By Jim Robinson

Interview4 Video Interviewing Reduces Customer Turnover Six Percentage Points

Calling Interview4 video interviewing “a life changer”, a large retailer finds the service not only reduces turnover, but also saves time and money by allowing the screening of more candidates in the same amount of shopping-centre-1003650_640time that used to be devoted to phone screening.  Eliminating the agony of the phone interview has resulted in happier teams and a better corporate culture.

The quality of job candidates brought in for live interviews increased markedly.  Each candidate who took a video interview could be evaluated easily in just ten to twelve minutes, putting more time into each recruiter’s day.

Before Interview4, picking candidates to be advanced in the hiring process was hotly contested because only one person actually spoke to each candidate via phone.  Everyone else just saw the written summaries of the calls.

Now, the recorded video interviews can easily be shared with team leaders, program managers, and other decision makers.  They can review, grade and comment on each candidate.Virtual video interviews are also convenient to schedule for both the employer and the candidates.

Finally, the Interview4 team got high marks for their customer focus and willingness to cater to customers’ needs.

Productivity is on life support: Blame the Millennials and the Baby Boomers

As we likely all know, U.S. workers have not been enjoying much in the way of rising wages for some time. The economy’s health as far as bringing workers ever increasing prosperity is a function of ever increasing ekg-158177_640worker productivity.  

Labor productivity is defined as the amount of output produced per hour of labor. Productivity is affected by new technology, capital investment, the organization of production, managerial skill, and the characteristics and effort of the work force. The more you produce per hour the more your employer profits. The employer hopefully shares the profits of your labor with you, the worker, through higher wages.

But productivity growth has been lagging. During America’s post World War II boom years of 1947 through 1973, productivity enjoyed a 2.8% annual growth rate. This sharply contrasts with 2007 through 2015 when productivity grew just 1.2% per year, a drop of almost 60%.

So why is productivity not increasing faster?

First of all, we’re all busier than ever but are we getting more work done?  The problem is the things we’re busy at are not necessarily resulting in higher productivity. For example, just think about how much time you spend cleaning up your email box every day. Sure, email has made communication more efficient, but has it made it more effective?  We don’t have to play phone tag so much anymore, but email has also brought us spam. But it’s not just email. Think how Facebook and Twitter and Snap Chat and Instagram and Youtube, etc., all take their toll on productivity.

Economists are arguing over whether succeeding waves of new technology necessarily deliver less and less in the way of productivity gains.  I’d argue that some technology gains deliver productivity loss.

Second, the gig economy and the celebration of entrepreneurship means many workers, and in particular millennials, are working on their own projects even if they have a fulltime job, and often while they’re at that fulltime job. As a manager I’m astounded at how much time millennials at work spend not working on their employer’s agenda, but rather on their own. In a discussion with a high level corporate executive, he told me that their company was formulating a policy that their workers would be required to spend at least 75% of their time on the job working on the employer’s assigned tasks, allowing them to work 25% of the time on their own projects.  Say what? His rationale was that their millennial workers would just quit otherwise. This is a clear case of corporate insanity sabotaging the company’s own productivity growth.

Finally, the baby boomers aren’t capable of delivering strong productivity growth. Research shows that worker productivity slows down after age 45, at least in some industries.  Forty-five plus old individuals make up about 44% of all employed workers, and of course most of these are baby boomers, the youngest of whom are now 53 years old. I’m not saying baby boomers don’t contribute. Science says our analytical skills continue to develop as we age, even if our memories degrade. But baby boomers are not going to be delivering the productivity gains needed to fuel significantly growing worker incomes.

The best hope is the millennial generation, which is even larger than the baby boom. But unless they get focused on being more productive for their employers than they have been we may have many more years of sub-standard productivity and wages.

With the Distribution of Income Growth Out Of Whack Can Employee Satisfaction Be Sustained?

Assistant Professor of Economics at Bard College and Levy Institute Research Associate Pavlina R. Tcherneva recently published the following chart, which has gotten a lot of notice by the press. It shows the distribution of income growth to the wealthiest 10% versus the bottom 90% that occurred during every post World War II period of economic expansion in the United States. Read more

Are Older Workers Holding on to Jobs Hurting Younger Workers Looking for Jobs?

As a provider of job candidate assessment software we are very focused on turnover. We hate costly employee turnover, which studies have shown is mostly caused by poor job fit.  So we work hard to build software solutions that measure how well potential employees will fit the employers with whom they seek employment.  It’s how we can make an impact on turnover, making companies more productive and profitable. Read more

Hire-Intelligence To Address Video Interviewing At Annual American Psychological Association Convention

The first ever research conducted to determine the validity of web-based video job interviewing will be presented on August 10th in Washington D.C. at the 2014 Annual APA convention.

Titled, “Exploring the Validity of Asynchronous Web-Based Video Interviews” the session will address research sponsored by Hire-Intelligence and conducted by GCG Solutions principal Dr. Charles “Allen” Gorman. The study sought to evaluate the ability of video interviews to provide valuable, job-related insights for employers who use video to screen job candidates. The research found that ratings of the applicant, applicant characteristics, and video interview responses all predicted job performance and associated work outcomes. Read more

Will A Higher Minimum Wage Spur More Effort to Lower Turnover?

Turnover rolls along at high rates and at a high cost to employers.  Rates run as high as QuitsPerMonth2007-201335% in the hospitality industry. Costs, according to research by SHRM, can be as much as “60% of an employee’s annual salary, whereas total costs of replacement, including training and loss of productivity, can range from 90% to 200% of an employee’s annual salary.”

It seems like the cost of turnover is like a dirty little secret no one wants to talk about.  Or do anything about.  Yet we are talking about literally billions of dollars a year in costs.

The year 2007 began with a quit rate of around 3 million employees per month.  That’s out of a labor force of about 150 million in the U.S.  During the subsequent Great Recession, when self-reported employee satisfaction rose and departures went down, 1.6 million employees still quit in the month of September 2009, the lowest number reported in years.  Since that bottom, the number of employees quitting has steadily grown to around 2.5 million per month.  There has been no indication that the one-time decline in quits would become a new normal.

Why do employers accept high rates of turnover and its hidden costs?  One reason may be that turnover allows employers to keep wage rates down.

I was at a conference a few years ago and found myself pitching programs to a C-level executive of a Fortune 1000 company that could improve the quality of his hiring, and thereby lower turnover.  He listened for a moment and then interrupted me, saying “Jim, you just don’t understand.  We like turnover.”  When I asked him to explain, he glibly answered “we hire them at $8 per hour, give ‘em a six-month raise to 10 bucks, and then hope they leave before we have to bump them to $12.  We then bring in their replacement at $8 and start the process all over again.”

Despite all the happy talk about employee satisfaction and engagement, how can employees find satisfaction in jobs where they are simply treated as “factors of production”, fungible commodities to be traded off for some illusory cost savings?

I believe that employers have an inherent commitment to help their employees find satisfaction in and through their work.  If you believe this way, then excessive turnover is an affront and should be addressed.

Does Your Hiring Process Lack “Sense”?

Humans rely on our senses to experience and interpret the world around us.  We have evolved over time to use sensory inputs to make judgments about all kinds of things. closed door Is that fruit OK to eat?  Is that music something I want to hear more of?  Is that car going to stop?

When it comes to hiring, we often deny our senses a full role in the process in ways that could save time and money.  If all we do is look at someone’s resume to make a decision about them, are we evaluating them without sense, ie, is our hiring process nonsensical?

The resume certainly isn’t the person.  And it may not even be a good representation of the person, just a poor simulacrum, defined as “a slight, unreal, or superficial likeness or semblance.”

Realizing this, some employers chose to bring sense to their hiring, or should we say “a sense”, by employing a phone screen.  This begs the question of how much do we learn from each additional sensory experience of a candidate.  How insightful and how reliable is each of our five senses in providing information about our world?

Here’s an experiment.  You are put in a room alone.  The room has 4 closed doors, and you are told that there are four animals, one behind each door.  Behind three of the doors are dangerous animals and behind the fourth door is a friendly animal.  You have one minute to decide which door you are going to open.  To help you decide you are offered the choice of learning something about each of the 4 animals using just one of the following inputs:

  • a brief written description of the animal
  • a smell from the animal
  • a sound from the animal
  • a taste of each animal
  • a touch of each animal
  • a view of each animal

Let’s see, I know a brief written description wouldn’t be my first pick.  Of course not, most of us would pick the last option, the chance to use our sense of sight.

This choice is supported by scientific research.  Work by Dr. John Medina, and others, shows that the normal brain is predisposed to visuals. Our vision trumps all other senses. It is so well established that people have a better memory for images than words that it even has a name – “Pictorial Superiority Effect” (see Hamilton, M. & Geraci, L., 20006).

These findings can be applied to improve hiring.  The screening of job candidates using video has been shown to be predictive of job success.  The research is in keeping with other research showing that video of an individual can communicate a person’s abilities.  Perhaps that’s the reason for the growing use of video interviews for screening applicants.  It just makes more sense… literally.