Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Spark A Conversation: Warning Signs in Video Resumes

Here at Spark Hire, we want to help companies utilize the power of online video to find the best candidates. We get a lot of questions from readers about best practices for using online video in the hiring process. These posts will address those questions about how to find your next superstar employee.

Question: What are some warning signs to look for in a candidate’s video resume? -Karissa from Philadelphia

Thank you for your question, Karissa! Video resumes are a great way for job seekers to get themselves in front of you, the employer. They are also a great way for employers to further screen candidates and look for what they want and don’t want in a future employee. In a paper resume, it’s difficult to get a feel for a candidate’s personality and their passion for what they do- if they have any.

In order to make the best use of video resumes in your screening process, watch out for these warning signs that can show you this candidate is not the future employee you are looking to hire.

Company Goals
In their video resume, candidates will usually state what they feel is most important to them in a company or job. Perhaps they want to work for a company that gives back to the community, or a company that is really into going green and conserving the environment. In other words, look to see if a candidate’s views and goals align with your own company’s goals. This also goes for pinpointing passion in the job seeker for the industry they are in. Why are they interested in this particular position? Is it a writing intensive position but all of their past experience is in Public Relations or Customer Service? If so, that may tell you that they are just looking for a “right now” job and they may not be what you need right now.

Background and Video Details
It may seem a bit petty, but the fact of the matter is, if the video resume a job seeker is sending you is not up-to-par in terms of background and lighting, then you may have some issues. For instance, if the lighting in your candidate’s video resume is so dark that you have to strain to see them, or too bright that it hurts your eyes, then that should definitely be a warning sign to you. If this job seeker truly cared about the position they were applying to, they would do everything in their power to be sure they were showing you their best self. That includes having a clean, tidy background and sufficient lighting in their video resume. Attention to detail is important in any position, and without it this job seeker likely won’t make a great employee.

A while back we published an article talking about how a nervous candidate doesn’t necessarily indicate a bad candidate. However, if you have a job seeker that looks extremely nervous in their video resume, you may have a bit of an issue. For one, a video resume is pre-recorded and candidates have the opportunity to record new ones until they are satisfied. If you are looking at a video resume with a nervous, sweaty mess of a candidate, they probably won’t be any better in the in-person interview. On top of that, how well will this candidate perform under the pressures of the job? Look out for extra-nervous candidates and perhaps move past them.

Work Experience
Lastly, if you are watching a video resume from a candidate and they are extremely vague about their past experiences, you may have a bit of an issue. A video resume is a chance for job seekers to expand upon their work experience more in-depth than in their paper resume. If they are being vague about their past work experience, or are failing to mention it altogether, they may not have the right skills and qualifications that are needed for this position. If you still think they are a good candidate, then be sure to ask specifics in the video interview or in-person interview.

Do you have a question you need answered? Spark a conversation with the Spark Hire team by submitting your question to blog(at) or in the comments below.

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.