Talent Management
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By Colin Martin

When a Toronto recruiter first tried out video interviewing earlier this year, she was amazed at the ease of the process and how comfortable the applicant seemed to be. Little did she know, the candidate – dressed conservatively from the waist up – was actually doing the interview in his underwear.


The simplicity of completing the initial interview in the comfort of his own home – not to mention his unconventional interview-attire – may be partially responsible for the candidate’s eventual success, but video technology certainly proved to be a time-efficient solution for the recruiter, as well.

In 2013, Skype celebrated the two-million-minute mark, meaning users around the world were spending nearly 38 centuries on Skype every single day. People have been connecting through video for years and are clearly comfortable with it. What’s new is how it is being incorporated into the business world, particularly for human resources (HR) and recruiting. In this competitive, talent-hungry environment, companies are getting ahead by implementing simple recruiting technologies that speak to this generation’s job candidates, and they are using video in a way that complements their traditional HR practices.

To date, adoption of video into the recruitment process is highest amongst external recruiters, hiring managers in direct business lines and the C-suite, all of whom tend to be focused on how video technology can save time and money. An example that speaks volumes involves a client that operates in a billable hour structure. After narrowing down resumes, they used on-demand video (on-demand video refers to the process of creating questions for job candidates and inviting them to record their answers using a web cam) to screen their short list. Because they bill by the hour, they were able to see that reviewing video responses took less than 15 minutes and saved them approximately $1,400, or three hours of scheduling and participating in preliminary phone or in-person screenings. The even better news is that they also hired the candidate they chose to bring in for a face-to-face interview following the video screening process.

Of course, the applicant experience is more important than saving time or money and is where the HR team tends to focus. Clearly committed to the processes they have in place to protect the employer/employee experience, HR professionals sometimes express concern that video can seem cold and impersonal. This is one of the most common misconceptions about using video, and it usually means video is not being used the right way. Video must complement the hiring process. It must be incorporated in a way that enhances the experience for both the employer and employee, and gives everyone back some of their day. Below are some tips to make that happen.

Use video to screen your short list

HR pros are incredibly talented at finding the superstars in a pile of resumes. There is no need to replace that process with video. Video is best used in between narrowing down resumes and conducting face-to-face interviews. Instead of picking up the phone to schedule and conduct preliminary screening calls, request an on-demand video and get to know candidates much more quickly. In that few minutes of video, hiring managers will learn enough about each candidate to choose the right ones to meet in person. Also, look for a service that allows you to share those recorded videos with other decision makers so, as a team, you know you are bringing in the best candidates. The formal interviews will still happen, but with the right candidates after a significantly condensed screening process.

Cater to the applicant experience

Video recruitment works for roles as diverse as interns, accountants, commercial bankers and sales people. No matter the role, the feedback on the applicant experience is stellar. They can record videos on their own time from the comfort of their own home, they see it as a fast and efficient way to present themselves to the hiring team and they are further along in the recruitment process before they have to excuse themselves from their current role to participate in interviews.

It is important for the employer to properly communicate with applicants regarding the video interview. Sending candidates a personal email from the hiring manager or HR team makes the candidate feel like they are being recognized by the employer as a quality candidate. That personal approach HR workers value so highly is equally important when it comes to video.

Take the plunge

Most service providers offer a free trial so employers can experience firsthand the benefits of adopting video into their hiring process. Quickly, some of the preconceptions around video tend to disappear. What if the applicant doesn’t have a webcam? This is rare, but when it happens, they tend to visit the local library or use a friend’s computer. Will this discriminate against an older applicant? So far, user demographics have varied significantly. How can I learn anything about a candidate in a one-way dialogue? You will be surprised what a few key questions will deliver for you and other decision makers in your organization.

The corporate landscape has changed. Flex work environments, work-from-home policies and a shift to more global hiring practices have created a need for effective video recruitment technology. Although it may be considered by some to be the future of recruiting, it does not replace all the valuable strategies and processes the HR team is currently employing – it must complement them. Finding the elusive needle in the haystack will be that much easier if you are speaking the same language as your applicants – online and by video.

Colin Martin is the founder of Intervue.ca, an on-demand video interviewing company.

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