Ubiquitous consumer technology is slowly invading the corporate enterprise. Nowhere is this more prevalent than the rise of video interviewing, where employers and recruiters interview job candidates using dedicated technology.
Video interviewing, of course, has been around for years. Today, however, video interviewing for job recruiting, both live and recorded, has moved "from the margins to the mainstream," according to Greg Rokos, president, GreenJobInterviews. Last July his firm surveyed employers and found 47 percent of the respondents had already conducted a virtual interview of some kind.
The numbers are even higher in a fall 2012 survey from staffing firm OfficeTeam. Robert Hosking, executive director, said 63 percent of HR managers surveyed told Office Team their companies conduct video job interviews. "This is up from just 14 percent a year earlier," he says.
Research firm Sarah White & Associates titled its Spring 2013 market report "Video Interviewing: No Longer for Early Adopters." The report found adoption of the practice jumped geometrically since January 2012 and predicted video interviewing would be standard operating procedure by early next year.
"The concept has taken off," reports Josh Tolan, CEO of Spark Hire Inc. Spark Hire launched its video interviewing offering in February 2012 and today has over 1,300 customers in more than 40 countries. These companies range from small start-ups to Fortune 500 giants across many industries.
A confluence of technology trends and the changing workforce marketplace has created a perfect storm for video interviewing. Here's how the two collide:
- Cloud computing and SaaS. Enterprises today are comfortable with cloud computing and software-as-a-service has become the norm. The video solutions in the marketplace utilize these two to provide cost-effective solutions. For example, "Montage clients don't have to install anything on the premises because everything is in the cloud," explains Kurt Heikkinen, Montage CEO and president.
- Consumer comfort with video. Today, the rapid growth in online consumer video viewing and sharing, thanks to sites like YouTube, Facebook, hulu and NetFlix have made potential employees comfortable with the video process, according to the Sarah White report.
- Easy, affordable, ubiquitous access. Remember when video cameras were expensive and then the drivers didn't work? No more.
Here's where cloud and mobile come into play. All candidates need is an Internet connection and a webcam to complete a video interview. They can do the video interview from any Web-enabled device including desktops, laptops, smart phones and tablets. PC World estimates 79 percent of all laptops today have webcams built in and all smart phones have them, "making video accessible anywhere with wifi access," notes the Sarah White report. "Candidates can complete the interview with a device they carry everywhere," says Heikkinen.
- Skilled labor shortage. "Even though there is widespread unemployment, there still is a skilled labor shortage," points out Montage's Heikkinen. "Engineers, software developers, doctors and nurses are particularly hard to find, so employers have to think creatively," he reports.
- Globalization and virtualization. Today it doesn't matter where you live since many workers work remotely, so employers want to reach a wider audience.
- Millennial expectations. New university graduates expect a high-tech hiring experience, notes Heikkinen. "Many of them won't tolerate talking to a recruiter on the phone or mailing in a resume," he says. (Millenials are a group of more than 80 million young adults born between 1980 and 1996.)
What exactly is video interviewing?
It's not a video chat tool, explains Heikkinen of Montage. Solutions are secure, configurable and purpose-built for hiring.
Video interviews are either on-demand (asynchronous) or live (synchronous). Employers create interview questions and send invitations to their candidates via email or a custom-link for the on-demand or one-way interview. Alison Pruett, marketing manager of InterviewStream, says its clients can record their own questions or select from its database of 6,000 questions recorded by a professional actor.
Candidates record short video answers using their webcam or a mobile app on their own time.
In a live interview a company representative and the candidate connect in a real-time, face-to-face interview.
All of these solutions allow the recruiters and hiring managers to share the videos, comment on them and view them repeatedly. The videos may be password-protected, so only approved parties can see them.
Of course, not everyone on the planet is tech savvy. Chip Luman, COO of HireVue, says his company offers 24/7 support "to help candidates become comfortable with the technology. We want to take the technology out of the equation for them," he explains.
Video interviewing is changing the way employers hire workers, creating a seismic shift in traditional hiring practices. And outsourcing service providers are helping enterprises enter this brave, new world.
Part 2: The advantages of video interviewing. There are nine ways the new practice is improving the profitability of its users. Stay tuned.