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.)
Bad hires cost your company a truck load of money! According to a recent Careerbuilder study, 41% of surveyed companies indicated that bad hires cost their organization more than $25K while an additional 24% claimed bad hires cost them more than $50K. This is a serious issue especially if you are the hiring manager responsible for these poor hiring decisions.
Now there are many reasons why bad hires occur. The hiring manager might have poor interviewing skills, the hiring decision might be rushed, background and reference checks could have been overlooked, or perhaps the hiring company just has a poor image and can’t source top talent as a result. For the purposes of this post I would like to focus on one of the main culprits of bad hires and that is poor interviewing skills.
Poor Interviewing Syndrome as I like to call it, or P.I.S. for short, afflicts thousands of U.S. hiring managers annually and costs organizations millions in organizational costs. Tony Hsieh, President of Zappos, believes that hiring mistakes have cost Zappos over $100 million since the company’s inception. Recognizing the symptoms of Poor Interviewing Syndrome can help you combat this affliction and get you back to better hiring.
Below are six symptoms of Poor Interviewing Syndrome:
Symptom #1 – Believing you are the Mike Wallace of candidate interviewing: Most all interviewers, even the ones who haphazardly wing the interview, feel they are great. Repeating in each interview, “What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?” doesn’t make you Morley Safer. If your employees are failing to adequately perform their duties or are not interacting well with others (the two most cited reasons for employee failure) you are failing as an interviewer. You must first acknowledge your condition before you can begin to treat its symptoms.
Symptom #2 – Deciding too quickly: Within five minutes of meeting a candidate, sufferers of P.I.S. often decide whether the candidate is a good fit for their organization. Too frequently this decision is based on the hiring manager’s subconscious or not so subconscious biases for or against the candidate. Researchers from HarvardBusinessSchool found that the greatest sufferers are those who allowed their insecurities or unconscious biases to propel the process, which can have a worse effect on hiring decisions than if a candidate were chosen randomly.
Additionally, hiring managers who make final decisions early in the interview are often disengaged or act bored for the remaining portion. This prevents them from gaining further valuable insight into the candidate’s true personality and reflects poorly on the company.
Symptom #3 – Inconsistency: “Winging” it as mentioned above often leads to inconsistent interviews. P.I.S. sufferers need a game plan of what they want to achieve in the interview and a list of questions that all candidates must answer. Structured interviews are cited as being an optimum method to reduce bias and discrimination in the interview process.
Symptom #4 – Not listening enough: According to Manny Avradmidis, Head of Global Human Resources at the American Management Association, the candidate should get 80% of the air time. Poor interviewers tend to speak more and listen less.
Symptom #5 – Asking silly questions: “Why are manhole covers round?” Have you ever heard of this question being asked? How about “how many golf balls can fit in a school bus?” Severe sufferers of Poor Interviewing Syndrome often feel clever by offering up ridiculous questions to job candidates. These questions are off putting to the talent they are trying to hire and have no significant bearing on the candidate’s ability to perform their duties. By the way, these questions were once asked by Microsoft and Google respectively. No one is safe from P.I.S. it would seem.
Symptom #6 – Not knowing the law: Similar to asking silly questions, P.I.S. sufferers also ask inappropriate questions that can expose the company to discrimination lawsuits. For instance asking a woman if she plans to have children in the immediate future could imply you might not want to employ a pregnant woman for fear she will take maternity leave. Though the question might seem more harmless than say asking what a candidate’s religious beliefs are, it is no less damaging. Non-sufferers are actively aware of what is and is not appropriate.
To prevent P.I.S. from spreading through your company all those involved in the hiring process must be diligent in not only recognizing the symptoms within themselves but also in those around them. Failure to do so could cost your organization thousands!
According to recent surveys by Manpower group nearly 49% of U.S. organizations are struggling to find employees for their mission critical positions even though the unemployment rate continues to hover near 8%. The three most cited reasons are lack of applicants, the applicants’ demand for more money than is being offered and the lack of experience among the available applicants.
As an individual with executive search experience who has faced the challenges of trying to place qualified applicants with “picky” employers, I take exception to these reasons. Let’s examine each one more closely.
55% say there is a lack of applicants: The hardest to fill jobs are skilled trades (plumbers, carpenters, etc.), engineers and sales people. Admittedly I have never recruited for a plumber or carpenter but have conducted numerous searches for sales people and engineers. Personally I have not found a lack of candidates for these positions. Throw up a job posting and you are sure to get a few dozen applicants within the first few days. However I have found that strict hiring requirements developed by the hiring manager as they look for their “silver bullet” candidate often make placing a candidate more difficult. Requiring the candidate to be of a certain age, have every last qualification, live within a commutable distance, deny relocation assistance and not offer a wage commensurate with the position, certainly thins the herd of applicants. This brings me to the second most often cited reason.
54% say the candidate is looking for more pay than is being offered: Through all the searches on which I’ve worked, rarely do I find a candidate meeting all the job requirements and experience who is also willing to work for the offered salary and more often than not that candidate is eliminated for some other criteria. Now of course many candidates think highly of themselves and believe their salaries should match their ego but I truly find that hiring managers want seasoned professionals at junior prices. Why would a candidate making “x” go to work for someone and make “x-y”? The position is open. It is waiting to be filled. Why not at least match the candidate’s current salary? I will tell you why in a second but first reason number three.
44% say the candidates are not experienced enough: Honestly this may be true. If you do use job postings, you will find that at least 50% of the applicants don’t have the necessary qualifications. Today a discrepancy also exists between the college education required to perform certain jobs and the education students are actually obtaining. For instance philosophy and political science degrees are seldom required for mechanical engineering and software sales. Training to overcome knowledge gaps is rarely provided to capable applicants. Only 28% of the 40,000 worldwide employers in a recent survey said they are willing to provide such training.
So if filling open positions is so critical why are employers unwilling to offer more training or more flexibility with their offered salary? The reason is somewhat startling. Manpower’s 2012 survey revealed that 56% of companies believe their unfilled positions have little impact on customers and investors. This is a 56% increase from a year before!
So the majority of companies don’t feel their open positions even affect their business. If this is true then what incentive do they have to hire anyone for their open positions? If they have no incentive to fill their open positions then how can most of them chime in on the lack of available talent for these positions? Are their opinions on talent shortage not skewed by their lack of need? After all, if you don’t really perceive a need for something or someone then you are in the position to be selectively choosy about your decision. As a hiring manger you won’t feel the pressure of time to fill. In other words you are less willing to settle and so if companies are waiting only for the Marissa Mayers, Kobe Bryants and Steven Speilbergs to cross their doorstep then yes, a talent shortage does exist.
This takes us back around to the assumption that the theory of a talent shortage is a bit overhyped and really, truly a lack of motivated employers is the culprit.
This chart, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is worth way more than a thousand words.
It hints at the real impact of 8 million jobs lost. It shows the human toll of the unfettered greed and avarice in our financial system and depicts in meaningful terms the challenge before us.
Take a close look. First, examine the “ordinary” recession that preceded the Great Recession.
If you were a job seeker in early 2001 things were pretty good. Numerically there was almost one job available in the United States for every person who was looking for a job. Sure, that doesn’t mean there was a one-to-one fit, but it does speak to your odds of finding a job if you were looking for one.
Then, starting in March of 2001, the U.S. economy entered a nine-month long recession. During that recession the number of job seekers for every job opening essentially doubled from 1.2 to 2.3. Ouch, that hurt. Even worse, after the recession ended the job market continued to deteriorate for job seekers, and by September of 2003 reached almost 3 job seekers per opening. How am I ever going to find a job?
Fortunately things finally turned around and the market improved steadily from September of 2003 until early in 2007 reaching 1.5 job seekers per opening. Then someone decided the real estate fueled boom was going bust. Welcome to the Great Recession, the worst downturn since the Great Depression!
What happened next is what we call a “hockey stick” effect for its similarity to the way the end of a hockey stick juts up from the handle. From the time the 19 month long Great Recession started in December of 2007, until its end in December of 2009, the number of job seekers per opening did something not seen in recorded history. It grew from 1.8 to 6.1 job seekers per opening! And, like the previous recession, after the Great Recession ended it kept growing to almost 7 job seekers per opening.
Can you imagine how that must of felt? During the Great Recession job openings fell (from 4.5 million to just over 2 million) while layoffs and discharges increased (from 2 million to a peak of 2.5 million). It was like the reverse of an old saying, the rats didn’t flee the sinking ship but rather kept getting on the hiring ship as it was going down.
Where are we now? In September of this year the number of job seekers per opening had declined to 4.2, still almost three times the ratio before the Great Recession.
This bulge of job seekers presents human resources professionals and hiring managers the challenge of identifying the most suitable candidates from among large numbers of applicants. We’re seeing success dealing with this issue though the use of video to screen and interview job candidates. The benefits of video screening improve both time-to-hire as well as quality of hire.