Advances in technology and a continuing mindset of doing more with less has ushered in a new weapon in the interviewing process: the video interview.
A recent survey by OfficeTeam, a Robert Half International staffing company, revealed that 63% of human resources managers said their company often conducts video job interviews, which is up dramatically from only 14% a year ago.
According to HR experts video interviews are being embraced by companies of all sizes to conduct initial screenings and even for second or third rounds. It’s attractive because it saves time and money that would otherwise be spent sifting through hundreds of applicants and paying someone to screen them face-to-face.
Video interviews “allow companies to get more of the full, fair objective information that comes from an in-person interview with the efficiency of an online application,” says Dan Finnigan, president and CEO of Jobvite, maker of an online applicant tracking system. “It also lets you bring in people who on paper don’t seem qualified but when you interview them, you instantly recognize they fit.”
But it’s not only the companies that benefit from the video interview. Many job candidates have grown up with technology and view the video interview as a way to stand out from the heap of resumes that undoubtedly land on a recruiter or hiring managers’ desk on any given day. “We’ve all met someone who has said, ‘if they only had a chance to meet me, they’d hire me.’ With video interviewing, companies can now give candidates that chance cost-effectively,” says Finnigan.
Video interviews come in many flavors. According to Finnigan companies routinely use Skype, which is free but requires both parties to have the software installed and a video camera on their computer or smart phone, to conduct the interviews. Other companies will rely on cloud based programs or even install their own video interviewing software. Many use it for the screening or initial interviews but there are companies that incorporate video interviews into other rounds of the interviewing process. When it comes to the final decision, experts say, there’s nothing better than a face-to-face interview to gauge how the potential employee will fit in with the company culture and perform under stress.
For companies just screening candidates, often they will use a one-way video interview or prerecorded one in which the employer sends text based interviews questions to candidates who record video answers on their own time, says Josh Tolan, chief executive of online video interview company SparkHire. According to Tolan the one way interview should be used as a screening tool to replace the phone screen but when the employer has settled on a few candidates it should engage in live interview whenever possible. “The candidate and the employer can speak face-to-face via webcam and this allows the employer to put the candidate on the spot during questioning,” says Tolan. “Employers can also pick up on a candidate’s important nonverbal cues.”
For companies engaging in video interviewing, Tolan says it crucial the job candidates know the role video interviewing is playing in the overall hiring process. Tolan says companies have to view a video interview as an in person one and define the objectives of the video interview whether it’s for screening purposes or to decide who moves to the next round. “Knowing what they want to get out of video interviewing will help a company determine the best solution for their needs,” says Tolan. “Video interviewing is no different than any other new initiative so it is important companies have a plan.”
Video interviewing is a cost saver and one that’s growing in popularity but there are pitfalls that companies have to be cognizant of. For instance someone may really shine in a video interview and the hiring manager may fall in love with the candidate only to find out later on he or she lacks the skills needed to do the job. Another pitfall: potential technical glitches that may shine the company in a bad light and turn off potential candidates.
“Video interviews can improve the overall candidate experience because there’s less stress associated with travel and time constraints, and applicants can interview out of the comfort of their own home or location of their choosing,” says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “However, not all professionals have access to or are familiar with the technology, and those who are camera-shy may feel more pressure with this format.”