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Video killed the interview star?

Rebecca Mossman

Will we all be interviewed by video link in the future? Rebecca Mossman explains how technology is changing job interviews

It’s becoming more and more likely that the first time you meet your future employer will be through a computer screen. As people increasingly use video calls in their personal and professional lives, the way companies recruit is changing, with a recent article in Forbes showing that almost three in five are now using videos to carry out job interviews.

But can you truly evaluate whether someone is right for a role, without meeting them in person? Saving time, lowering costs and streamlining the recruitment process for candidates needs to be balanced with the potential cost to an organisation from hiring the wrong person. So what place should video interviews play in today’s recruitment process? Firstly, let’s assess some of the benefits of video interviews.

  • Convenient: As companies look to widen their talent pool and recruit internationally, it makes sense to use video for first round interviews at least to save the time and money that would need to be spent on air travel and accommodation to bring candidates to a different country.
  • Recordable: There might be certain members of staff that are unable to attend an interview but still need to have a say in a hiring decision. Recordings of interviews can be shared with other members of staff to be assessed at a later time or date.
  • Revealing: If you’re uncertain on a candidate, or need to remind yourself of how an interview went, you have the ability to re-watch a video interview and identify information that you might have missed the first time. Choosing between two or three applicants is made easier when you are not reliant solely on your memory to evaluate an interview. In addition, you can use the video to check that what has been said matches up with the job application and references.

Alongside these business benefits comes several pitfalls, which need to be considered before implementing video interviewing as a method for recruiting job candidates.

  • Accessibility and connectivity: We’ve all been in a situation where our wi-fi dies at the worst possible time, and unfortunately this could be in a video interview situation. Internet connectivity isn’t always stable and being fully reliant on technology and the internet can cause problems and waste time.
  • Candidate experience: The job interview scenario is already a stressful occasion. When you try to recreate this through a computer, it can be even more unnerving for the person being interviewed and you may not see them perform to their potential. This could lead to overlooking someone that is perfect for the job. In addition, the candidate will miss out on getting a feel for the business environment and culture, which is difficult to translate across a screen.
  • Conceals natural responses: It’s difficult to gauge the passion or sincerity of a candidate, without feeling their energy in the room. Another big problem with the interviewee not being in the room is that they can easily put together prompts, cue cards, or even research online during an interview. This could give them an unfair advantage over others being interviewed, or be an annoying distraction.

Technology still has a way to go before video interviewing can match face-to-face interviews for really getting to know your candidate, but as workforces become more international, they are becoming a necessary first step for many. They can assist with ensuring that recruitment becomes a more seamless process and the candidate’s experience of the business is more comfortable and enjoyable because HR teams can be more flexible about when and where an interview takes place.

That said, video interviews should rarely be the sole basis for employing someone, and should feed into a larger arsenal of tools used in the recruitment process. Hiring any member of staff requires a large time and financial commitment, meaning a more thorough examination of their background, experience and skill set is needed, rather than relying purely on interviews. A successful combination of video interviews, face-to-face meetings and background research should together produce a successful hire.

Rebecca Mossman is HR Director EMEA and APAC at HireRight, the candidate due diligence company


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