I read recently an article on Forbes.com entitled, “A New Recruiting Abomination: One-Way Video Interviews” by Liz Ryan, founder of Human Workplace. Obviously as the title suggests, she is not impressed by this growing recruiting technology. Here are a few quotes.
“It is disheartening to me as a long-time HR person to see how badly some HR and Staffing folks damage and degrade the recruiting function by building in talent-repelling processes like one-way video interviewing.”
“The emergence of one-way video job interviews in recruiting speaks to incompetence at a high level…”
“Great candidates will not stick around to be treated like dirt — nor should they!”
“Making your job applicants sit in front of their laptops smiling at the camera and answering questions asked by a machine is the loudest possible sign that your company does not value talent in the least.”
“There is no better way to signal to talented candidates ‘You mean nothing to us’ than by assigning them to sit through an oral exam led by a piece of code…”
I’m going out on a limb to suggest that Ms. Ryan sees little if any value in one-way video interviews. Before I begin my defense I want to make known that I work for a video interviewing vendor and as a former search consultant have used with great success one-way video interviews in the past. Here are a few experiences I would like to share where video interviews have helped candidates.
An individual applied to a position and he was rejected by the employer because his resume indicated he was in a particular age bracket. The search consultant had the candidate complete a recorded one-way interview which he then sent to the hiring manager. The candidate was brought in for an interview after the hiring manager saw the candidate’s charisma and energy level.
An unemployed college student completed a mock interview and emailed it to employers. She received an offer without even going in for a face to face interview.
A candidate working on an oil rig in the North Sea was able to get an interview with a company operating in Romania after I (sitting in Virginia) forwarded a link of the candidate’s recorded interview to the VP of HR in Romania. This happened because the video interview allowed everyone to work on their own schedule when convenient for them.
I sat in a board room with a company President and VP of HR. On their monitor we were reviewing the video interviews of five candidates. The fifth candidate, who had conducted his interview at 1 a.m, the only time convenient for him, so dazzled the president that the president called him on the spot and offered him a job!
As a video interviewing provider we in no way advocate using automated interviews to replace the face-to-face interview. Rather we suggest using video interviewing as a screening measure, superior to phone screening, which allows recruiters to better evaluate candidates with a structured interviewing process that better eliminates subconscious biases which creep into unstructured live interviews. The candidate is better served, not only because they may complete the interview at their convenience, but also their recorded interview can be evaluated repeatedly and shared with decision makers so a more informed evaluation can be given. Candidates, especially top talent, are severely inconvenienced by a phone screening process that relies upon note taking and which provides an inadequate device to make a true apples to apples comparison between subjects.
Not too surprisingly the Aberdeen Group’s research into video interviewing shows that among best-in-class companies which employ such technology, hiring manager satisfaction has improved while time to hire and cost to fill has decreased.
In short, video interviewing was not designed to be abominable to candidates but rather to free them from inconvenience and discrimination.
A recent study of 15,000 leaders from 300+ organizations across eighteen countries by Development Dimensions International revealed that the conversational skill that has the highest impact on overall performance was empathy. Empathy however is in decline according to Richard Wellins, one of the authors of DDI’s report. He pointed to a University of Michigan study of college students which showed a 34-48% decline in empathy over an eight year period.
One reason proposed for this decline is our mobile world. People are increasingly engaging with people in such brief moments of time that the empathic skill is seldom practiced. In her book, “Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World”, child psychologist, Michele Borba concurs. She suggests that as a result of technology, “Self-promotion, personal branding, and self-interest at the exclusion of others’ feelings, needs and concerns is permeating our culture and slowly eroding our children’s character.”
The DDI report also points out that managers spend more time managing than interacting thus limiting their ability to maintain and hone their empathic skills. According to their study, only 40% of frontline leaders tested either proficient or strong on empathy.
Why is empathy such a valued trait? For starters customers want to be heard and empathizing with your customers’ needs will help sellers determine what they want. Additionally empathy helps businesses understand cultural differences when operating in diverse global markets. In many companies collaboration is essential for success and empathy helps to not only foster relationships but also influences our power of persuasion.
The importance of empathy is further confirmed in a study out of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. A three year study of business leaders in the U.S. and other countries identified five attributes that executives must have to succeed in today’s global economy. Of the five, adaptability, cultural competence, 360-degree thinking, intellectual curiosity and empathy, empathy rated highest.
DDI’s study showed that in terms of relation to job performance, empathy had the greatest impact on engaging with employees, coaching them and their overall performance. Ray Krznaric, the author of Empathy: Why It Matters and How to Get It explains, “Empathy in the modern workplace is not just about being able to see things from another perspective. It’s the cornerstone of teamwork, good innovative design, and smart leadership. It’s about helping others feel heard and understood.”
So if you are reading this post right now on your phone and ignoring the person speaking with you, set it down, look into the eyes of your friend/colleague and show them they matter!
As the client relationship manager for a video interviewing provider, I have spoken with many candidates over the years prior to their interviews. Most candidates are un-fazed they have been asked by one of our customers to complete a video interview, however a few cannot hide their anxiety and some openly state how nervous they are. Candidates who are camera shy or technologically unsophisticated prefer phone screens or face-to-face interviews versus logging into a website or conducting an interview using a mobile app on their phone. Many, unfamiliar with video interviewing technology, question the point of it.
Quickly I will explain for job candidates reading this why video interviews have gained in popularity. Recruiters and HR personnel are pressed for time. Scheduling a phone screen takes much longer than inviting a candidate to complete a video interview. Conducting a phone screen obviously takes longer as well. If a recruiter has five phone screens scheduled in a day and commits twenty minutes of their time per screen, they have invested more than an hour and a half. This time is not consumed when candidates complete a virtual interview. At the completion of the phone screens the recruiter must adequately present to a hiring manager the notes taken during your phone screen and sufficiently compare them with the responses given by other candidates. This task is more easily accomplished with recorded video interviews. Overall, video interviewing saves a tremendous amount of time and effort but also provides you, the candidate, an opportunity to show off your personality and charisma.
Saving time for recruiters also means that they can screen more candidates. Your chances of being seen are higher if the recruiter is using video interviews to screen candidates.
Despite the benefits to you and employers, concerns still pop up here and there. Here are a few of the common fears.
Video interviewing is difficult: Those who would rather pick up a phone than turn on a computer may worry they are not tech savvy enough to even start the interview. Not to worry. Most providers have a simple process in place that will test your camera and microphone to ensure they are working backed up by technical support teams that can walk you through it if you get stuck. Beyond the setup process, your video interview is simple. Your questions will appear on the screen, you will read them and then provide your responses into the camera. Upon completion the recruiter or hiring manager will be notified. Also, you can complete the interview day or night at a time convenient to you.
Your interview will be shared on social networks: Most providers store your interview on a secure server. Downloads to a local machine by the hiring company are not permitted. Therefore your interview will not appear on YouTube.
Your phone or tablet is a poor device to use: Many candidates who own perfectly good smart devices are hesitant to use them for a video interview. Truth be told, candidates who use the mobile app often run into less technical problems with their cameras and microphones than those using a pc or laptop. Additionally, the camera built into a phone or tablet provides greater quality than a webcam and the touch screen interface with the app is often easier to navigate for less savvy users.
You worry you look terrible: If you have been invited to take a video interview, you have time to prepare yourself and your background. You are conducting this interview on your turf in your comfort zone. Take advantage of that! Relax, smile and provide the interviewer with the enthusiasm you can’t show over the phone.
Remember, video interviews are not trying to take anything from you, they are trying to give something to you; time, convenience and an opportunity to put your best foot forward.
Each year as many as 360,000 military men and women join the civilian workforce. Programs such as the Veteran Jobs Mission and the White House Joining Forces have helped reduce high unemployment numbers for veterans in recent years, however former military personnel still face several challenges when trying to find civilian work.
A stigma of mental illness surrounds many veterans today with the public grossly overestimating the number of those affected by issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, employers struggle with how to incorporate military skills into civilian jobs. Lastly, the military environment is culturally different than the civilian environment. Job candidates are encouraged on their resumes and in interviews to focus on individual achievements, however the military mentality focuses on teamwork and group achievements. Veterans, according to Melissa Stirling, director of military, campus and youth programs at Hilton Worldwide, are very humble and “not good at singing their own praises.”
Veterans offer numerous benefits! Below are but a few:
· They have many of the necessary skills required to fill talent shortages.
· They possess a strong work ethic.
· They have problem solving skills.
· They are disciplined.
· They are safety conscious.
· They are detail oriented.
· They are team players.
The U.S. Department of Labor provides a veterans hiring tool kit with tips on how to hire and retain veterans.
· Create a veterans hiring program and clearly outline your strategy and goals.
· Create a workplace accommodating to veterans by better understanding their culture and experience.
· Actively reach out to veterans and military spouses.
· Partner with groups that can help you locate capable veterans.
· Understand what you are permitted and not permitted to ask during an interview.
· Develop a mentorship program with a veteran as the mentor.
· Show appreciation for veterans’ service on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
· Explain their training and the organizational chart.
According to a survey by Futurestep, eighty percent of organizations lack veterans recruiting programs despite the overall success in employing them. Organizations complaining that college graduates aren’t taught the necessary skills to compete in the workforce are neglecting a gold mine filled with candidates possessing ample and applicable skills. Following the tips above will help better acquaint employers with the challenges a very skilled segment of the workforce face, but also how to incorporate them into their organizations and take advantage of their skills.
A Startling Statistic About the Health of Unemployed Youth in the U.S.“Thriving” well-being is defined by Gallup and Healthways as possessing consistently good health and enough energy to get things done during the day. According to the Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index, unemployed youth aged 15 to 29 enjoy slightly greater physical well-being compared with employed adults aged 50 and older. In 47 high income countries, young and older adults were basically tied in terms of increased well-being, but with the unemployed youth slightly edging out their older, employed counterparts, twenty-six (26%) to twenty-four percent (24%).
That young adults have more energy than older adults is not too surprising, however, unemployed youth in the U.S. have worse physical well-being than older employed workers. Only 23% of youth were thriving compared to 31% of older workers. In summary, those without jobs in the U.S. between the ages of 15-29 are in poorer health than those who are 50 + and have jobs and this stands in contrast to the rest of the world. Even more surprising is that only 14% of unemployed youth with college educations have thriving well-being while those with just a secondary education or primary education have double that at 27% and 28% respectively. Why is the U.S. an anomaly? Why is America’s unemployed youth less healthy than the rest of the world?
One suggestion for why unemployment affects Americans more is the stigma of being unemployed and this stigma could be more profound the higher the education levels attained. Spain, for example, has an unemployment rate among its youth near 40% while in the U.S. in July, the rate was only eleven percent. One might deduce that a higher unemployment rate would contribute to poorer health but the physical well-being of Spanish youth is higher than that of youth in the States. The hypothesis is that because so many Spanish youth are unemployed at the same time, they feel less stigmatized. They are able to share the burden of unemployment together.
A second theory is a lack of family support. A far greater number of unemployed youth living in lower and middle income economies worldwide, live with others, especially family, compared with many American youths who live alone. Physical well-being is often tied to emotional well-being and so an absence or the minimal provision of emotional support often provided by family, could adversely affect the health of American youth.
These statistics highlight a troublesome trend among America’s unemployed youth which should be monitored to ensure troublesome healthcare issues don’t arise especially among those with advanced education.
Beyond monitoring these healthcare issues we need to take a closer look at the source of the problem. Do Americans place a greater burden to succeed on themselves as compared with inhabitants of other nations? Those with higher educations, for example, have greater expectations placed on them to accomplish their goals and when they fall short, they appear to fall harder than most. What, if anything, can be done to provide greater support and well-being for those in their early stages of life so that they don’t end up on mom and dad’s couch?
Millennials, those born between 1980 and 1996, make up a majority of the workforce and by 2020 will comprise nearly half of all workers. Millennials, as with previous generations before them, have been labeled as job hoppers. Perhaps job hopping is a symptom of youth or perhaps millennials truly are different from previous generations. Either way, understanding the job issues millennials must contend with and their motivations will help you better retain them as employees.
According to Gallup, these are the five most important issues millennials consider when applying for a new job:
· Opportunities to learn and grow
· Quality of manager
· Quality of management
· Interest in type of work
· Opportunities for advancement
Below are a few statistics that paint a better picture of the millennial workforce climate.
· Sixty-three percent of millennials have a bachelors degree.
· Forty-eight percent of them work in jobs that don’t require a four year degree.
· 6 in 10 millennials are open to different job opportunities.
· 21% of millennials have switched jobs in the last year – 3x higher than non-millennials
· Non-engaged millennials are 26% more likely than engaged millennials to take a different job for a raise of 20% or less.
· Of the millennials that changed roles last year, 93% did so by changing companies.
· 59% of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job.
· 48% say that overall compensation is extremely important to them when seeking new opportunities.
· In their current jobs, 87% rate professional or career growth as important to them.
· Less than 50% of millennials strongly agree that they’ve had opportunities to learn and grow in the last year.
· 77% of millennials say that flexible work hours are essential to boosting their generation’s productivity.
· Fifty percent do not believe Social Security will be available when they reach retirement.
· Fifty-six percent would not work at a company that banned social media access.
· Sixty-nine percent believe office attendance is not necessary on a regular basis.
· 89% of smart phone owning millennials regularly check email outside of 9-5.
We now have a better view of the picture plaguing employers. Millennials want more growth opportunities. Millennials are working in jobs that don’t require a degree. Millennials desire more work/life balance. Millennials value social media and half feel they need to earn money now because no social security will be waiting for them when they retire.
Employers must do a better job of retaining their millennial workers by offering growth opportunities and benefits such as flexible hours that are more in tune with millennial desires. They must also continue using social media and technologies such as video interviewing to reach younger workers routinely accessing the web and their social media presences over their phones.
As mentioned, 46% of the workforce will be made up of millennials in four years and if 60% of them are open to new opportunities, you have a significant chunk of the U.S. workers who could be jumping ship. This benefits nobody in the long run. So if you are looking for a New Year’s resolution it should be to retain, retain, retain.
What, if anything, could a hiring manager say negatively about a job candidate that was exceptionally achieving? How about a candidate exhibiting high levels of conscientiousness or sociability? Surely no objections could be made about a cooperative or accommodating candidate!
In their quest to find culturally fitting job candidates, recruiters and hiring managers often yield to the results of behavioral assessments which paint either a positive or negative picture about the candidates’ potentials. Of course specific traits are more favorable for certain roles than others. For example, a quiet, unsociable candidate may not be suited for a sales or customer service role but may be perfectly suited for a role such a programming. Some traits, however, are considered so universally positive that hiring managers may ignore the negative aspects of such traits that could manifest in their candidates after they are hired.
Achieving, for example, is a personality trait that suggests few drawbacks. High achievers are often sought after for being dedicated, ambitious, and dynamic. Yet, have you considered that an exceptionally achieving worker may also be unscrupulous, self-seeking and ruthless in their pursuit of their personal goals? A candidate who already likes to bend the rules and also exhibits the dark aspects of achieving could potentially be an organizational problem.
Candidates who are sociable/outgoing with warm, friendly demeanors may not often be turned away in favor of quiet, less sociable candidates, but every trait has a dark side. These candidates may be excessively talkative, boisterous, or even uninhibited to the point that they are disruptive and tactless.
Here are a few more outwardly positive personality characteristics and their dark alter egos.
· Confident – Arrogant, smug, patronizing
· Bold – Reckless, unprepared, brash
· Assertive – Overbearing, blunt, dominating, forceful. Combine this with confidence and boldness and you are liable to hire a Wolf of Wall Street type.
· Accommodating – Submissive, passive, pushover
· Tenacious – Obstinate, inflexible,
· Disciplined – Fussy, obsessive, dictatorial
· Decisive – Opinionated, impetuous, trigger happy
As shown above with assertive, many of these negative characteristics, when coupled with corresponding traits, may be amplified. A person with a high level of confidence and moderate levels of assertiveness and or boldness may not be an issue, however high levels of each may produce a toxic performer. My earlier post on this subject showed that parting ways with toxic employees, even if ranked in the top 1% for productivity, saved a company more in expense than what the company earned from the superstar’s production.
So, when you are looking to hire your next Jedi, be careful whether you are hiring an individual who wants to destroy the Death Star or who wants to build a Death Star. You may end up with a bold, confident Vader over a bold, confident Luke!
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 time 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.
In my colleague’s March blog post, “Productivity is on life support: Blame the Millennials and the Baby Boomers,” he pointed out that the annual growth rate of productivity from year to year between 2007 and 2015 was 60% lower than the year to year growth rate between 1947 and 1973. He contended that both the older, less productive baby boomers and the easily distracted millennials were to blame for the decrease in growth rate. Indeed many articles have been written about the Millennial “Me, Me, Me” generation.
Recently the Texas department of labor established an overtime rule that allows overtime pay for more salaried workers. The biggest complaint from business leaders on this ruling is that younger employees, millennials, don’t deserve to be paid overtime for the work they should have accomplished during their regular hours. As one complainant to the department of labor suggested, “The younger workers are often off task, engaged on social media, on the internet, texting on phones and other unproductive activities.”
Here we have further suggestions that Millennials are basically…well…. lazy. Below is an alleged quote from a prominent intellectual on the state of our youth which many would agree succinctly describes today’s young workers.
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table….and tyrannize their teachers.”
Sounds exactly like today’s youth but the quote above is allegedly from a disgruntled Socrates sometime prior to his death in 399 B.C nearly 2,500 years ago. I’m not convinced Socrates did indeed say this but regardless, the quote is old and suggests that Millennials aren’t the first generation to patent laziness and disrespect.
Bruce Pfau, the head of human resources for KPMG, spent years studying the differences between the wants and needs at work of Millennials and employees in other generations. He concluded that Millennials weren’t necessarily lazy or narcissistic but rather those are traits exhibited by young people which are corrected as the individual grows older.
Going back through history we see clearly that Millennials aren’t the first generation to be criticized by the media for their self-absorbed attitude. A 1907 article in the Atlantic Monthly on why marriages are failing declared that the “…cult of individualism…” was to blame. In the 70s, acclaimed author Tom Wolf wrote an article for New York magazine called, “The ME Decade. Reports on America’s New Great Awakening.” In it he said, “…The new alchemical dream is: changing one’s personality-remaking, remodeling, elevating and polishing one’s very self…and observing, studying and doting on it. (Me!)…” The Gen-Xers took a hit from Time magazine in 1990 when they dedicated their cover story to the generation who has “trouble making decisions” and whose attention span is as short as “one zap of a TV dial.”
Truly, younger people on average are more narcissistic, however the younger workers of the ‘oos aren’t necessarily more selfish than were 90s workers, and 90’s workers aren’t more self-absorbed than those in the 70’s and 80s. Sure, the distractions from decade to decade may be different. The generation once entranced by MTV now may look down its nose at the Facebook generation and in ten years the Facebook generation may haughtily judge generation Z for its addiction to virtual reality. Regardless however of what actually distracts them, the young people of every generation had a distraction over which the upper generations judged them for being lazy and self-absorbed.
So relax America. Our Millennials will grow out of it. In fact one day they will be writing articles about how bratty and entitled the young workers at their companies are behaving.
Internapalooza, an event I had not heard of until recently, is as its name suggests, a gathering of interns. More specifically the event hosts interns interested in working for Silicon Valley companies and from what I can tell, this July 11th, Internapalooza’s fifth annual event will take over AT&T Park in San Francisco with over 8,000 interns registered to attend. The event offers interns the chance to mingle with their peers, speak with executives from dozens of top tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Paypal, Dropbox, and Microsoft and even play games. According to the schedule the free event begins at 6:00 and ends at 10:00 but that is when the Intern After Party begins and continues until 1:00 am.
A viral story about the After Party is how I first heard of Internapalooza. (I’m a forty-something who lives on the East Coast so cut me some slack.) A Microsoft recruiter sent the following email to an intern which the intern’s roommate posted online.
“HEY BAE INTERN! <3
Hi! I am Kim, a Microsoft University Recruiter. My crew is coming down from our HQ in Seattle to hang with you and the crowd of the bay area interns at Internapalooza on 7/11.
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, we’re throwing an exclusive after party the night of the event at our San Francisco office and you’re invited! There will be hella noms, lots of dranks, the best beats and just like last year, we’re breaking out the Yammer beer pong tables!
HELL YES TO GETTING LIT ON A MONDAY NIGHT.”
Okay so several things are wrong with this letter that Microsoft confirmed originated from them. One is the cringe worthy use of slang in an attempt to sound hip! “Hey Bae”? “Hella noms”? “Lots of dranks”? Not only is the jargon embarrassing but evidently it is also misused. “Dranks” which I’m assuming is meant to refer to drinks, is actually slang for codeine cough syrup that some young people ingest to get buzzed. I’m pretty sure Microsoft won’t be passing around Robitussin at their party. Perhaps the worst thing about this letter is the ending reference to getting “Lit” on a Monday night. While looking cool may enable Microsoft to appear more attractive to millennials or the upcoming Generation Z, getting drunk is hardly the vibe they should be promoting. The letter is embarrassingly funny but not catastrophic to Microsoft’s image.
Actually the email does not stray far from the laid back vibe presented for the whole event. Following is some verbiage from Internapalooza’s website, “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status-quo.” As I reflect on Microsoft’s email and the statement on Internapalooza’s website, I wonder if the wrong message is being sent to millennials in an attempt to recruit them?
For years news articles and blogs have been written about how to manage (deal with) Millennials in the work place. Millennials have been stereotyped as “entitled, lazy, narcissistic and addicted to social media.” And yet events such as Internapalooza supposedly aren’t looking for the conformist millennial but rather the “crazy misfit” who breaks the rules. Do we want millennials who will show up for work on time, focused and ready to do their jobs, or do we want to stay up late downing brews with them on a Monday night?
Do you think a responsible manager will ever exclaim over a raucous game of late night beer pong with his subordinates, “HELL YES TO SHOWING UP LATE FOR WORK ON A TUESDAY MORNING!”? The answer is “no” and that’s your answer to the type of Millennial we really want.