Video Interviewing On Track for Broad Adoption

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Hire-Intelligence recently completed a survey of human resources industry professionals on the topic of video interviewing.  As the creator and provider of Interview4 video interviewing software, we were interested in gauging the current state of usage and adoption, as well as attitudes towards this new tool.  I’m pleased to tell you that Hire-Intelligence, along with the other providers of video interviewing solutions, appear to be on track to building a successful product category.

I have a lot of experience developing and launching new products starting with the launch of People magazine in 1974.  My experience went on to include consumer packaged goods, ATM networks, sporting goods, over-the-counter medications, sporting events, real estate developments, industrial measurement instruments, and technology hardware and software.  Based on this experience, I tend to analyze the launch of video interviewing in the context of “diffusion of technology” models.

Diffusion of technology theory has been around longer than even People Magazine.  The definition of diffusion of technology, per Wikipedia, is “the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.”  More simply put the theory attempts to explain how fast a new product  spreads through our society.

Lots of academic studies have resulted in a diffusion of new technology model summed up by this chart:

The horizontal axis shows time, starting with the launch of the new technology at the left.  The vertical axis shows the percent of the relevant target market using (“adopting”) the new technology.  The blue curve shows percent of new users coming into the market at any point in time, while the gold curve (Go Bears!) shows the cumulative share of users over time.

Five categories of adopters have been identified, and are shown on the chart above.  Innovators, just 2.5% of the potential market on average, are the first buyers and users.  They are followed, in order over time, by Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and finally the Laggards.  If you’re developing and launching new products you’ll probably find this a useful concept, helpful in gauging the success (or lack thereof) of your latest effort.

One very important variable we haven’t discussed is how much time does it take to get from zero users to 100% penetration of the potential market?  Without getting any more academic, suffice it to say this number varies quite a bit, but on average it takes about 4 years to get to 20% penetration.  Another way to put it is that the Early Adopter phase takes about 4 years, give or take.

So where are we with video interviewing after maybe 5 years?  Our recently completed survey revealed that 21% of respondents had used video interviewing in the past year and another 25% are contemplating using it in the next 12 months.  This indicates we’re moving through the early adopter phase and ready to see broader acceptance.  This conclusion is supported by the fact that 19% of the respondents told us that they believe video interviewing will become the “industry standard”.

This last data point is particularly interesting given that the most-oft mentioned reason for not using video interviewing (or not using it more frequently) is a reluctance to change current hiring processes.  Sounds like a laggard point of view to me.

In conclusion, let me share a diffusion of technology anecdote.  I was on the streets of Hong Kong in the 90’s with a colleague who commented upon seeing the hoards of Chinese walking and talking on their cell phones, “we’ll never do that in theU.S.”   I just thought to myself, “are you crazy, of course we will.”

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