These are the thoughts and takeaways from the latest Resourcing Think Tank (RTT) held on Thursday 19th March 2015 hosted by Clifford Chance’s Sarah Langton (Head of Resourcing) titled ‘The Real Impact of Video Interviewing’.
The following summary has been prepared to reflect a segment of the discussion held amongst senior HR and Resourcing professionals from leading national and international businesses. Specific company details, experiences and examples have been omitted from this summary as all discussions are held under ‘Chatham House Rules’.
The concept of video interviewing is still relatively new in the recruitment industry and for many businesses there seems to be a certain amount of resistance to experimenting with the more automated video medium. This summary will discuss how video interviewing can be used to improve the end to end recruitment process for both the business and candidates.
Business Drivers for Using Video Interviewing
- Cost savings for both the business and candidates – mostly down to time saved
- Increased accessibility – candidates often come from all over the UK or world and video means a far wider pool can be reached
- Determining cultural fit / proper representation of candidate– personality is often key for many companies yet hard to convey in a CV or even over the phone. Video enables interviewers to see how the candidate conducts and presents themselves and whether this would fit in with the company’s culture, especially important for client facing roles
- Perception of the company – seem innovative and digitally savvy if using the latest technology which is especially important for media and technology businesses
- Quicker interview processes – often one of the main things that slows down the assessment process is having to find time in hiring managers’ calendars for interviews. As videos can be watched anywhere anytime by hiring managers (often on their phones) this is no longer an issue. This also means that candidates can fit interviews in when it suits them e.g. in the evening after putting the kids to bed
- Chance to present employer brand which is hard to display over the phone and may be less consistent in face to face interviews
- Performance – there seems to be a link between high performers in video interviews and high performers in the company (although this research is on a small population and is relatively new).
Best Practice in Implementing Video Interviewing
Who to use it for?
Many companies are currently using video interviewing for graduate level roles which seems to work well and has little resistance from candidates. However, for other level roles there seems to be some resistance to this method.
Some candidates either feel uncomfortable with recording themselves, do not have the ability to (more of an issue for candidates outside of the UK and America) or are worried about what will be done with their video. However, these issues can be combated. Firstly if a candidate does not feel comfortable recording a video is this someone that the company wants to hire? How would they perform when asked to present to key stakeholders for example if they lack confidence to record a video? For the second issue the options offered to candidates are key. If low connectivity is the problem video interviewing software can be brought to adapt to this or equipment can be provided. In terms of personal privacy communication is key for who will view the video, where it will be kept and a clear set of security guidelines should be provided to show this is something the company has considered. For other resistance positioning of the video is essential.
All video interviews should have an intro and outro, using the company’s branding, to help personalise the video and communicate the benefits to candidates (such as being able to represent their true personality). Intros should set context and include an explanation of why video is being used, who will see the video, what other stages are in the interview process and a clear explanation of how the candidate should use video. Guidelines should also include how to dress and the type of environment people should be in when recording their video. The outro should leave candidates with a positive feeling of the experience and the company as well as clear communication of what will happen next.
A good way to make the video feel more personalised and reduce participant resistance is by getting the hiring manager to record the questions that are shown to the candidate. This shows the hiring manager has been willing to record themselves too and allows the candidate to virtually ‘meet’ the line manager for the role they are applying for. The more genuine the video feels the better it will work. What does the candidate want to know about the company / role? This question should be asked when adapting the intro / outro for the video on different roles. Education of video interviewing and its benefits is key in reducing resistance toward this medium. Some companies go to university campuses to educate students on video interviewing and how to use it to their advantage and what the benefits of it are.
When inviting someone to take part in a video interview a personalised email or phone call should be used to help with the candidate’s experience. Time and effort needs to be put in when developing the structure and process for video interviewing but if this is done right at the start it will ultimately save time. Should companies use marketing to help create these videos so they look slick, genuine and represent the brand well?
Types and structure of video interviewing
Most companies seem to be using one way video interviewing where the candidate is given questions and they then record their answers. They should be shown these questions live and then given around 30 seconds to consider their answers. Most companies seem to allow about a minute for each answer and try to keep the number of questions between 3 – 5. This is dependant on the role level and exactly what the interviewer wants to learn about the candidate. Allowing candidates a practice question is a good way for them to prepare but many companies do not allow candidates to re-record actual interview questions – it is more of a one chance situation or it may be unfair and unrealistic if candidates record answers over and over again until perfect. Making the video too long is detrimental to the fact that the method is time saving and can create both a bad hiring manager and candidate experience.
Two way video interviewing is used far less but is a great way to increase accessibility to a number of people. Internal chat and other functions that the candidate cannot see can be used by interviewers to swap notes during this process.
Using video for more than just interviewing
Firstly, it is important to note that video interviewing can be used both externally and internally when appropriate, however positioning will need to differ. Video can also be used in other stages of employment. When on-boarding candidates videos can be sent of all the team that the candidate will be joining. They can introduce themselves and their role in the department to help with the candidate settling in quicker and knowing who does what. Employer branded videos can also help with on-boarding to clearly represent to the employee the company’s culture and how they should behave within this. Video can also be used as a way to gain feedback on how a candidate found the on-boarding process or in exit interviews. Using video may well lead to a far more honest answer. Video job descriptions are also a good way for candidates to gain a more personalised understanding of exactly what a role will entitle.
Videos can also be used to create virtual tours of a company and introduce different employees to give candidates an idea of what working for the company would be like. This helps to get candidates to self-select themselves out of the process if this would not suit them – saving time and reducing attrition due to a mismatch of expectations and reality.
Educating hiring managers around unconscious bias
A major worry for both candidates and the business is that video interviewing could lead to unconscious or conscious bias that would not be determined over the phone or by CV. However, this bias would also be a problem when meeting face to face. To get rid of this bias hiring managers should take training on how they asses video interviews and the criteria they score against. A clear matrix should be provided by resourcing which states what candidates should be scored against and what score they need to gain to progress. In training example videos should be shown to hiring managers who can then be assessed by how they scored these videos. Video interviewing actually means that there is more evidence if any accusations are being made against hiring managers, as videos can be re-watched with hiring managers having to show why they gave certain scores. Analysis can also be done on the type of candidates each hiring manager is putting through. If there are issues with ‘similar’ or non-diverse candidates being progressed by the same hiring manager, further training should be provided.
In order to ensure privacy for candidates, hiring managers should be trained on when and where they can watch videos. Links to videos should have an expiry date or only allow a certain amount of views so that they cannot be shown to people who should not see them.
- Engagement – it is essential that the candidate has a good experience and the company is represented correctly
- Different cultures’ perception on how video interviewing effects the candidate experience
- Resistance from candidates – not suitable for all role levels and positioning is essential
- Nervousness around discrimination
- Security issues with when and who videos are watched by e.g. hiring managers cannot watch on the train where other people can see their screen
- Ensuring the process is not impersonal
- Resistance from older generations (both employees and candidates) who do not feel comfortable with asking candidates to do this or taking part themselves
- Technology and connection issues globally – need video interviewing platform that can adapt to this
- Candidates can’t ask questions so how do they determine if they are the right fit for the company? Candidates may feel dismay if they were rejected without having the opportunity to be able to ask questions
- If volume is so high can feedback be provided to everyone? Where feedback is lacking, are we at risk of destroying the employer brand?
- Ensuring the next process of the interview uses information from the video interview so that a candidate is not just repeating information
- Graduates can show friends which questions they had – giving other candidates longer preparation time, making the process unfair. It is essential questions are selected at random from a large pool to combat this.
- Getting candidates to score their experience using video interviewing and comparing this to scores for candidates who used the equivalent, such as a phone interview. Net Promoter Scores ® could be used as the rating system
- How is using video interviewing affecting the quality of hire? How do successful video interview applicants perform at the next stages or once in the business? Can this be compared to people who were not assessed via video?
- Cost per hour that is saved due to the time video interviewing takes up for hiring managers and resourcing teams compared to other methods
- Hiring ratios for video and non-video interviewing processes
Overall, there seemed to be a large appetite for video interviewing from both resourcing and hiring managers. However, it is essential that the positioning of this and the company is correct to ensure candidates are willing to take part in this type of process and do not have a bad hiring experience.