To understand the role of video and job boards, you have to go back a bit in time. Remember ‘dial up’ internet? If you’re lucky, you don’t – but that’s where we were when job boards first showed up on the web. Internet access was slow, expensive, and unable to handle much in the way of data. Pictures could take minutes to upload and download – and if someone else accidentally picked up the phone using the same line as your modem, well…you had to start over. The world was a dark place, kids!
So if you were a job board emerging in this world, you did your best to make certain that your site worked well despite a dial-up connection (and yes, there were folks in academia and government with faster connections – but that’s another story). You kept things simple – take a look at Monster back in 1996. A few simple images and lots of text.
Video? Hah! It just wasn’t a thing. In fact, it was 2002 before before you could get an approximation of VHS-quality images and sound online. Video was waiting on broadband. The good news for job boards was that HR was (and is) always behind the times – they were just happy when their internet connections worked. And, of course, when the job boards sent them plenty of candidates.
Things started to change around 2005. Broadband began seeping into the general populations of some countries – primarily the U.S. and parts of Europe and the Mideast – and with broadband came two services that changed everything: YouTube and Netflix. Well, and porn. Porn has always driven the technology of video.
Folks in the HR tech industry looked at this, and some of them immediately started thinking about video and job boards, video and interviewing, video and hiring, and video, period. Guess what? HireVue was ready – it was founded in 2004. Technology was still a challenge, though – HireVue had to ship webcams to candidates in order for them to record their interview answers. Bring video and job boards together was still something of a pipedream.
As the 2000s progressed, however, job boards began experiments with video – usually by partnering with an existing company such as HireVue. Almost immediately they discovered that just because they had a product to sell didn’t mean that HR wanted the product. Why not? The answer was often ‘legal issues’. In a nutshell, despite the benefits of video screening or interviewing, corporate legal departments frowned on video because they worried it would invite lawsuits regarding bias – as in ‘you didn’t hire me because I’m short’ or ‘you didn’t hire me because I stutter’, and so on.
But job boards tend to be tenacious – so they went back to employers and said, ‘How about putting a short video in your employer profile page?’. Some job boards encouraged employers to add videos to their job postings. There were some successes – such as TheMuse – and some flame-outs. But overall, as the world moved into 2020, most job boards did not have video of any type integrated into their sites or employer offerings. LinkedIn was an exception – but the videos it displayed in feeds ranged from personal stories of triumph over despair, advertorials from big tech, or ‘can you believe this guy did this?’.
Then the pandemic happened. A large number of employees began working at home – including HR folks. Suddenly Zoom became a big deal. And millions of workers discovered that, in fact, you could have meetings via internet video. You could conduct business. And…you could interview and hire. The final piece of the puzzle for video and job boards was in place.
Or was it? Looking at the world’s biggest job board, you might expect to see lots of video – maybe even video-based screening! Um…nope. Indeed just isn’t that into video. You want video, go visit LinkedIn. Or – yes – HireVue, which has morphed into a job board, among other things. I’m not saying that there aren’t job boards out there using video in significant ways – there are – but you still can’t say that video and job boards are happily married – or even in a deep and long-term relationship. Things feel…unfinished.
Maybe next year? We’ll see…
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