Hiring managers know it’s hard to judge how a job candidate will come across in an interview based on their resume and cover letter. But it takes a lot of time to meet everyone who applies for a position in person, even just for a brief chat.

That’s where the Leesburg, Va.-based startup JobOn comes in. It’s a job matching service that combines traditional employment listings with video applications. In their video, applicants can answer the most common interview questions, such as “Tell me about yourself,” or “What would make you a good employee?” Jody Presti, chief executive of JobOn, told VentureBeat. The company is debuting the video application service today at the DEMO Fall 2011 conference in Silicon Valley.

“We reverse the process because the job interview is the most important part,” Presti said.

Presti thinks that the current process is a remnant of another age. There are thousands of job boards out there, all using the same inefficient format. And in high-turnover industries such as fast food, managers mostly want to know if the employee has the interpersonal skills to do the job and communicate with coworkers. The video interview can answer that question in a few seconds.

JobOn was founded earlier this year and it has six employees. The company doesn’t have direct rivals other than the big classified ad companies Craigslist, Monster and Careerbuilder. Presti and co-founder Dave Atherton have invested $250,000 in the company. Atherton came up with the idea after experimenting with a video application so he could interview babysitters. Presti has more than a decade of experience in online recruitment.

Applicants create a free account, select a few questions and record their video answers into a webcam. They then use the JobOn search engine to find jobs based on keywords or location. Employers can see the responses and then select who they want to meet. Then the employer pays a fee for the applicant’s contact information.

Employers can make tailored requests related to the particular job. Employers can ask applicants to answer questions from a list of 200. The vast majority of questions pertain to getting to know the person and seeing how they present themselves.

JobOn is currently in beta testing with dozens of retailers and restaurants.

JobOn is one of 80 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Fall 2011 event taking place this week in Silicon Valley. After our selection, the companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.