Posted by Jonathan Crossfield on 29 November 2013
In 1960, John F. Kennedy demonstrated the power of video in candidate selection. The presidential debate against Richard Nixon was simulcast on both radio and television — with startlingly different results.
The radio audience was convinced Nixon had won the debate. His answers sounded convincing. His voice was firm and confident. Surely he was the clear winner. But the television audience saw a very different debate. On TV, Nixon was sweating and pale. His body language was nervous, unsure. Kennedy, on the other hand, was smart, charismatic and smiling as he answered. Kennedy won over the larger TV audience and went on to win the election.
Think how often we form a picture of a person in our minds while talking over the phone, only to be completely surprised by a very different person upon meeting them.
Better for the recruiters
Different recruiters may use video in different ways. There can be a big difference between conducting a traditional interview over Skype and using a dedicated video interviewing platform for ‘asynchronous’ or prerecorded interviews where the job seeker answers supplied questions.
Whatever video interviewing means to you, it offers distinct advantages over the old world of telephone screening or first-round interviews. Video interviewing naturally makes it a lot easier for recruiters to review candidates again and again, sharing internally without losing any of the nuances of the jobseeker’s performance in the retelling.
Better for the job seekers
It’s easy to see why many job seekers benefit from video interviewing. It makes it far easier to ‘attend’ an interview in the first place. No sneaking out of the office, no transport expenses and the interview can be prerecorded in advance at a convenient time of the jobseeker’s choosing. It can be extremely frustrating to take an afternoon off every time you need to attend a different recruiter for a first-round interview.
Job seekers should still treat a video interview with the same professionalism as any other recruiter meeting. And that means putting on the pants with the rest of the suit, even if the camera won’t see your track pants. It’s hard to convey a professional mindset when you’re mentally still in your slippers. Preparation, practice and presentation still matter.
Better for employers
When the recruiter sends through a shortlist of candidates to the employer for possible face-to-face interviews, they can also review the videos. The employer gets to see exactly what impressed the recruiter, looking beyond the paperwork and second-hand notes to the body language, personality and professional appearance of the candidates. Employers can feel more confident about what to expect when candidates come through the door into the interview room.
Lights, camera, action
Some companies have adopted online video platforms such as CVIVE and Sonru to create company branded and feature-rich video recruitment environments. Others may prefer to experiment a little longer before deciding how best to invest and integrate video into their recruitment processes.
Video interviews will never replace face-to-face meetings. But whatever the approach, just as the 1960 televised presidential debate changed American politics forever, video interviewing is destined to transform recruitment.