Monday, February 10, 2014

Trend or Fad

Here’s the thing about trends -- you can try to keep pace with them, be a trendsetter by staying ahead of them, spend time periodically chasing them, or ignore them. Take trends in hiring for example: as in anything there are always new and improved ways of doing things marked by innovations and new ideas; some have merit, some are just variations on a theme and some -- are crap. I look at what works more than what everyone’s doing and most of what the majority of people are doing, isn’t. So a trend is an evolution of ideas and methods, it’s meant to be a newer and better way of reaching a goal. Goals don’t evolve but ways by which to attain them do. There is a saying that also should be noted, in this case some common folk logic, which says “…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Since I began my career as a headhunter 22 years ago, within little more than two decades we’ve come a long way in the manner by we conduct day-to-day business. Things like snail-mail, microfiche, and overhead projectors that progressed to facsimile machines, voice mail, email, cell phones, video conferencing, many of which are now long since obsolete. These items subsequently gave rise to new and evolving trends in the workplace. For example: now, when someone asks about a fax number, which most companies still have (not mine), I think to myself, how “Flintstones” is that!
It’s important to keep up with what’s new, however, it is also important to differentiate between a trend and a fad. In the current jobs market many people are grasping at every new thing they can find because they feel that the narrow list of tools to which they’ve limited themselves leaves them wanting and feeling increasingly desperate. I agree, if you think the internet is the tool and that’s virtually all there is, I’d freak out too. So when people talk about the next trend in hiring, in this case video resumes, folks, this isn’t a trend but just a silly fad. That is not to say there is no value in it but likely not in the way you may think.
The concept is fine, that suggests if you have a good video resume it can open doors for you. It will give someone an impression of you and provide you with an opportunity to show them why you are a good candidate and more clever than other mere mortals, “oh, if they would just see me, they would like me!” As well, assuming they’ll recognize your higher level of commitment because, after all, you took the time to assemble a really cool video selfie.
I’ve been a headhunter for a long time and, indeed, there are market sectors that already utilize video resumes or similar. If your career focus is related to media, media production and particular positions within the advertising business sector it is common. Otherwise, unless you aim to be a performance artist, a thespian, a talk show host, a commentator or media personality, or seeking to get onto American Idol or X Factor looking for your 15 minutes of fame, video resumes will require more time, effort and expense than any worth or benefit you’re going to get from it - so what’s the point besides your own vanity. And what is it going to cost; who’s going to produce, edit and assemble it? Do you know what is necessary to make it something worthy of someone’s attention? Ironically, to make a video resume effective you’ll need to practice and rehearse your presentation skills, hone and sharpen the points you want to get across to the recipient, delivering them effectively in a manner that is both convincing and engaging. You’ll need to consider what to wear, how to sit and…wait a minute, I just had a great idea! Instead of putting all that work into a video stunt, why not skip that silly video, stand or sit in front of a mirror and prepare yourself in the same manner for your interview.
Somewhere there is someone patting themselves on the back for coming up with the idea of a video resume. But unless your career of choice requires it, video resumes are about as innovative a game changer in the jobs market as (TV character) Morty Seinfeld’s invention of the Executive, a beltless raincoat, would be to the world of fashion. I think the idea of a video resume is as innovative as the beltless trench coat. Instead, here’s something that is time tested and works; assemble a solid resume and focus those same efforts on effective interviewing skills instead of a video.
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