From April, 2014

Video Interviewing: Will It Kill the Face to Face Interview?

Imagine a scenario where a recently graduated college student in search of employment Explosion1begins applying here and there hoping to land a job interview.  After several months of no success, she decides to set up and complete an automated video interview and send it in to employers in whom she is interested.  A hiring manager receives the email, watches the three minute interview online and makes a job offer without even bringing the young woman in for a face-to-face.

As astounding as this may sound the scenario above did indeed occur.  Is this one of those “canary in a coal mine” kind of signs that video interviews will end up replacing face-to-face interviews?

According to a 2012 study by Office Team, a division of staffing company, Robert Half, six out of ten HR managers interviewed said their company often used video interviews during the hiring process.  As this survey is a year and a half old, this number probably has increased since then.

Why are so many organizations turning to video interviewing?  Because it is more revealing and saves time during the hiring process.  Why is a revealing interview so important?

  • Recent research suggests that viewing a candidate’s video interview can help you predict a job candidate’s likely on the job success.
  • A three year study by Leadership IQ shows that 46% of employees fail within the first eighteen months on the job and of those who fail, 89% fail for attitudinal reasons.  Video interviews can help discern attitude.
  • According to a survey by Careerbuilder, 49% of hiring managers say they know within the first five minutes of meeting a candidate whether they are a good fit for their organization.  Yet courtesy dictates that they continue spending valuable time interviewing them.  Video interviews will virtually eliminate these interview mistakes.
  • A 2013 study by the Aberdeen group shows that video interviewing decreases time to hire and the costs associated with it not to mention it increases hiring manager satisfaction.

So will video kill the face-to-face interview?  No.  On the contrary the video interview will serve to enhance and strengthen the in person interview.

In fact, the greatest advantage of using video to screen candidates is that video will help you find the best candidates while avoiding the “false positives”, those applicants who only look good on paper.  Even better, you’ll discover the hidden gems, the “false negatives” who often get cut during the resume screening.

And video interviewing brings other benefits to the face-to-face interview.   Allowing job candidates to answer basic interview questions via automated video interviewing prior to the face to face interview enables hiring managers to more effectively use their time to ask more probing follow-up questions related to the candidate’s responses first seen on video.  This enables the hiring manager to focus more intently on the candidate during the interview.

Additionally if the candidate is brought in after a video interview has been conducted they now understand that interest in them is more significant than if their resume alone had been screened.  As a result they are more likely to prepare and research the position for which they are interviewing which contributes to a more effective interview.

No, video interviewing won’t replace the face to face any time soon but we may actually see fewer face-to-face interviews being conducted as the candidates being interviewed get better and better.

Update Flash Player

Today, Adobe has released a critical security update to flash player. The update closes a security hole that is actively being exploited. Everyone should update to the latest version of Flash Player at as soon as possible. If you are using Google Chrome you should be notified to update Chrome automatically. For users on Windows 8, visit Windows Update to update Internet Explorer.

To find out more about the updated release and the security hole that is being fixed, please visit

Rejecting Job Candidates: How Long Do You Really Need?

When a job candidate applies for a job he or she has several opportunities to be rejected.  resume stackFirst they might be rejected by the applicant tracking system, within seconds I might add, simply because the program can’t find within the candidate’s resume, keywords related to the job for which the candidate is applying.

A candidate’s resume may be rejected by a human, again within seconds, because the human has already has an idea of what they want to see in a candidate resume.  A recent survey conducted by Careerbuilder of over 2,200 hiring managers showed that 68% review a candidate’s resume for only two minutes or less.  Seventeen percent spent thirty seconds or less evaluating it.

Is this a problem?  Are hiring managers and HR professionals heartless people for not spending 120 seconds and more reviewing a resume?  I don’t think they view themselves that way.  So why does Careerbuilder’s survey point out the little time spent reviewing resumes as though it is a big deal?  Because I suppose to the job candidate, having someone dismiss within thirty seconds their resume, a representation of all their years’ hard work in school and in their career, is a bit disheartening.

C’mon though, how long do you really need to reject someone?  Forty-nine percent of hiring managers reject job candidates within the first five minutes of meeting them for a face-to-face interview.  Again this is supposedly another startling statistic, but one about which we really shouldn’t be surprised.

I have reviewed thousands of resumes and profiles on job boards and Linkedin.  I rarely need more than sixty seconds to make a decision.  I may not know exactly if the ones I choose are a right fit yet.  Plenty of other screening measures such as video interviewing and the face-to-face interview can weed them out later.  I do however usually know who I don’t like.  Yes of course good candidates will fall through the cracks but spending an extra two or three minutes that I don’t have reviewing their resume won’t alter my decision.  Within sixty seconds I can tell if a job candidate has too much, too little or just the right amount of experience.  Within sixty seconds I can determine if the candidate has had too many jobs and poses a flight risk to the hiring company.  Within sixty seconds I can tell if the candidate isn’t located in the right part of the country.

At the start of a relationship you may not know if the person smiling in front of you is your future spouse, but you will definitely know, despite all their lifelong accomplishments, that they aren’t.

When you think about it, what golden nuggets of information do candidates put into their resume that can’t be discovered within two minutes?  I don’t care if you are hard working, think outside the box or are dynamic.  I can skip right to your work history and determine if I don’t want to get hitched to you.

I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Job Candidate but while many in the business may pretend to be all broken up over dismissing your resume, most just don’t have time to be.  Honestly, how long does it take you to decide if you want to work for someone?

Motivating Employees: The Lessons We Learn from Flappy Bird

If you have no children you probably know little about Flappy Bird, a supposedly insanely addictive app available for mobile devices which was removed from Google Play and Flappy BirdiTunes in February by the developer.  At the time of its removal the app had been downloaded at least fifty million times and was generating an estimated $50,000 a day (A DAY!) for the young Vietnamese developer who still lives at home with his parents!  Badgering complaints from the app’s many users over how the addictiveness of the game was ruining their lives is the primary reason he removed it.  But don’t worry about the poor kid; he is still making plenty of dough from all the ad impressions still generated by the fifty million plus users who downloaded it before he pulled the plug.

The ridiculous amount of money he is making and why he shut it down is not important.  Why people went so gaga over such a rudimentary game is.  The game’s objective is simple.  You control a bird as the name suggests and you must simply navigate your bird through a series of pipes that extend from the top and bottom of the screen.  Tap fast and your bird soars upward.  Tap slow and he plummets.  The graphics are about as advanced as what your 90s’ Nintendo system provided.  There is no sprawling 3-dimensional fantasy world or crime infested city through which to navigate.  Flappy bird uses no special weaponry nor does he possess any flashy powers.  He simply flies up or down across a 2D cityscape.

So why do so many people continue to play the game for hours at a time?  Because they Flappy bird game overhave a goal and that goal is to beat their previous record.  With each pipe through which your bird successfully passes, you get a point but if your bird dies you start back at zero.  As frustrating as the game is, users simply won’t put down their devices.  They are ensnared by a challenge and reward system.  When they break their high score their phone let’s them know it and they can show off their achievement to their friends.

What does any of this have to do with motivating employees?  Well, convential wisdom tells us that the more monetary incentives you provide the more motivated your workers become.  While cutting pay may de-motivate a worker, doubling pay has not been proven to improve motivation.  In fact psychology research shows that rewards provide only temporary conformity.  Teresa Amabile, a Harvard professor, has found through her experiments that a sense of progress is necessary to staying engaged.  An evaluation of the diaries of 238 workers across seven companies showed the following:

“….making progress in one’s work — even incremental progress — is more frequently associated with positive emotions and high motivation than any other workday event.”

Now you get it right?  Flappy Bird is addictive because users have the chance to progress each time they play even if just a little.  That sense of accomplishment which often is absent in the workplace gives us a rush of sorts.

Amabile’s suggestion to help create a sense of progress is to provide workers with goals, necessary resources to accomplish those goals, and then support each worker with emotional support and respect.  And, I would add, create a feedback loop to provide workers with progress reports.

If you doubt this then explain why a kid with a $50,000 a day income and growing, basically quits?  The reason; he had no more goals, he had no emotional support and he received no respect.

Brave Enough To Admit the Worst Thing You Have Ever Done At Work?

I can’t recall anything monumentally wrong I have ever done at work.  I can recall at least self-assurednessone time that I accidentally emailed personal insight about a job candidate intended for the hiring manager’s eyes only instead to the candidate.  I was a little embarrassed when I saw the candidate’s confused reply unexpectedly pop in my inbox.

I recently scanned a thread on Reddit where many people shared their stories of the worst thing they had ever done at work.  A few were funny while others were criminal.  This thread reminded me of a candidate whom my colleague interviewed years ago for a sales position in Europe.  My colleague asked the candidate, “What is the most foolish thing you have ever done at work?”  This behaviorally based question was asked of course to peel back the layers of the candidate and find out more about them.  Generally most guarded people will try to avoid the answer or water it down.  I can guarantee most won’t say they stole cartons of cigarettes from their employer or put laxatives in their orange juice to catch the culprit raiding the employee fridge, as submitted by respondents on Reddit.

This candidate, whose interview we captured on video and shared with the hiring manager, behaved unexpectedly.  Without missing a beat he said with the corner of his mouth curled into a smile, “I once shut down a bank’s main frame computer.”  With a grin he detailed how curiosity got the best of him and he pulled a switch in the mainframe room to see what it did.  The story concluded with him saying, “I was not very popular that day.”

My first reaction to his response was not to hang my head and think, “Oh no, this guy will never get hired.”  I smiled too and found his honesty a bit refreshing.  Beyond that I found his confidence and boldness to be an attractive quality, especially considering he was applying for a sales role where both confidence and boldness are desired attributes.  Think about it!  I knew if our client were to hire this guy that he wouldn’t come into the workplace and start flipping switches just for the sake of seeing what they would do.  He had learned from his mistake.  What I did learn was that he was willing to take risks and when he failed he would own his failures.  He didn’t shy away from his foolishness.  He confidently disclosed how dumb he had acted, smiled about it and moved on.

After showing his video interview to the client, this candidate was brought in for a face-to-face interview and later received a job offer.

Most job candidates shy away from admitting their failures fearing that employers want only infallible people but by doing so candidates often give the sense they are less self-assured.  Nobody is perfect.  We hear this time and time again so why not embrace your failure confidently, turn it into a positive and reveal to the employer what you learned from the risk, if any, that you took.

So I will end by asking, “What is the most foolish thing you have ever done at work?”  Please, be brave!

XP is dead! Long live Windows 8 (and 7)

XP is dead, long live Windows 8 (and 7)!

Next month, in April 2014, Windows XP will reach its end of life.  This means no more security updates, no more bug fixes, and every malware writer on the planet will be watching updates of later versions of Windows to find exploits that won’t be patched in Windows XP.

At this point Windows XP is still installed and running on 30% of desktop computers worldwide. If your computer is one of those 30% please, pretty please, with sugar on top, upgrade your operating system.

I get it, you don’t want to use Windows 8, you want your start menu, you want things to work the way they always have.  Windows 7 upgrades are still available and Windows 7 behaves just like you expect it should.  If money is the issue, there are a few options there too.  If you are a student, you can usually get good discounts directly from the Microsoft Student Store. If you are a little adventurous and willing to learn something new, you can always try Linux.  I would recommend starting with something like Ubuntu Linux.

Why do I care?

I care, and you should too, because without security updates and hotfixes your computer will be a sitting duck.  You see, the code base for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 is built off of the code from Windows XP.  Every time a security problem is found in any modern version of Windows, there is a real likelihood that it will exists in every other modern version of Windows.  Microsoft engineers find the relevant code in each version and release updates to fix the issue.

Security researchers and malware writers can study the fixes to see what was changed and thereby figure out how they could have exploited the weakness in the system.  In a perfect world, everyone would be installing those security updates automatically, or at least in a timely manner so that it would be impossible to exploit the weaknesses.  Since this isn’t a perfect world, the bad guys will often times get a virus written before the problem is fixed.

Now the situation will be even worse.  There will be no updates for Windows XP to plug any of the security holes.  Even if you are one of those people who install updates immediately, there won’t be any XP updates to install.  Once your computer is infected it can be used to do all sorts of bad things.  First off, your data will be compromised.  Every transaction you make could potentially be inspected, logged and mined for financial data.  Most often, infected computers are used in tandem with other infected computers to perform some nefarious scheme. Of course your computer will also try to infect every other computer it has network contact with.

Internet Explorer 8

Along with Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 is also reaching end of life, and all of the web developers around the world are breathing a collective sigh of relief.  IE8 was always difficult to deal with, it was the last IE version that didn’t support HTML5 Video, and it had some truly annoying quirks.  The good news for all of you IE fans is that we are all the way up to Internet Explorer 11 at this point.  If you are running Windows 7 or 8 you can upgrade to IE11 now.  If you are still running Windows Vista, then you are stuck with IE 9 which was still much better than IE 8.  You can also download an up to date modern web browser like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome if you want to experience the latest and greatest HTML5 enabled technologies.

Interview4 New Features

I mentioned that I have been busy working behind the scenes.  Take a look at what we have been working on.

  • Hire-Intelligence Communication Test Suite(CTS) assessments are now available on the Interview4 portal
    • Reading, writing and listening assessments allow you to determine a job candidate’s communication skills before you bring them in for an interview. Combine the CTS assessments with a video interview and you get a 360 degree view of how your candidate communicates.  Please contact us to learn more, or if you’d like a demo.
    • All HTML5 Video Playback
      • All Virtual Interviews and Virtual Showcase Interviews are now using HTML5 playback.  That means you can watch from more locations and more devices than ever before. Recorded Live Interviews will soon be moved to all-HTML5 playback as well, giving you complete flexibility while reviewing video interviews.

Coming Soon

We have some really exciting features in development right now.  I can’t tell you everything we are working on, but I can tell you Live Panel Interviews are in active development right now.  With Live Panel Interviews you can have up to 6 people participating in an interview (5 interviewers and 1 candidate). Best of all, you can record the interview to review it later, or share the interview with a colleague who was unable to attend.

What Would You Like To See?

We want to know what you think! We recognize each organization is unique, each with its own processes, goals, and most importantly, ideas. We want to hear your ideas! What would make Interview4 easier/better/faster in your organization? You never know it might be the next feature we implement.