How Video Interviews are Steamlining Job Applications

The concept of video interviews for jobs isn’t new. We can’t pinpoint exactly when employers began using the internet’s bandwidth to see candidates instead of just listen to them, but most recruiters agree that, in the 12 years since Skype launched, the number of employers working video into their recruiting process has steadily grown. (All of which means job candidates should be prepared for this format.)

In fact, today a majority of companies use some kind of video when they’re hiring. According to HR.com, 62 percent of businesses with 1,000 or more workers conducted video interviews in 2018. (That compares to 32 percent of those with fewer than 100 employees.) Meanwhile, 45 percent of the HR professionals who haven’t used video are either considering it or have decided to start.

As they’ve become more popular, video interviews have also become more sophisticated. HR.com says 29 percent of the employers using them have moved beyond Skype, Slack or similar tools to take advantage of dedicated solutions. Platforms such as HireVue, Montage and Vidcruiter, for example, allow companies to do everything from offer interviews on-demand to analyze tone of voice and physical movement to gauge a candidate’s level of comfort or stress.

Video Interviews: More Intelligent Recruiting

Most video-interview tools include features designed to relieve recruiters of mundane tasks such as transferring information or scheduling meetings. These tools offer a huge amount of convenience and flexibility, suggest the companies behind them.

In most cases, interviews are “conducted” by the system, not a live recruiter or hiring manager. Candidates sign in, agree to the terms of service, and talk their way through a series of pre-recorded questions.

Vidcruiter CEO Sean Fahey suggested employers can use these sessions to introduce the company’s culture. Candidates interviewing with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, for example, take their questions from a videoed Dominique Wilkins. “That’s a pretty cool experience for a candidate,” Fahey said. “They see prerecorded videos of Dominique Wilkins and then answer their questions to Dominique Wilkins.”

Convenience is also a factor, said HireVue CEO Kevin Parker: “Our customers are interviewing candidates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.” About 60 percent of those interviews are delivered to customers outside of normal business hours, while 40 to 45 percent are conducted on mobile phones.

“When you think about the all the logistical challenges associated with just getting to an office to sit across the table from somebody, you democratize the process by making sure everybody can interview at a time and place and location that’s the most convenient for them,” Parker added.

“The modern candidate’s experience is central to everything we do,” said Greg Meyers, vice president of technology strategy at Montage. “Our product innovations are focused around enhancing the candidate experience, accelerating the hiring process and using A.I. and predictive technologies to facilitate smarter decision-making among both candidates and recruiters.”

Streamlined Process, Faster Pipeline

Video platforms also streamline the process so recruiters can spend less time on administrative chores such as scheduling and more on developing relationships. Some can be integrated into applicant tracking systems and assessment tools, simplifying and speeding up the pipeline.

That’s why these platforms’ executives emphasize the work they undertake behind the scenes. Some, like Vidcruiter, come with a tested workflow. Others, like HireVue, help develop interview questions that can tease out traits that align with successful current employees. Montage automates routine tasks such as initial applicant screenings and interview scheduling, in order to give recruiters more time for strategic work. Is it all a bit Big Brother-ish? Maybe. But it also saves recruiters and hiring managers a lot of time.

At their core, these video platforms can help organizations improve the way they interview. For example, they might offer a structured interview process, so that all candidates are asked the same questions in the same order. The idea is to ensure a more apples-to-apples comparison of candidates.

“We all understand the value of structured interviewing. It turns out that humans are the weakest part of that process,” Parker said. Often interviews begin with small talk before people get down to business; that can push the discussion off-track. “We sit down with someone or get on the phone with someone and it becomes, ‘I grew up in New York. You grew up in New York?’ or ‘Did you play lacrosse? I played lacrosse.’ Suddenly the whole idea of a structured interview goes out the window.”

Machines: If nothing else, they keep everyone relentlessly on-track.