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.
Job seekers will get rejected for many things. Their lack of skills, their lack of experience, their height, weight, gender, race and so on. I have blogged on these items extensively but here are a few items not often considered that affect a job candidate’s chances. Some are within their control while others are not.
The time of your interview – When scheduling an interview avoid the lunch hour. A pre-lunch interview could be cut short while a post lunch interview could delay you as you wait for your interviewer to return. Also the last interview of the day is not a prime choice as your interviewer may be distracted by their evening plans.
Rainy days – If you can change the weather patterns try interviewing on a sunny day. You may be rated more favorably.
Early, on time or late – Showing up late for an interviewer is obviously a negative and you can never go wrong with being on time but showing up early isn’t necessarily a plus. Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert says that arriving too early can make you appear too anxious and put pressure on the interviewer.
How you treat staff – Be good to those around you! The CEO of Panera bread once rejected a candidate because they were rude to a worker cleaning nearby tables. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, will ask the airport shuttle driver if his job candidates were rude or impolite. “If our shuttle driver wasn’t treated well, then we won’t hire that person,” Hsieh remarked.
Sitting too early – Stand until your interviewer sits or offers you a seat!
Looking at your cell phone or watch – The hiring manager deserves your attention! Don’t be rude!
Where you grew up – Interviewers are often sub-consciously biased but sometimes in a positive way. If the job seeker shares similarities with the interviewer such as in where they both grew up, this may benefit the candidate. The similarity attraction hypothesis suggests that people are drawn to those who are similar to them in some aspect.
Smiling – Smiling people are more engaging and approachable but according to one study, excessive smiling does not benefit all professions. Most notably manager candidates were less likely to get the job.
A foreign accent – Another item about which candidates have no control is a foreign accent and for executive positions employers are seemingly biased against it. According to research, employers believe foreign speaking candidates have less political skill.
Obesity – A study found that candidates were rated as less competent when photos of their non-obese bodies were compared with digitally altered photos that made them look obese. Is this discrimination? Of course it is and unless you live in Michigan, there is no law to protect you.
Your handshake – This one is perhaps more spoken of than the others but an issue people may commonly neglect. Strong handshakes usually indicate confidence while weak handshakes, according to one study, indicate shyness and neuroticism.
As a job seeker, if you can eliminate all the potential resume pitfalls, and get past the computer gatekeeper, your chances will improve drastically if you heed the data above.
The advantage of the exit interview for departing employees is that you can learn so much more about the current state of morale at your company than from present employees who are too fearful to vocalize their criticisms. True, ex-employees who are disgruntled may be overzealous with negative feedback, but overall exit interviews can provide valuable input. Read more
“How many square feet of pizza are eaten in the U.S. each year?”
“Who would win in a fight between Spiderman and Batman?”
“How much would you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?”
“If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?”
“A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?” (Huh?)
These questions are not asked by mom and pops organizations but by major hedge funds, retailers and internet giants. A couple of the questions above have since been banned by the company that asked them as they were deemed ridiculous and useless. Read more
Two years ago, Flight Centre, an Australian airfare company, began to allow their recruiters rather than their hiring managers, hire the job applicants. Instead of presenting a small pool of qualified candidates to the hiring manager the recruiter instead gives them an employee.
As someone with recruiting experience, here are a few reasons why such a simple move is so brilliant. Read more
You have heard me go on and on about Video Interviewing so maybe for a change you’d like to hear from some of your peers not trying to sell you anything. The following candid quotes were provided by recruiters, search consultants and HR professionals who participated in our 2012 survey on video interviewing. So as the saying goes, don’t take my word for it.
“I personally find it to be a great method to save time and money on travel expenses when conducting interviews. However, for some reason, our HR management refuse to use it.” – HR Professional
“Video interviewing saves time, cost when you are abroad or not in local area. It’s better than telephonic interview because you can see expressions of the candidate. As actions speak louder than words, video interviewing helps alot in this.” – HR Professional
“Video Interviewing is a great help in every organization wherein you can reduce cost, manage your time, scheduling hassles as well as you have enough time to choose a right candidate for the job.” – Executive Search Consultant
“I think it would be a good resource but I do not think my organization is ready for it yet.” – Executive Search Consultant
“I think this is the wave of the future, especially to help narrow down the candidate pool before bringing the finalists on-site.” – HR Professional
“Nothing can ever replace the face to face meeting in my opinion, though I do think there is a time and a place that this could be used and of value. I have just never done it before.” – Corporate Hiring manager
“Could be useful for initial interviews of candidates who are not local.” – HR Professional
“This has been extremely helpful as a cost savings measure when interviewing candidates that were not within commuting distance. I can see this as helpful as a tool in the initial selection process, but feel it is very important to meet the final candidate in person–both for the candidate and the hiring company.” – Corporate Hiring Manager
“Video conferencing may be an option if a low-cost, easily implemented, good quality solution were available.” – HR Professional
“As technologies continue to simplify, more video interviewing will be done thru laptop computers and items like smart phones or iPads with Skype or other inexpensive software. It is a plus for companies to see a person visually before flying them to a corporate or other location, especially where presentation is important, such as sales roles.” – Executive Search Consultant
“I see a value and a future in Video interviewing particularly on higher level positions where relocation is likely required.” – Executive Search Consultant
“Video interviewing will become more prevalent in the next few years.” – Corporate Recruiter
“Video interviewing is awesome and anyone who uses it will gain the respect and admiration of millions.” – Ryder Cullison, (Video Interviewing proponent and the guy who wrote this blog post.)