Video Screening as Part of Recruiting

By Sean Gordon

Job searching and recruiting have become a big part of the culture of North America. Although it is a very important business matter, many folk rituals have grown up about the process. So many people hang so much of their personal self-worth on finding the best job and the recruiters look, in many cases, not for the best person to fill a particular set of duties, but the best person–a kind of idealized super hero.

The processes most employers use to find and select the best talent for an open position include:

  • Posting open positions on career websites to solicit a maximum number of resumes.
  • Pre-screening to eliminate applicants who don’t meet the basic technical requirements of the job.
  • A preliminary assessment to narrow down the field to a short list based on skills and competencies.
  • In-depth interviews of short-listed candidates with job simulations and other assessment tools (often requiring travel, sometimes lengthy “training” and first hand observation).
  • A career profile check, reference check, career verification, and security screening.

Many companies are using video interviews to save the costs and inconvenience of personal interviews in the screening process. For senior positions where the recruiting process can get extensive, travel costs for face-to-face interviews can add up. Internet-based interviewing provides needed face-to-face contact between interviewer and applicant without the expense and personal inconvenience to the candidate.

The video interview is a good test of the applicants’ personal presentation skills, for those positions where such presentation skills are important. Applicants who are camera-shy or can’t get easy access to the media for participation in video interviews will be at a major disadvantage of course.

The recruiting consulting industry is replete with advice about preparation for video interviews. Much of the interview training content has to do with the way applicants can present themselves to meet an ideal of interpersonal conduct, even going so far as to provide the answers to standard interview questions. The interview often becomes a contest of preparation levels and second-guessing.

At best the video can give an employer a view of the applicants ability to plan, to dress, to make an impression, or any tendency to make major errors (one candidate appeared for the interview in the office of his current employer).

A lot of recruiting hangs on the behavioral style of the applicant. The recruiter has to choose between candidates with comparable credentials using best-behavior cues and statements of value, knowing the right answers, and personal attractiveness. The interview is the medium that supplies the impressions and provides an illusory sense of personal contact that forms much of the basis for making hiring decisions.

Hiring is always about making predictions of success. If we hire person A over person B, will we get a better outcome? Will our business work better? Would it have been better to select person B? Sometimes what can be gleaned from our very primitive instruments of the differences between candidates are so small that the decision will probably depend on some irrelevant and un-predictive minor difference. In the balance lays some expensive and dangerous risks. Hiring the wrong person can lead to major business losses.

A study of hiring that tracked 20,000 new hires found that 46 percent of newly hired employees fail within the first 18 months of employment. The study lists “poor interpersonal skills” as the main reason for failure. Inability to accept feedback accounts for 26 percent of the failure. Inability to manage emotions accounts for 23 percent. Poor motivation “to excel” accounts for 17 percent. Wrong temperament account for 15 percent. Lack of technical skills accounts for only 11 percent.

Under the best ideal conditions, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence are often situation specific and the most difficult to assess in an interview. Technical skills are probably the most objective and easy-to-assess aspects of a candidate’s portfolio. Probably technical skills is less likely to be a reason for failure because the selection process does correctly pick the required level of technical skill and job-candidate matches are basically correct. The interpersonal skill criteria is just random in the population of successful candidates because there are no good selection techniques in that area.

vidREACH was founded to solve the hiring challenge of how to quickly recruit and screen the endless sea of job applicants to find the right new hires, fast. The company began as one leader’s quest to take hiring from painful, inefficient, and time-consuming to quick and effective, for applicants and employers. Please contact us to learn more.

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