Beyond the CV: Video cover letters help you find the best match

by Jobbatical June 02, 2016

According to ÜberFacts, “The average Millennial will take over 25,000 selfies in his or her lifetime.” It seems as if most Millennials will take that many selfies before they turn thirty. But one “selfie” both they and you should seriously consider is a video cover letter.

Why? Because you’re hiring a real person, not buying a computer component. And soft skills such as communication and character are a lot harder to gauge via CV, even for experienced hiring managers.

Beyond the job description: use video cover letters for recruiting

Malaysia-based Mindvalley, a leader in transformational education, hires 90 percent of its talent from outside the country. That’s thinking globally. But how do they find overseas talents who share the Mindvalley mindset? Video cover letters.

CEO Vishen Lakhiani says making video cover letters a condition of hire “attracted talents who truly cared about our mission, shared our values and genuinely wanted to work with Mindvalley. It narrowed our selection down to about 20 candidates per position, and enabled us to truly see their personality and where they stand.”

The global mandate is change, or be left behind

Futurist Ray Kurzweil, principal inventor of the first charge-coupled device flatbed scanner and author of The Singularity Is Near, believes there will be more changes in the world between now and 2022 than there were in the entire 20th century. Time to buckle our seatbelts. Lakhiani says, “The world is changing at an exponential pace, and this makes the world more global.”

Evolving hiring trends are an integral part of this shift. It’s normal for recruiters to ask for a CV and Linkedin profile, or the Github repo if you are hiring engineers. But while these flat summaries allow you to assess a candidate’s quantitative skills, personality isn’t readily apparent on paper.

Someone with a rock star CV might be a loner, a poor choice if teamwork is essential for your project. Or the applicant might have an inflated ego that makes it difficult for others to work with this person.

Cultural or personal?

While it’s true that cultural differences can have a huge impact on how people behave in business interactions — and how they expect others to behave — some people are simply irritants: human splinters who don’t care if they hurt others as long as they get the job done.

This piece discusses half a dozen ways employees can deal with a workplace jerk. Career coach Lynn Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant, shares seven steps for taming a TOT.

The best course of action is to glean who someone is, before deciding to bring them on board. Today, it’s easy to make a selfie video with a smartphone. In your job description, ask applicants for a short introductory video cover letter along with their CV, so you can “meet” them before the interview.

This will serve you well because:

  • Only those who are truly interested in your business and the open position will be motivated to spend time making an intro video, as Mindvalley CEO Vishen Lakhiani discovered;
  • You’ll be able to see how the candidate interacts in three dimensions;
  • You’ll form a basic understanding of who he/she is;
  • The video can function as a “pre-interview,” enabling you to eliminate applicants with inappropriate soft skills.

Technology is a superb hiring tool. Let your applicants’ video selfies show you who they really are, while the CV confirms skill set. Now you’ve found the best person for the job.

Originally published at on June 2, 2016.

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