Video interviews: the new era of recruitment

Video may have killed the radio star, but it has saved HR from time draining face-to-face interviews. Welcome to the age of the video interview.

Video interviews: the new era of recruitment
Video may have killed the radio star, but it has saved HR from time draining face-to-face interviews. Welcome to the age of the video interview.
You settle into your chair. You are nervous but quietly confident. This could be the next vital step in your career and you don’t want to mess it up. You open up the screen in front of you and start the process. Looking at the questions before you, eventually you gain the confidence to hit ‘record’. This is recruitment in 2015: the era of the video interview.
Close to two-thirds of hiring managers are already using video interviews to locate and hire talent, according to a study by US-based recruiter OfficeTeam. This figure is likely to increase as Australia finally gets its long-awaited national broadband network.
For time-poor candidates and recruitment professionals, video interviews can be a lifeline. While the concept has been around for several years, it’s only now that the technology has caught up with the vision.
Pre-hiring experts like Revelian have invested significantly in this space, always with the end goal of providing exceptional candidate experience and ease of use for the recruiting company. “Revelian has always been in the HR analytics space,” says Daniel Harrison, CTO, Revelian. “This means that we’ve got a slightly different focus from straight-ahead technology companies who have entered this space. We’re interested in HR processes and good pre-screening capability.”
While video will always be subjective, Revelian is integrating this step into a battery of other objective pre-employment screening methods, such as cognitive ability tests, cultural fit tests, and values alignment tests. “Candidates might present themselves particularly well in an interview, yet might not have the technical ability required to do the job, or they might not have the right personality fit. Being able to link a candidate across all these facets for the role they are applying for is the future of hiring,” Harrison says.
Live vs recorded
To this point, video interviewing has traditionally been conducted ‘live’. Most people have used Skype at one point or another. As such, they might be wary of the constant quality issues: sound drop-outs, fuzzy connections, or calls that appear to be made from the Moon.
However, there are obvious benefi ts to live videos. Firstly, of course, they can closely replicate face-to-face interviews. Verbal and non-verbal communication cues can be witnessed, hesitations picked up on, and areas of confi dence noted. The candidate can make the same mistakes in a live video format as they might make in a face-toface setting. Yet there can also be variations and inconsistencies in the questions asked.
Environmental factors (it’s raining outside; you take that disgruntlement into the interview) – not to mention technology factors (videos losing audio or visual) – can also play a critical role in our bias towards one candidate over another.
A recorded video is another matter.
“A recorded video allows you to get consistency across a wide candidate pool,” says Harrison. “The questions are the same, which means you can take something that’s very subjective and start applying objective measures to that.”
Recorded videos also allow employers to compare candidates and obtain the necessary ‘buy-in’ from recruitment stakeholders (HR, direct manager, senior leader, etc). “Recorded videos allow you to rate and review them at any time, and also distribute them. If you’ve got good questions and good criteria for evaluating those responses, especially for a large pool of candidates, you can get through them more effectively,” Harrison notes.
There is also scope for interview question flexibility. Harrison notes that employers will usually build in two types of questions to the process: pressure questions where candidates only get one go at responding; and pitch questions, for which candidates can record and respond as many times as they like. For example, a pressure question might relate to something technical or requiring a yes or no response: ‘can you apply this widget over there and do this particular task?’ A pitch question might be along the lines of, ‘tell us why you want to work for us’.
Importantly, pre-recorded videos save time. Without the need for face-to-face meetings, and the scheduling required to do that, it’s possible to watch videos wherever and whenever the employer wants. Most employers, he adds, are conducting these video interviews after initial assessment. Candidates will undertake a standard psychometric assessment or interactive game to rank certain psychometric properties. From there a shortlist will be created, and those on the shortlist will be asked to do a video interview.

Is the technology up to it?
It sounds great, but how about the technology? Revelian provides the technology on both sides, for the employer and the candidate. For candidates, the requirements are simple: a standard web browser and a webcam. Nonetheless, technical support is close at hand, if required.
Employers require the reviewing or management platform, which can be integrated with existing ATS (applicant tracking systems).
This can be taken as an individual module, or combined with other candidate assessment technology offered by Revelian.
If Harrison has one word of warning on both sides, it’s to be aware of bandwidth. “For candidates – and this often happens with young candidates who are in share houses with a flatmate watching Netflix in another room – they must be wary of bandwidth limits. But as long as they are prepared for that, and treat it like a real interview, dress appropriately, research the company, and so on, it should be almost like a face-to-face interview.”
On the employer side, bandwidth is also a consideration. “Because of security issues or mixed use, some companies are really locked down around multimedia. You just need to ensure your corporate bandwidth can handle that kind of multiple video load,” says Harrison, who adds that for employers operating with an up-to-date IT infrastructure environment, video interviewing can work fl awlessly.
One tool of many
Harrison is quick to emphasise that although video technology has finally ‘come of age’, it will only ever be a facilitator. Nothing beats insightful question selection and clear evaluation processes.
“What criteria are you judging the interview on? Get it known upfront, otherwise you’ll get widely ranging results based on the inherent bias of whoever has reviewed it.”

The future is now
What does the future hold for the role of video in recruitment? Here are three possibilities:
1. Video job posts. You’ve seen it before, and possibly been guilty of it, too: poorly written
job postings. Imagine if this was a thing of the past. It’s possible that job boards will transform into a video platform where job seekers can view video job postings and reply directly with a video application.
2. Screening candidates through smartwatch interviews. On the go connectivity is here already and there’s no reason to think this can’t be extended to video interviews. Interviewing apps on smartwatches will potentially allow recruiters to watch videos – live or recorded – wherever they are.
3. Announcing job offers through video. There have already been cases of employers offering candidates jobs by sharing photos on social media platforms. The next frontier might be using videos to make job offers. This might be done via a quick clip using Instagram or publishing a longer ‘welcome video’ on YouTube. Who knows, it might even go viral, spreading a positive message about your employer brand.
Revelian is an Australian-based high-innovation company at the forefront of providing unique psychometric tests, surveys, games and communications analytics. Visit us at

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