doesn't sound very appropriate, in most cases, for a computer programmer.

Some employers are afraid to look at video CV's, however, because of downstream legal implications. A video CV will give away the person's race and appearance, and it is easy to imagine how an employer could fear that others will accuse the employer of favoring people with one kind of appearance over another, leading eventually to disparate impact lawsuits. It's not clear how credible this fear really is. It's easy to muddy the waters here with all of the debate about affirmative action.

My own libertarian instinct is to have at it if you can. The most important factor in a job search is whether, relative to all the other applicants, you have what the employer needs to actually do the job.

1 comment:

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