Video Interviewing—Good or Bad Idea?

I love learning new things so when I was asked to do a webinar for BLR on tips for using video to interview candidates I said yes. I thought I knew I something about this topic because I‘ve been in HR for a long time and recruiting is my favorite part of HR. However, as I began to research the topic in order to prepare my slides for the webinar, I found out there is more to this than I imagined.

That got me to thinking about how often I just jump in and start doing something before really giving it thought or doing research. I’ve always been this way—it would never occur to me to read the instructions before putting something together. I remember the last car I bought and the sales person making me sit in the car before I left the dealership while he went through the driver’s manual. It was torture for me but paid off the first time one of those dashboard lights came on—I knew what it was and didn’t panic.

Wish I could tell you that now I always read the manual before turning on a new appliance but at least I now know it pays to keep those instructions manuals in a place where I can find them if needed.

Back to video interviewing—I had no idea that organizations are using videos to replace phone screening interviews. What a great idea to send applicants 4-5 questions and ask them to record their answers on a video and email it back—since everyone is so good at short videos from watching YouTube, most applicants are happy to do it. In fact, research shows that less than 2% refuse and most of them, I think, hope that by saying no to the video, they will get a face to face interview with the hiring manager—which is probably faulty reasoning!

Then, two way video using technology like Skype or Facetime or Google Hangouts is a great way to interview a candidate in another country or even in another town—so much more cost effective than flying people in before you know if they have the skills you need. Better to do a video interview to probe for their strengths before you go to the expense of bringing them to your location. Another benefit of video interviews is that the hiring manager can share the tape with others in the organization to get additional reads on the candidate’s qualifications.

Of course, the same good interviewing skills are needed whether it’s a face to face or video interview. Interviewers need to know how to do a fair and legal interview and how to ask open ended questions. I’ve said it before and I will say it again—there is nothing more important than bringing the right people into the organization and video technology can be a real asset to making that happen.


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