Video Resumes: The Way of the Future?

In July, the video-driven social media network TikTok launched an innovation: video resumes. TikTok teamed up with “select companies” to allow job seekers to apply for jobs with video resumes rather than traditional, text-based resumes. Those companies include major retailers such as Target, restaurants such as Chipotle, and even World Wrestling Entertainment. 

TikTok resumes are a way for job applicants to tell their stories and share key skills, employment history, and education in a different format than what employers expect. Do employers need to prepare themselves for a future in which the hiring process revolves around video resumes? 

Embracing a platform such as TikTok could be a boon for employers. Many sectors are struggling with nationwide worker shortages and finding ways to engage younger people and bring them into the job market is a pragmatic strategy for any employer. 

Video resumes or submissions aren’t necessarily new. Many colleges and universities have had video essay components in their application processes for years, but those requirements have not been mirrored by employers at scale. The TikTok video resume program is not an open-ended service: the rollout involved partnerships with only select companies and only lasted through July 2021. No active hiring campaign is currently using TikTok resumes.

The generational shift in hiring is significant enough—and TikTok and other video platforms popular enough among Generation Z—that employers should monitor video resume technology. Most crucially, employers should consider how the adoption of video resumes might impact their other hiring protocols, from job postings to employee background screening.

Now is also the right time for employers to consider some of the potential pitfalls of video resumes. For example, there has been some discussion in the industry about the barriers that a TikTok resume application process creates for older applicants. While “digital native” generations might be comfortable applying for a job by producing a three-minute video with a smartphone app, older candidates might not be familiar with that technology or have the type of phone required to use TikTok.

Adopting video resumes of any sort could also cause an uptick in bias and discrimination in hiring. One of the best properties of a resume-based hiring process is that an employer can get to know who a candidate is on paper (including their degrees, certifications, and employment history) before ever seeing that person. Video resumes are the opposite, potentially providing a hiring manager with information about a person’s race, ethnicity, gender identification, sexual orientation, disability status, and other factors that could create bias in hiring and expose businesses to the risk of EEOC lawsuits.

A video resume could also make an employee background screening more difficult to execute. For instance, when verifying a candidate’s employment history, a hiring manager would need to take down notes of a candidate’s past jobs while watching a video rather than reading them on a resume. If the candidate’s video or voice is difficult to understand, employers could face challenges in identifying workplaces or gleaning other key details about work history.

Video resumes are not going to become a new standard overnight. However, employers should be aware of these technological shifts as they emerge based on their potential value for reaching the workforce demographics of tomorrow.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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