Why should candidates video interview themselves? I’ll tell you why.

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As a recruiter based in VA, I have received a few calls from people who have taken time out of their day to tell me they don’t understand the value of having a job candidate interview themselves. I’ll give you a good example of why I have used and continue to use tools that allow job candidates to interview themselves online. Each of these scenarios has occurred.

Scenario A: Face-to-face interviewing
I look at 50 resumes, narrow it down to five based on qualifications and set aside my whole day to interview these five candidates. Two of the five I know within the first five minutes aren’t a good fit for the job but I had still scheduled an extra 30 minutes of my day to interviewing them. What a waste of time! The other three candidates were good but the next day I couldn’t remember a lot of what they said. Furthermore I now have to bring them back in so they can meet with my colleague who could not arrange his schedule to meet with them. This will take even more time away from business. Verdict: At least two hours wasted interviewing bad candidates and I can’t remember everything they said.

Scenario B: Using a two-way video conferencing tool like Skype, AIM, MS Messenger.
My client asked me to find sales people specializing in Ecommerce in California. I find five good candidates which we will interview on behalf of our client. We will report our findings back to the client. Problem is none of the candidates, all of whom have jobs, can interview during the day which means I need to interview them after hours. With the time change that means I can’t interview the first one until at least 8:30 p.m. That’s a drag but what can you do? Oh yeah, use a self-interviewing tool but more on that later.

Candidate 1: Not very good but have to interview them anyway
Candidate 2: Good answers! I hope I remember them.
Candidate 3: Shows up late to conference and my internet connection drops twice. Aaarggh!
Candidate 4: Again not very good but I still hang around for my 5th interview. Tick, tick, tick.
Candidate 5: Good, but I’m distracted by the late hour and what my wife is going to say to me.
Note: Most conferencing programs don’t have recording capability so I have to point a videocamera at the screen. Verdict: A scheduling nightmare for everyone and no easy way to share the recorded clips with my client.

Scenario C: The candidate interviews themselves:
I uploaded questions into our portal that the client wanted the candidates to answer. I sent the candidates login instructions then went home to my wife and family. The next morning I logged into my portal and forwarded links to each candidates’ completed and recorded video to my client. Done! Verdict: Easy to schedule and easy to review. Saved everyone time.

How could I do this? Because the candidates interviewed themselves afterhours when it was convenient for them. No scheduling hassles. No inconvenient times of day. All the candidates answered the same questions and better yet, their interviews were recorded by their webcams on the fly and indexed by question.

I don’t suggest this tool should take the place of a face-to-face interview. I use it to screen out candidates who aren’t a good fit for my clients. Hiring managers can quickly screen through six candidates in the time it takes them to interview one bad candidate face-to-face. Plus they can review more than once and share it with colleagues.

Any questions?

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