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Could Video Resumes Violate Employment Law?

Ah, leave it to lawyers to put the kibbosh on what seems like a terrific way for law students and lawyers to stand out from the crowd when job hunting and marketing. As this blog post by Dave Lefkow of Director of Recruiting discusses, the legal profession's opinion of online video resumes hasn't been favorable.

According to this article from The National Law Journal, legal employers are cautioned to stay away from video recruiting. From the article:

If a video résumé comes across your computer, hit the delete button. That's the advice labor and employment attorneys are giving employers and human resources professionals about video résumés, the latest job-searching trend that has employers nationwide both intrigued — and scratching their heads. But lawyers are warning employers that video résumés can open a slew of discrimination claims.

One lawyer quoted in the article had this to say:

Cheryl Behymer, a partner at Atlanta's Fisher & Phillips, is advising employers to return video résumés with a request for a traditional résumé. "Just let them know, 'We don't use video,' " said Behymer, who strongly advises against opening up video résumés. "You're opening yourself up to a potential that someone could claim, 'Well, the reason I didn't get hired is because you could see my gray hair and you could see that I'm over 40.' "

Lefkow anticipates that law firms' attitudes toward video resumes might have a slipperly slope effect. He wonders whether law firms will start relying exclusively on phone interviews to avoid the legal hassles of meeting someone in person.

Moreover, even written resumes send signals of their own. Many employers scrutinize candidates' names to guess at race, year of graduation to determine age as well as clubs and activities (e.g., Hispanic Law Students Association or Lambda) to figure out race and sexual orientation. The point is that firms intent on discriminating will find a way to do it, whether based on a paper resume, a videotape or an in-person visit. So why cut off a potential recruiting mechanism that offers the positive benefits of viewing the person as a whole:  an individual with a gender, an age and a race but also an individual with personality and mannerisms that might make him or her a good fit for a firm?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on June 29, 2007 at 05:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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