Lights, Camera, Hire Me!

As chief marketing officer of SuggestionBox.com, a Web company based in Solana Beach, Calif., Cook is looking to hire a community manager to schmooze online and off with SuggestionBox's users and the greater Web community. Besides asking applicants to send in an old-school resume, he's asking them to submit a two- to three-minute video, explaining why they're the right person for the job.

"I think once you put somebody on camera, there are little nuances that come through in terms of their personality that you don't get when you're sitting face to face," Cook said. By contrast, candidates will often act more tense and reserved, most likely due to nerves, in a formal job interview.

But, "If you can get someone in the comfort of their home, their true colors really show through," he said.

Rachel Jorgenson, 55, from San Diego, Calif., credits the "true colors" quotient in her video resume with helping her land a job as an accounts bookkeeper for a software design firm six months ago.

"I just felt that this may help me and give me an edge over a paper resume," said Jorgenson, who, despite describing herself as "very shy," posted her video resume for free on the site WorkBlast.com, and received her own URL to send to employers.

It was a good bet: Not only did she avoid having to hop on a plane to interview with the San Francisco firm that hired her (she interviewed by phone), she landed a full-time position teleworking from home and has yet to meet her boss face-to-face.

The Swagger Factor

Of course, there's being comfortable on camera, and then there's out-and-out swaggering, like the now infamous Yale grad whose overly cocky video resume of him ballroom dancing, bench pressing 495 pounds, and smashing a pile of bricks with a karate chop, made him the laughing stock of Wall Street (not to mention the Internet) back in 2006.

"A poor quality video resume can cost an applicant an opportunity in a heartbeat," said personal branding expert Dan Schawbel, who publishes the blog Personal Branding. Same goes for a video resume that's too awkward, arrogant, dull, or delusional.

Perhaps that's why YouTube only returns 1,350 results for "video resumes" -- many of them instructional or satirical.

Having seen a number of his contemporaries' ill-fated "Hire Me Now!" videos, Shane Cleveland, a 21-year-old MBA student at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., created a video resume spoof of his own. (Highlight: "I've been to Mexico a couple times on spring break, so I've got some international experience that I feel is very useful in today's international business climate.")

And while this aspiring advertising exec hopes to use a video resume to land a job when he graduates in 2009, he does worry a bit about "the danger of it being out there forever," in case his video isn't well received.

As for the hiring powers that be, Segal conceded that lawsuit-skittish employers can't stave off video resumes forever.

"We can be so cautious and say, 'I'm not going to ever look at a video resume.' But, as times change and as modes of communication change, we're going to miss out on hiring top-notch talent."

This work is the opinion of the columnist, and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

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