From March, 2012

Video Interviewing: Why Early Adopters are Cooler!

What is an early adopter?  An early adopter is one of the cool kids in school you always wanted to be who took risks in fashion and technology that set them apart or ahead of the herd.  Their choices while perhaps questionable at the time later became popular and mainstream.  An early adopter is the guy bold enough to wear a white sports jacket and loafers without socks two seconds after the first episode of Miami Vice aired.  While you were still listening to Blondie’s “Man From Mars” on your 8 Track player, the early adopter was already cranking the new Madonna album on her laser disc player.  An early adopter spent a cool grand on a DVD player in 1998 when you were still stocking your VHS library with the latest re-mastered versions of Star Wars.  In 1997 the early adopter was placing job postings on Monster rather than in the newspaper.  Just now thinking about buying an iPad?  The early adopter was sitting in Steve Jobs’ driveway four years ago waiting to buy one the moment after Steve conceived it in his sleep.

Early adopters are cool because they are able to identify and adopt a trend they know will be successful long before others have often even heard of it.  We look up to early adopters because while we sit back playing it safe they march forward and test out the tools we’re too afraid to use.

 “Don’t want to change process” is the number one reason cited why organizations would not adopt Video Interviewing in the coming year according to a recent survey of over 150 HR Professionals, Recruiters and Executive Search Consultants.  Unwilling to change even if the current process is broken is not the talk of early adopters.  The early adopters were scouring the web two years ago looking for new technologies that could improve their hiring process.  Five years from now when the laggards are still phone interviewing and kicking themselves for not adopting video sooner, the early adopters will have already begun using the next evolutionary stage of video interviewing.

I believe in ten years more than sixty percent of all first round job interviews will be conducted online using video.  I don’t think that’s a bold statement.  In fact I believe I’m being a bit conservative.  Presently the cool kids, the early adopters I mean, have already begun using video interviewing to screen and identify top candidates earlier in the process.  Why?  Because they get it.  They saw two years ago the need for a simple, affordable way to quickly screen and compare job candidates without wasting time and money interviewing bad candidates in person.

The early adopters were able to envision video interviewing not just as a tool to be used for interviewing candidates at a distance but also to evaluate and compare all candidates. Saving time and money are just the obvious benefits of video interviewing.  Early adopters realized that by far the greatest benefit that visual screening via video provides is much greater insight into each candidate earlier in the hiring process, resulting in improved candidate selection. 

While the drawback of being an early adopter is that you sometimes have to pay more in order to be cool, video interviewing is often so affordable that it challenges the cost of phone interviewing and yet it is five times more powerful.  It’s like getting your iPad3 for the cost of a netbook!  Video Interviewing gives you all the reward without any of the risk.  Video interviewing is your cool limo ride to the prom with the high school quarterback.  Why would you pass that up?

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Not Getting the Job? It’s Nothing Personal or Is it?

What do hiring managers most want to learn about a candidate during the face-to-face interview?  If you asked a job candidate they would probably say the hiring manager wants to know if they have the necessary skills to do the job.  If you asked the hiring manager they might agree.  

But I have spoken to many hiring managers and HR Professionals who tell me that they know within the first five minutes of meeting a job candidate whether they are right for the job.  Does the speed of reaching that conclusion suggest that maybe it wasn’t skills they were most concerned about?  Well the answer is that within the first five minutes the hiring manager determined not whether the candidate could do the job but whether they could work with the candidate and if the candidate would fit into the corporate culture.  Executive recruiters agree that what they most want to learn from a candidate is three things and every question asked during the interview is a variation of these three questions.  The three questions are, “Can you do the job, will you like doing this job, and can I get along with you?”  That’s what they want to know and when you think about it, that’s all they need to know. 

The hiring manager pretty much has a good idea if a candidate can do the job from looking at the resume.  All follow-up questions are asked to confirm their judgments.  But within those first five minutes they can determine if a candidate will fit in culturally and if they can get along with that person as much from the information they discern from observing the candidate.  Physiognomy studies prove it!  Humans can draw greater insights about a person by looking at and listening to them than they can by reviewing that candidate’s resume.  This is why so many managers are employing video interviewing in their hiring processes.  Within a few minutes of screening a candidate’s video they can determine enough about the candidate’s enthusiasm and energy to determine if the candidate should be brought in for the face-to-face video. 

What does this mean to the candidate?  It means the interview isn’t all about their skills it’s mostly about them.  I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Don’t take it personally,” right?  Well if a candidate is rejected after the job interview the rejection very well might be personal and not about their lack of skills.   

But at the end of the day, isn’t the hiring manager’s judgment about corporate fit to be relied upon?  And if it is, isn’t it preferable not just for the employer but also for the candidate to find that out early and avoid the likely bad outcome if a poor fitting candidate gets hired?  Isn’t not being hired a better outcome for all concerned? 

So maybe we should say “It’s personal, but don’t take it personally!”    

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Can Video Enhance Your Structured Interview?

If you hadn’t heard there are a whole lot of people out of work these days (approximately 13 million) and hiring companies, especially the high profile ones, are literally overrun with job applications.  

The Wall Street Journal reported that last year 7.6 million job seekers applied to the 65,000 open retail and corporate positions advertised by Starbucks.  This averages to 117 applicants per position!  As staggering as that sounds it pales in comparison to the 2 million candidates who applied to Google’s 7,000 openings which averages to about 285 candidates per opening!  Unbelievable right?  Well Procter and Gamble had it even worse as 1 million candidates applied to one of their 2,000 job openings which averages to exactly 500 candidates per each open position!  How would you like to work in that HR department? 

With such a glut of resumes hurtling towards them, HR departments have resorted to using dull instruments, such as Applicant Tracking Systems, to weed out candidates who don’t remotely fit the job description.  According to the Corporate Executives Board, a research and advisory firm, only 35% of job applicants actually meet the basic job requirements of the job to which they had applied.  So when we look at Procter and Gamble we can conclude that around 325 applicants for each position were unqualified.  This of course still leaves 175 possibly qualified candidates which have to be screened further, then phone or video interviewed, and finally interviewed face-to-face. 

Successfully conducting an in-person interview with the job candidate after all the screening has been done is essential.  Wharton Management Professor Iwan Barankay states, “”The predictive power of interviews is low unless they are very structured, which includes asking all the candidates the same questions, and then grading and evaluating them the same way.  A freeform interview where you just meander along in a conversation doesn’t reveal any important information.” 

Video Interviews, specifically automated interviews that allow candidates to interview themselves, provide not only a more powerful alternative to phone interviews, not only because they are recorded, but also result in a structured interview.  

Gaining in popularity, video interviewing allows the administrator to upload job specific questions to which the job candidates can respond.  Each position can have its own set of questions.  Candidates login with their webcams and answer the hiring manager’s questions that appear on screen.  Their responses are recorded and immediately available for HR or the hiring manager to screen.  What is significant is that each candidate answers the same questions so not only is there no bias in regards to age, gender or ethnicity but also the candidate’s recorded responses can be compared to one another.  This allows the hiring manager to make a more informed decision about who to bring in for the face-to-face interview.   

When you have 200-500 applicants applying to each of your positions, Video Interviewing provides an efficient and structured way to find that shining needle in the proverbial haystack. 

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Physiognomy? What it is and How it can Help You Hire.

When I first heard of Physiognomy I had no clue what it was nor could I barely pronounce it.  In short, Physiognomy is the belief that a person’s personality can be determined by their facial features and shape of their skull.  Popular in the 19th century, the practice of Physiognomy was discounted for most of the 20th century by psychologists until recent studies suggested a more modern interpretation of the practice can produce accurate judgments about people’s abilities.   

In early 2000 a group of people were shown 2 second long clips of professors lecturing and were asked to determine the teaching ability of each.  Amazingly the responses by the group matched those of students who had been taught by the professors for a whole semester.  So in just two seconds a group of people were able to fairly predict a professor’s ability to teach!  A few years later 100 hundred students were shown photographs of chief executives from the top 25 and bottom 25 companies in the Fortune 1000 list and were asked to determine their leadership potential.  The chief executives were unrecognizable to the students, (Warren Buffet wasn’t even recognized) but the students’ assessments of probable leadership ability were directly related to the company’s profits.  Basically the students could accurately predict, just by looking at them, the most successful people.  The studies concluded that the snap judgments by ignorant people were more accurate than assessments made by well-informed professionals. 

I have spoken to many hiring managers and while many may not admit it, they basically determine within the first five minutes of meeting a job candidate that they are not a good cultural fit for their company.  If you apply the conclusions mentioned above these hiring managers might make that judgment within the first sixty seconds but unfortunately they cannot dismiss a candidate within sixty seconds of meeting them.  No, they must spend thirty minutes of their valuable time interviewing a candidate they know is not a good fit.  How valuable would it be to the hiring manager’s time for them to see a two minute video clip of the candidate prior to committing thirty minutes of their valuable time to interviewing the candidate?  If we can determine a person’s capabilities after seeing a two second clip of someone, think how much more we can learn in two minutes!  Hmmm, if only a solution existed that allowed people to see video of interested candidates prior to the face-to-face interview thereby saving the hiring manager time and streamlining the interview process.  Oh wait, of course, video interviewing can do all this and more!

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