Approximately 4 years ago I worked at a large talent resourcing firm. The standard practice was to require candidates to video record answers to questions as a means of excluding them from the hiring process.  Here’s what I mean:

  • 5 -8 questions are emailed to candidates.
  • The candidates answer the questions via their webcam.
  • The video responses are submitted to the hiring company.
  • The decision to engage or eliminate is based solely on the video content.

One stated goal of this approach was as a time saver for the employer, allowing them to review applicants on their mobile devices anytime and anyplace.  I distinctly remember the sales scenario in which busy hiring managers could become more efficient by reviewing applicants while at the grocery checkout.  Another time saving facet to the pitch was based on the popular myth that a hiring manager knows within 5 to 10 minutes whether a candidate is a good fit.  Why waste a full 1 hour interviewing when all it really takes is a few minutes?  The system also made it easy to quickly issue a rejection email on the spot.  Sadly this approach is now expanding from junior office administration roles into management roles, and outside of the employment industry.

Corporate Canada claims that employee engagement is a high priority, and that employee productivity is waning.  If your company is unwilling to initiate a professional relationship in a meaningful way, then why would you expect engagement, effort and loyalty from employees?

While using technology is laudable, it has to be used appropriately.  Yes, millennials like tech, but they like human response and feedback more – the key component missing from this approach.  If you’re not going to be present during hiring, the first stage of employee engagement, then don’t expect your employees to be present either.   You can also expect the saving you’ve experienced by using this process to evaporate when you need to rehire.  Think about it, what a great little way for video recruitment to become a permanent hiring expense for your firm.
Here are some better options for your consideration:

  1. If you must use technology to interview, use a program like Skype that will allow you to interact with candidates in real time.
  2. As part of 1st round interviews to determine eligibility, consider foregoing the cover letter.  Instead ask behavioural questions which are key to the candidate’s aptitude for the role.
  3. Group interviews for certain roles can be efficient for your hiring practice.  While less formal, all hiring managers get a good comparative experience of candidates.
  4. Let the candidate opt out.  In rare yet innovative practices candidates have the option to try-before-they-buy into a role. Companies allow candidates to shadow a peer in their role for a few hours.  Candidates learn first-hand what is expected, learn up-front if they can do the job, and if they’ve determined the role is right for them, provide a better interview experience for everyone.

Organizations are run by people.  By nature, people are social creatures who share their experiences broadly.  The experience you provide translates into how your brand is perceived.  You can’t buy good will but can foster and cultivate it though your people practices.  Is your organization considering video interviewing?  What’s the state goal for this approach?  Are you pursuing alternatives to typical first round/eligibility interview process that you’d like to share?  We’d love to hear from you.